USA

To avert further terrorist acts, Americans must be "ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives," President Bush said Saturday at the commencement ceremony at West Point, the nation's oldest military academy. "If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long," he said, in what was regarded as a reference to possible military action against Iraq. The administration has stated repeatedly that removing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is a policy goal. Above, Bush hands out diplomas to graduating West Point cadets. (Editorial, page 10.)

Attorney General Ashcroft defended a decision to expand the FBI's surveillance powers. "We're not talking about invading privacy" by allowing federal agents to troll the Internet and monitor public meetings for hints of terrorist activity, Ash-croft told "Fox News Sunday." On ABC, Ashcroft said he didn't believe there was a "substantial likelihood" that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks could have been prevented if the FBI had handled several clues differently.

A US counterterrorism operation in the Philippines is likely to be extended Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said in Manila Sunday, before a meeting with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The mission is slated to end July 31. About 1,000 American soldiers are providing training and other support for the Philippine military against Muslim extremists. Today, Wolfowitz is to meet with US soldiers on the island of Basilan, where the Abu Sayyaf Islamic militant group is holding two American missionaries hostage.

All charges were dismissed against three teens accused of plotting to kill the police chief of New Miami, Ohio, after a grand jury refused to indict them under the state's new "serious juvenile offender" law. They were arrested in April after a police informant in a burglary ring investigation revealed the alleged plot.

An animal rights group is suing the owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus for allegedly spying on its operations. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) accuses Feld Entertainment Inc. of tapping phones, stealing documents, and other activities. PETA often stages protests in cities where the popular circus is performing. A spokeswoman for Vienna, Va.-based Feld said the suit hadn't been served yet and had no comment.

A wildfire in California's San Bernardino National Forest should be fully contained by the end of the week, officials said. The blaze, which scorched more than 2,500 acres, erupted Friday in an area where the California Department of Forestry had staged a training burn for firefighters.

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