USA

If he decides to attack Iraq, President Bush has been advised he doesn't need approval from Congress, the Washington Post reported. The White House legal team concluded that a resolution authorizing action in the 1991 Gulf War remains in force, the newspaper said. Officials in his administration reportedly are divided on whether Bush should ask for legislative backing anyway to help build public support. He has pledged only to consult with lawmakers on possible military action to remove Saddam Hussein, and the White House has said repeatedly that no decision has been made.

China's decision to limit missile technology exports is a "positive step," but until the administration knows how Beijing will enforce the new rules, it is not ready to lift a ban on launches of US commercial satellites on Chinese rockets, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said. The Beijing government announced the new restrictions before his arrival Sunday for a two-day visit. The US accuses China of transferring sensitive technology to Pakistan, Iran, and other countries.

The team from Louisville, Ky., won the Little League World Series 1-0 over Sendai, Japan, in Sunday night's championship at Williamsport, Pa. It's the first US team to take the title since 1998.

For the second time in two weeks, Steven Hatfill insisted, "I am not the anthrax killer," at a news conference Sunday in Alexandria, Va. The biowarfare expert said the FBI accepted his offer to undergo a blood test to prove his innocence. But he denounced "arrogant government bureaucrats" for ruining his life. Last week, Attorney General Ashcroft said Hatfill remains a "person of interest" in the case. Anthrax-tainted mail killed five people last fall; 13 others became ill after being exposed to it.

Sales of new homes rose a brisk 6.7 percent in July to an all-time monthly high, the Commerce Department reported. The increase drove sales to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.02 million. Many analysts, who had expected a 3 percent drop, attributed the rise to low mortgage rates and appreciation in housing values.

A proposal to extend a ban on soft-drink sales at public schools is expected win the OK of the Los Angeles Unified School District's board Tuesday. Soda sales are already prohibited at elementary schools in the district, the nation's second largest. The ban is designed to limit junk-food availability, but some educators and students worry that it will take away funds used for field trips, sports, and other activities.

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