USA

In its first major civil rights ruling in 25 years, a divided Supreme Court upheld the University of Michigan's race-influenced admissions policy for its law school but rejected a separate point system used to help minority students gain a place on campus. The Constitution does not bar the "narrowly tailored" use of race by the school to "further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body," Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the majority.

In two other split decisions, the High Court ruled that Congress may compel public libraries to install software that blocks access to pornographic websites on their computers, and struck down a California law designed to help Holocaust survivors collect on Nazi-era insurance policies as improper interference in federal foreign policy.

Ex-Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont formally joined the Democratic presidential race. In remarks released in advance to the news media, Dean announced his candidacy in Burlington, Vt., and pledged to "take our country back" from special interests and party politics. A just-released opinion poll in the early primary state of New Hampshire gave Dean 21 percent support, second to Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who had 30 percent.

Fire crews were making headway against a blaze raging on Mount Lemmon near Tucson, Ariz., guiding it toward an area with less foliage where it will be easier to fight. The so-called Aspen fire has burned more than 12,400 acres and 250 homes. It was about 5 percent contained, but firefighters said it could take weeks to put out completely.

Severe thundertorms spawned seven tornadoes near Deschler, Neb., killing one person and injuring five others Sunday. The storms dumped up to a foot of rain and large hail on some areas, damaging homes, cars, and power lines.

A day after lively protests and at least a dozen arrests, a three-day agricultural science and technology conference opened in Sacramento, Calif. Demonstrators say the gathering promotes corporate farming and the growth of genetically modified crops, which they maintain pose risks to human health and the environment.

Los Angeles bomb squad officers surrounded a tractor-trailer near Burbank Airport, after a telephoned tip that the vehicle was carrying explosives for a possible attack. The rig reportedly was parked near a storage depot for aircraft fuel.

Maynard Jackson Jr., who died Monday in Washington, was the first black mayor of Atlanta. First elected in 1973, he served the maximum two consecutive terms and ran again successfully in 1989. He was known for at times bitter clashes with the city's business community over opportunities for blacks and other minority residents.

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