USA

A 13-year-old boy was in critical condition after being shot outside his school in Bowie, Md., in what authorities said may have been the latest in a series of sniper attacks in Washington and nearby suburbs. School officials and police had stepped up security since the attacks began last week. All took place during the day and in public places, though none previously had targeted children. Police and the FBI were working on profiles of the gunman, looking for a pattern of behavior. The shootings have killed six people and wounded two others.

Advising Iraqi military commanders to "think before you act," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer urged them to disobey if leader Saddam Hussein orders biological or chemical attacks on US forces. His comments came as President Bush made final preparations for a televised speech to the nation from Cincinnati that aides said would address the public's questions about a potential war.

Two-thirds of Americans surveyed favored military action to remove Hussein, a new CBS-New York Times poll found. However, 70 percent of respondents said Bush should get support from Congress and 65 percent wanted international allies on board as well. (The House is expected to vote on a resolution later this week and the Senate next week.) In addition, almost two-thirds of those polled said the president should spend more time on the economy.

Bush will intervene in the labor dispute that has shut 29 West Coast ports for more than a week, administration officials said. The decision to name a board of inquiry to assess economic damage from the lockout is the first step toward its potential court-ordered end. By some estimates, the shutdown is taking a $2 billion-a-day toll on the economy. Talks between shipping companies and the longshoremen's union broke off indefinitely late Sunday. Their dispute centers mainly on union concerns that technology upgrades will cost jobs.

On its first day back in session, the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a Wisconsin man ordered not to father any more children as a condition of probation. Lawyers for David Oakley, who was sentenced to three years in prison for failure to pay $25,000 in child support, had argued the order violated his constitutional rights. Oakley has nine children from relationships with four different women.

In a separate decision, the high court agreed that a California law barring convicted criminals from profiting from the sale of their stories is unconstitutional. That state's high court made the ruling in a case that stemmed from the 1963 kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. Some 40 states have similar laws.

An American and two British researchers won the 2002 Nobel Prize in medicine for their work on genes and cells. H. Robert Horvitz is with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.; Briton Sydney Brenner is a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif.; and John Sulston is with the Sanger Center at Cambridge University in England. They'll share the prize, worth about $1 million.

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