USA

"Time is running out" for Saddam Hussein to comply with the UN's order to disarm, the White House warned. While President Bush hasn't set a specific date for UN weapons inspectors to complete their search, press secretary Ari Fleischer said, Bush would not permit the Iraqi leader to "string the world along forever." Meanwhile, the military buildup in preparation for possible conflict continued. The Navy is deploying a seven-ship amphibious task force with as many as 7,000 Marines from California to the Persian Gulf region, officials said Monday.

A court hearing to determine whether teenage sniper suspect John Lee Malvo will be tried as an adult was expected to open in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday morning. More than 20 witnesses are expected to testify at the two-day proceeding. Malvo is charged in the murder of FBI analyst Linda Franklin and - if tried as an adult and convicted - he could face the death penalty. He and John Allen Muhammad are accused of killing 13 people and wounding five others in a series of shootings last fall in and around Washington.

Retail sales rose 1.2 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted $308 billion, the Commerce Department reported. The rise was due mainly to a 5 percent jump in auto sales last month, although sales were flat in other sectors. Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of overall US economic activity.

Some 20,000 General Electric workers walked off the job in a two-day strike to protest increased fees for healthcare services under the company's insurance plan. The walkout, at 48 locations in 23 states, is the first for the conglomerate since 1969. An unidentified female striker died after being hit by a police car at a plant near Louisville, Ky.

In what likely is the final round of US military exercises on Vieques, the USS Anzio fired inert shells at a bombing range on the Puerto Rican island's eastern edge. The Navy has announced it will stop using Vieques by May, following years of antibombing protests. Five activists were detained Monday for illegally entering Navy property as F-18 fighter jets staged bombing runs.

CNN News Group chairman Walter Isaacson announced he was resigning to become president of the Aspen Institute, a Washington think tank. The departure of Isaacson, a veteran journalist, comes as CNN, a unit of AOL Time Warner, has fallen behind cable rival Fox News in the ratings.

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