USA

The war against Iraq has been a "time of testing for America," President Bush said at a somber service marking the National Day of Prayer. Americans prayed that the conflict would not be necessary, "and now pray that peace will be just and lasting," Bush said, before departing on a flight to the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, where he was to announce the end of combat operations in Iraq. Meanwhile, Newsweek reported that the president plans to name former diplomat and terrorism expert L. Paul Bremer as civilian administrator of Iraq, possibly as early as next week.

Enron ex-chief financial officer Andrew Fastow faces 31 additional counts of fraud, insider trading, and other charges. Federal indictments unsealed Thursday in a Houston court also named his wife, Lea, and seven former executives in the collapsed energy giant's broadband unit. The latest charges bring Fastow's total to 109. Lea Fastow is charged with six counts, such as conspiracy and filing false tax returns.

Flanked by families of missing children, Bush signed child protection legislation to expand the Amber Alert system, among other provisions. The alerts, already in use in 41 states, quickly distribute information on missing children. The system is named for Amber Hagerman, a Texas child abducted and later found murdered. Her family was among those present at Wednesday's White House ceremony, as was that of Elizabeth Smart, the Utah teen whom police found in March.

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The House was holding hearings on a new contract to run the Los Alamos, N.M., National Laboratory, a day after Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said the University of California would not be the automatic choice when the current management deal expires in 2005. The university has run the nation's premier nuclear weapons facility since it was created 60 years ago but has been mired in scandals over misspent funds, stolen equipment, and alleged cover- ups.

As police stood by, hundreds of protesters invaded the former US Navy bombing range on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, setting fire to vehicles, burning American flags, and chanting "Get out, Navy!" The demonstrators were celebrating Wednesday's transfer of one-third of the controversial island to the Interior Department, which is turning the site used for 60 years of military exercises into a wildlife refuge.

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