USA

The US and Britain will submit a resolution declaring Iraq in "material breach" of a previous UN order to disarm, to the Security Council next week, a US official said while traveling with President Bush to Atlanta for an address on the economy. Such a designation would bring both governments a step closer to possible military action against Baghdad, although France has said it would veto a second resolution. Bush welcomes Spain's Prime Minister José Maria Aznar to his Texas ranch this weekend for talks on Iraq.

A University of South Florida professor with alleged terrorist ties was due in court Thursday afternoon, after being arrested by federal agents. The FBI said Sami Al-Arian was one of four people detained in Tampa, Fla., and Chicago, with an undisclosed number of others in custody overseas. Al-Arian, a specialist in computer engineering, has been on forced leave since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The university accuses him of fundraising and of other support for terrorist groups. Al-Arian has denied any such connection.

The trade deficit grew to a record $435.2 billion last year, as a weakened global economy dimmed demand for US goods while imports hit all-time highs, the Commerce Department said. The trade report came a day after new Treasury Secretary Snow urged Congress to raise the national debt limit immediately, saying borrowing would surpass the current limit of $6.4 trillion Thursday.

An explosion and fire rocked an insulation-products factory in Corbin, Ky., injuring at least 22 workers, authorities said. Two others were reported missing. Ray Bowman, a spokesman with the Division of Emergency Management, said an unknown chemical was released from the CTA Acoustics plant after the blast, prompting the evacuation of nearby residents.

Beefed up by 900 state and federal fire crew workers, the search for wreckage of the space shuttle Columbia resumed near Hemphill, Texas, a day after an eight-foot section of the craft's nose landing gear was recovered in the area. Investigators hope the debris will help them determine what caused the ship to split apart Feb. 1.

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