USA

Wall Street traders braced for steep declines amid concerns that war with Iraq may be imminent. By midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dipped below the 8,000 mark for the first time in three months, after the Dow as well as the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at three-month lows Friday. Bond and gold prices were up. In Europe, share prices fell to their lowest point in almost six years Monday, and the euro rose to $1.09 against the dollar - a three-year high. In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei Stock Average closed down 1.4 percent, and the dollar lost ground to the yen.

President Bush may outline links between Iraq and Al Qaeda during his State of the Union address, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer hinted, while repeating the administration's assertion that "time is running out" for the Baghdad government to disarm as required by the UN. Bush met with the National Security Council and with Vice President Cheney while honing tonight's speech. Other subjects are likely to include his $674 billion tax-cut plan that has drawn criticism even from some Republicans, Medicare funding, and a prescription drug benefit for senior citizens.

Washington Gov. Gary Locke (D) was preparing to deliver his party's traditional response to the State of the Union address. Locke chairs the Democratic Governors' Association and, as a Chinese-American, is considered likely to enhance the party's image among minority voters.

Ruling against the government in a case worth billions to the telecommunications industry, the Supreme Court found that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wrongly resold more than 200 wireless licenses after their first buyer went bankrupt. The 8-to-1 decision upheld a lower court ruling in favor of NextWave Telecom Inc., which paid $4.7 billion for the frequencies at a 1996 auction. At a second sale in 2001, Verizon Wireless and VoiceStream Wireless bought the licenses for almost $16 billion.

The High Court also rejected an appeal in a death-penalty case that would have reopened discussion of the minimum age for offenders charged with capital crimes. It presently stands at 16. The case involves an inmate on Oklahoma's death row, Scott Allen Hain, who was 17 when he and an older accomplice murdered a young couple in 1987.

Disappointed Raiders football fans went on a rampage in Oakland, Calif., setting cars and a McDonald's restaurant on fire, smashing store windows, and clashing with police following their team's 48-21 defeat in Super Bowl XXXVII Sunday night in San Diego. At least 25 arrests were reported, mainly for public intoxication, and three firefighters were injured. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a long-derided franchise, played dominant defense and opportunistic offense in winning their first appearance in the game.

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