USA

For the first time in eight years, a US president has the right to negotiate trade agreements that Congress can accept or reject, but not amend. Having received "trade promotion authority" or fast-track approval from Congress last week, President George Bush Tuesday signed the bill into law. Analysts say that without the trade authority, other countries do not negotiate seriously with the US, concerned that Congress could change a pact it doesn't like. Bush, who was leaving the capital for a month-long working vacation at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, has touted the measure as one of the steps the White House is taking to revitalize the economy.

Bush also announced a White House summit on missing, exploited, and runaway children. At the Sept. 24 meeting, policymakers, experts, community leaders, teachers, and lawenforcement officers will gather to share progress reports and generate new ideas to help prevent the victimization of children. Bush announced the conference during a Rose Garden ceremony at which a new booklet designed to help parents improve the safety of their children was released.

Wall Street's roller-coaster ride continues, with the Dow Jones industrials up as much as 327 points in morning trade Tuesday. That followed three days of consecutive losses that shaved 692 points from the index. Analysts, concerned that the losses and recent economic data suggesting an economic slowdown may herald another recession, were not sure if the surge represented a rally or just a temporary rebound. The Financial Times reported there was speculation that the Federal Reserve may cut, yet again, key interest rates to ward off a recession.

Dissolving a special injunction that temporarily barred a woman from having an abortion, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that a woman's right to the procedure is not subject to veto by a husband or partner. The application for an injunction was filed by the woman's ex-boyfriend. The ruling by Luzerne County Common Pleas President Judge Michael Conahan entrenched a woman's right to an abortion as one of the privacy protections guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Human rights advocates have raised concerns over Pakistani intelligence agents interrogating Afghan war prisoners at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A six-member Pakistani team left for the base last week to interview 40 Pakistani prisoners and collect details about alleged links with Al Qaeda and other militant groups. Amnesty International cited a US State Department report released in March, that said Pakistani police "regularly torture, beat, and otherwise abuse persons."

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