USA

Iraq continues to try to build nuclear weapons, justifying action against Saddam Hussein, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (said Saturday after meeting at Camp David, Md. They cited a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, that said satellite photos showed building activity at several sites previously linked to Iraq's nuclear program. Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and other US officials argued the administration's position again Sunday. "If we have reason to believe someone is preparing an attack against the US ... I think the US is justified in dealing with that if necessary by military force," Cheney told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Bush's approval rating, although still high, slipped in two new opinion polls. A survey by CBS and The New York Times found 63 percent of respondents had a favorable view of the president, down from the mid-80s last winter; two-thirds wanted allied support for any action against Iraq. A separate Washington Post poll put Bush's approval rating at 69 percent, from 92 percent in October; 83 percent of those surveyed agreed that the Sept. 11 attacks changed the country "in a lasting way."

To honor victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Navy christened an amphibious assault ship the USS New York. Gov. George Pataki (R) presided over Saturday's ceremony. Construction of the $800 million, high-tech San Antonio-class vessel – one of 12 ordered – is to begin next year, with delivery set for 2006.

Tropical Storm Fay brought flooding, power outages, and scattered tornadoes as it came ashore Saturday on the Gulf coast of Texas. The storm quickly lost strength but dumped almost a foot of rain on some areas. No serious injuries were reported. Weather forecasters said remnants of the storm were moving toward San Antonio at 7 m.p.h., with up to 10 inches of rain expected in south-central parts of the state.

Serena Williams defeated her sister, Venus, to win the US Open women's tennis championship Saturday in New York. It was the third consecutive Grand Slam title for No. 1-ranked Serena, who has defeated second-ranked Venus in all three of their matchups this year. Pete Sampras was to face Andre Agassi in the men's final as the Monitor went to press.

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