USA

"If the president is willing and my wife approves... then I'd be happy to serve a second term," said Vice President Cheney. He made the remarks while preparing for fund-raising appearances in New Mexico and Utah on behalf of Republican candidates. Maintaining that his health is "good," Cheney said he was looking forward to running on the Bush ticket in 2004. The vice president has been hospitalized a number of times for health problems, including four heart attacks.

A man accused of offering to sell military secrets may face the federal death penalty. Prosecutors claim Brian Regan, a retired Air Force sergeant, "created a grave risk of substantial danger to the national security" by offering to sell US secrets to Iraq, Libya, and China. The trial marks the first time in decades that the government has sought the death penalty in an espionage case. No US citizen has been executed for such charges since Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the 1950s. They were convicted of revealing nuclear-bomb secrets to the Soviet Union. The government does not contend that Regan's actions led to anyone's death.

The Labor Department released two encouraging economic indicators Thursday, prompting a continued spending spree on Wall Street in morning trading. The Producer Price Index, a closely watched measure of inflation, declined by 0.2 percent in July, fueling speculation that Federal Reserve policymakers may cut interest rates when they meet Tuesday. Despite fears of a double-dip recession, jobless claims also fell last week. The seasonally adjusted 376,000 jobless claims are well below the reported claims of a year ago.

A US Air Force cargo plane crashed in the mountains of Puerto Rico during a training mission, killing all 10 people on board, a spokesman for the US Southern Command said. The C-130 plane was assigned to a US special-operations unit and was carrying passengers and cargo when it went down in a dense forest near Caguas.

ImClone Systems founder Samuel Waksal was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and bank fraud in an indictment filed Wednesday in federal court in New York. The biotech firm's ex-chief executive already had already been charged with securities fraud and perjury for alleged insider trading. He's accused of tipping off family and friends to sell ImClone stock last December in advance of an announcement that the Food and Drug Administration had rejected a much-anticipated new drug developed by the company.

Taiwan's top China policymaker was to hold talks with US officials Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported. Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, was dispatched to Washington, despite China's protest that any discussions would violate fundamental Sino-US agreements. Earlier this week, Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian called for a referendum on independence, a development that challenged the "one China policy." The State Department refused to say whether US officials would meet with Tsai. China considers Taiwan a renegade province.

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