USA

After a brief but intense round of diplomacy, the US wants the UN Security Council to vote by mid-March on a resolution that could set the stage for military action against Iraq, Secretary of State Powell said Sunday in Tokyo, before traveling to China for talks on Iraq and on North Korea. The US, Britain, and possibly Spain are expected to present the resolution to the council early this week. At a news conference Saturday with visiting Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar President Bush said "time is short" for the UN to act, calling the long-range missiles that Baghdad has been ordered to destroy by the UN weapons-inspection regime "just the tip of the iceberg" of its illegal arsenal.

State and federal investigators were looking into a fire that killed 96 people at a nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. More than 180 others were hurt at The Station nightclub Thursday night, in a blaze set off by a pyrotechnic display for the heavy metal band Great White. The band's managers insist the club owners knew about the display; the owners dispute that account. In a tearful statement, co-owner Jeffrey Derderian said he did his best to get people out safely and would never forget the horror of that night.

Heavy rains and melting snow from the Presidents' Day storm brought flooding to parts of the East Coast, prompting evacuations of some residents in Virginia and West Virginia. Two people died when strong winds destroyed five mobile homes in Athol, Ky. Nine people were hurt when the roof of a Toys 'R' US store collapsed in Lanham, Md., with collapses also reported in Virginia and Massachusetts.

An explosion and massive fire at an ExxonMobil fuel depot on Staten Island, N.Y., killed two workers Friday and injured a third. The blast occurred as a barge was unloading 100,000 barrels of gasoline at the facility and police said a malfunctioning pump may be to blame. The explosion initially raised concerns of a possible terrorist attack.

In what the Customs Service calls its largest such seizure to date on the Southwest border, 10 tons of marijuana were confiscated from a truck on California's border with Mexico Friday. The cargo, valued at $9 million, was found by a drug-sniffing dog.

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