USA

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has had ample time but clearly is not disarming, President Bush said, reproaching the French, German, and other governments that have suggested postponing any action on Iraq while UN arms inspections continue. Bush, emerging from a meeting with economists Tuesday, repeated his readiness to lead a coalition to disarm Iraq by force, if necessary. The economy and Iraq are expected to be main topics in his State of the Union address next week. Wednesday, the president was to tout the economic benefits of his proposed $674 billion tax-cut plan on a trip to St. Louis.

Activists on both sides of the abortion debate held rallies and gatherings around the US to mark the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. In Washington, Philadelphia Roman Catholic Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua led an all-night prayer vigil and criticized the court ruling as "immoral." But at a dinner across town hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice America Tuesday night, top Democratic presidential hopefuls pledged to defend against what they called the antiabortion policies of Bush and the GOP-dominated Congress.

Three mine workers were killed and three others were injured in an explosion in northern West Virginia. The six workers were digging an air shaft 1,000 feet underground for the McElroy Mining Co., an emergency official said. Their employer is Central Cambria Drilling of Ebensburg, Pa.

To help provide an early warning in the event of a bioterror attack, the Bush administration is refitting many of the country's 3,000 air-quality monitoring stations with special filters, The New York Times reported. The filters are designed to detect smallpox, anthrax, and other hazardous substances.

The Rev. Al Sharpton joined the race for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, filing election papers Tuesday. The controversial civil rights leader has run twice for the US Senate and once for mayor of New York, but has never won elective office. Meanwhile, a fire Wednesday damaged the Harlem building where Sharpton's National Action Network has its offices.

Hispanics have surpassed African-Americans as the US's largest minority group, the Census Bureau reported. The Latino population grew to 37 million in July 2001, compared with 36.1 million blacks, the bureau said. The groups comprise 13 percent and 12.7 percent of the overall US population, respectively.

A Northwest Airlines pilot was arrested after a loaded handgun was found in his carry-on luggage by security screeners at New York's LaGuardia Airport. Robert Donaldson told a judge he had put the weapon in his bag after target practice in Michigan - where he has a permit - and forgot it.

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