USA

Congressional intelligence committees, not a special commission, should handle the inquiry into the government's handling of pre-Sept. 11 warnings of potential terrorist attacks, President Bush said. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle (D) of South Dakota and other Demo-crats have proposed such a commission. Bush said Congress, where investigations already are under way, is the best place for them because it is used to handling sensitive information.

Former Ku Klux Klan member Bobby Frank Cherry was found guilty of murder by an Alabama jury and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for his role in one of the most notorious crimes of the civil rights era. Cherry is the third person to be convicted in the 1963 bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, which killed four black girls. A fourth suspect, who was never charged, died in 1994.

Remains and clothing found in a Washington park are those of Chandra Levy, police confirmed, ending a 13-month search for the Bureau of Prisons intern. US Rep. Gary Condit (D) of California, whose acknowledgment of an affair with Levy cost him reelection last fall, issued a statement of condolence to her family. While police have said Condit is not a suspect, Chief Charles Ramsey refused to rule out questioning him further in the investigation.

Factory orders for durable goods rose 1.1 percent in April, the Commerce Department reported, far outpacing analysts forecasts of an 0.1 percent increase. Demand for durables – expensive items intended to last three or more years – was especially strong for cars, communications equipment, and machinery.

A proposal to let the San Fernando Valley secede from Los Angeles will appear on the November ballot, after approval by the Local Agency Formation Commission, a regional board. The initiative to create what would be the nation's sixth-largest city – dropping Los Angeles to third behind New York and Chicago – must still win majority support from both Los Angeles and San Fernando residents. The breakaway is strongly opposed by Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn (D).

Some 200 farmers planned to block a bridge linking Texas and Mexico with trucks and tractors, to protest water flow on the Rio Grande River. They said their crops are dying because Mexico isn't releasing as much water from upriver dams as required under a 1944 treaty.

A home-schooler from Jenison, Mich. won this year's National Geography Bee, sponsored by the National Geographic Society in Washington. Below, Calvin McCarter, who at 10 was the youngest of the 2002 finalists, displays his award: a $25,000 college scholarship. Matthew Russell of Bradford, Pa., and Erik Miller of Kent, Wash., took second and third place, respectively.

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