USA

Wrapping up a week-long European trip, President Bush and 18 fellow NATO leaders signed a pact with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, establishing a cooperative council with the Western alliance's former adversary. "Two former foes are now joined as partners," said Bush, (above, with Secretary of State Powell in the background) during the summit in Rome. The president was returning to Washington overnight. (Story, page 2; Opinion, page 11.)

In earlier remarks, Bush condemned the latest suicide-bombing in Israel. All of those involved in the Middle East peace process "must do everything we can to stop terrorist action," the president said. His comments came as senior officials said the administration was considering a substantial shift in Middle East policy: Whether to propose detailed terms, and a timetable, for a settlement on such bitterly divisive issues as borders, the status of Jerusalem, and Palestinian refugees.

The derailment of a freight train loaded with hazardous materials prompted evacuation orders for the 2,200 residents of Potterville, Mich. Nine of 35 cars that jumped the tracks Monday near a mobile-home park were loaded with propane; two others held sulfuric acid. An environmental crew worked through the night to repair leaks in at least two of the cars so they could be moved. "If it went off, it would be like a bomb," Sheriff Rick Jones said.

Barring a last-minute reprieve, Napoleon Beazley was scheduled for execution Tuesday night in Texas – in a case that heightened the national debate over capital punishment for young offenders. Beazley was convicted of murdering the father of a federal judge, a crime committed when he was 17; he is now 25. The state parole board was meeting to consider commuting his sentence to life in prison. Texas executes more criminals than any other state.

Consumer confidence rose slightly this month, but hasn't returned to March's level after a drop in April, according to a closely watched index. The Conference Board, a private research firm, said its findings underscored concerns about the strength of the US economic recovery. In other economic reports, sales of existing homes jumped a higher-than-expected 7.0 percent in April, while consumer spending rose 0.5 percent.

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