USA

In a sign of steadily worsening relations between Iran and the Bush administration, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said the Tehran government has responded "insufficiently" to demands for a crackdown Al Qaeda. Iran previously announced it had detained several suspects, but has consistently denied US claims that it's a haven for senior members of the terrorist group and is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

President Bush was to sign a bill authorizing $15 billion for AIDS-prevention efforts in Africa and the Caribbean in a ceremony as the Monitor went to press. Under the five-year package, 55 percent of the funds would go toward treatment and 20 percent to prevention programs, including those that stress sexual abstinence or fidelity. The president is expected to press other world leaders to increase AIDS funding as well at the coming Group of Eight summit in France.

A nationwide hunt was under way for a suspect in a series of high-profile killings in southern Louisiana. At a press conference in Baton Rouge Monday, the head of a police task force said a warrant had been issued for Derrick Todd Lee in the murder of graduate student Carrie Yoder, and that DNA evidence linked the case to the deaths of four other women. The 10-month investigation involved testing DNA samples from more than 1,000 men, prompting some defense attorneys to question the legality of the broad search.

Sales of new, single-family homes rose 1.7 percent in April to their highest level this year, the Commerce Department announced, while a separate report from a realtors' group said sales of existing homes were up 5.6 percent last month. Both findings were better than analysts anticipated.

Divers were searching Idaho's murky Snake River Tuesday for a missing toddler from Utah. Acacia Patience Bishop allegedly was taken from her home by her grandmother, Kelley Lodmell, whom authorities describe as mentally ill. Police said Lodmell claims she lost the child when they fell into the water.

A court hearing opened in Orlando, Fla., for a Muslim woman who's suing the state for revoking her driver's license because she wore a veil in the photo. A lawyer for Sultaana Freeman says being compelled to reveal her face would violate his client's religious beliefs. State officials say allowing the veiled image poses a risk to public safety.

Results of a new poll found 91 percent of drivers engaged in risky behavior in the past six months. Seventy-one percent acknowledged speeding, 59 percent eating while at the wheel, and 37 percent used a cellphone. The survey was commissioned by the American Automobile Association and other partners for a safety campaign.

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