USA

President Bush "instinctively knows what needs to be done" about Saddam Hussein, US Rep. Tom DeLay (R) of Texas told "Fox News Sunday," as public debate over possible military action against Iraq entered another week. DeLay, the House majority whip, said he was confident Bush would consult with Congress first. He disagreed with a suggestion by former Secretary of State James Baker, that Bush seek UN approval for any Iraqi mission. In an opinion piece written for The New York Times, Baker, who served in the administration of Bush's father, said that while the US could remove Hussein, to do so unilaterally would be costly "politically, economically, and in terms of casualties."

Although Russia denied responsibility, the White House condemned alleged airstrikes by its military in which one person was killed and five others were hurt in neighboring Georgia. The US "regrets this loss of life and deplores the violation of Georgia's sovereignty," press secretary Ari Fleischer said Saturday. He also said a political settlement of the separatist conflict in Chechnya was urgently needed. Russia accuses Georgia, another ex-Soviet republic, of harboring Chechen rebels. The rebuke does not reflect any deterioration in US-Russian relations, Fleischer said.

A suspect who allegedly plotted to attack Islamic sites across Florida was in custody and undergoing a mental competency evaluation. Responding to a complaint that Robert Goldstein had threatened to kill his wife early Friday, sheriff's deputies found more than 30 explosive devices and a list of some 50 mosques at his heavily fortified town house in Seminole, a suburb of St. Petersburg. The cache reportedly included bombs, machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, and hand grenades.

FBI agents found human remains in a suspect's shed in the disappearances of two teenage girls and were searching the property for more, authorities in Oregon City, Ore., said Saturday. The suspect, Ward Weaver, is in jail on charges of raping his son's girlfriend. In reporting the alleged attack, his son told police dispatchers that Weaver had confessed to killing Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis. The girls disappeared from a nearby apartment complex in January and March of this year.

Public health officials said West Nile virus is suspected in the deaths of three people, all of them elderly, in New York State, Michigan, and Illinois. If confirmed, that would bring the number of fatalities from the mosquito-borne ailment to 18 this year. More than 370 other people have been diagnosed with the illness in the largest outbreak since it first appeared in the US in 1999. The majority of cases have been diagnosed in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

A record 6.6 million Americans were in prison or under official supervision last year, the Department of Justice reported Sunday. In all, about 3 percent of the adult population is in the corrections system, a 2.3 percent increase from 2000.

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