USA

US Rep. J.C. Watts (R) of Oklahoma, announced he won't seek reelection for a fifth term in November. Watts, chairman of the House Republican Conference and the GOP's only African-American in Congress, told a press conference in Norman, Okla., "It is time to return home, to go on with other things in my life." His departure was seen as a possible boost for Democrats seeking to overturn the narrow Republican majority in the House.

At least three small planes entered restricted airspace around the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., over the weekend, Secret Service officials said, and fighter jets were sent to intercept them. Two of the pilots were questioned and authorities said the intrusions appeared to be accidental. The third pilot couldn't be found. The incidents occurred amid a heightened alert for potential terrorist attacks timed to coincide with Independence Day.

The US agreed to extend the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia by just three days after vetoing a six-month extension in a dispute with fellow Security Council members over the new permanent war-crimes tribunal. That gives the council until Thursday to reach a possible compromise. The Bush administration strongly opposes the International Criminal Court, which officially came into being Monday. It demands immunity for Americans involved in the Bosnia mission, due to concerns that they could be targets of political prosecution.

Desire for work led part-time firefighter Leonard Gregg to set what became the biggest blaze in Arizona history, prosecutors said. Gregg tried to apologize at a federal court hearing Sunday in Flagstaff, but the judge advised him not to admit guilt. If convicted, Gregg faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. In a similar case, a Forest Service worker was accused of starting a massive blaze in Colorado last month.

State government in Tennessee was in partial shutdown after legislators failed to agree on how to make up an estimated $877 million budget shortfall for the new fiscal year. Gov. Don Sundquist (R) signed emergency legislation to pay prison, court, health care, and other essential workers through Friday.

Chicago millionaire Steve Fossett was on track to complete the first solo balloon flight around the world today. It's his sixth attempt at the record. By Monday, Fossett had completed more than 85 percent of the trip and was traveling at 196 m.p.h. toward his final destination, Australia, at a height of more than 30,000 feet.

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