USA

With a $157 billion deficit projected this year, President Bush urged Congress to keep a tight lid on spending in the 2003 budget Monday. Lawmakers have yet to approve any of the 13 bills that fund federal agencies. On a trip to Davenport, Iowa, the president toured a plant that makes truck seats and attended a fund-raising picnic for US Rep. Jim Nussle (R) of Iowa, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Bush is to attend another GOP fund-raiser Tuesday, this one for his former presidential rival, Lamar Alexander, who's running for the Senate in Tennessee.

Trying to build momentum in the administration's drive for action against Iraq, Secretary of State Powell met at the UN in New York with counterparts from Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, along with other foreign dignitaries. "We are asking for everyone's full support over the next couple of weeks," a spokesman for the US ambassador to the UN said.

A sixth man detained in connection with an alleged terrorist cell was due to appear in federal court in Buffalo, N.Y. Muktar al-Bakri was arrested last week in Bahrain. Al-Bakri's brother insisted his relative is not a terrorist and said the arrest took place on the night of his wedding.

General Electric's generous retirement package for former chairman Jack Welch is under informal investigation by Securities and Exchange Commission, the company revealed. GE said it is cooperating with the probe. At Welch's request, the conglomerate's board last week cut off such perks as his free use of a company-owned Manhattan apartment and corporate jets. His multimillion-dollar benefits, disclosed recently in a divorce proceeding, have been criticized as excessive.

Some 3,000 residents who were forced to evacuate after a hazardous chemical spill near Knoxville, Tenn., should be allowed back home by today, authorities said. A train carrying 10,600 gallons of sulfuric acid derailed in the area Sunday, releasing a cloud of gas. Twenty-one people were treated for minor medical complaints.

A hearing on water rights that pits an endangered species of fish against drought-hit Albuquerque, N.M., was scheduled in a US District court there Monday. Environmentalists want a judge to compel Albuquerque to release water it owns into a soon-to-run-dry stretch of the Rio Grande River, where the Rio Grande silvery minnow lives. But city officials argue that doing so would threaten the municipal water supply.

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