USA

Top officials in Boston's Roman Catholic Archdiocese will not be prosecuted for keeping abusive priests in church parishes, the Massachusetts Attorney General's office confirmed. A lawyer representing more than 100 alleged victims of sexual molestation by priests expressed disappointment, saying many of his clients were "hoping there would be indictments so church leaders and individuals would be held responsible."

President Bush and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi greeted each other like old pals when the latter arrived at the presidential ranch in Crawford, Texas, Sunday for two days of talks. The White House said they would discuss stopping the spread of nuclear arms, achieving peace in the Middle East, fighting terrorism, and mending fissures in trans-Atlantic relations.

Democrats said they were launching a television ad that accuses Bush of misleading Americans on the nuclear threat posed by Iraq. Republicans urged broadcasters not to carry the ad, set to be aired first Monday in Madison, Wis., then elsewhere, calling it "deliberately false and misleading." The Democratic National Committee has been raising money through an e-mail campaign that began July 10 to help finance the ad.

A Justice Department investigation into more than 1,000 recent claims of civil rights and civil liberties violations under the USA Patriot Act concluded that 34 were credible. Many of the complaints were from Muslims or others of Arab descent who said they were beaten or verbally abused while being detained.

A federal judge dismissed a NAACP lawsuit against gunmakers, ruling that while the organization had showed manufacturers were careless, it failed to prove that its members were uniquely harmed. The suit, filed in New York, claimed the firearms industry knew corrupt dealers were supplying guns to criminals in minority communities and did nothing to stop the practice. The defendants argued it was unfair and illegal to hold them liable for the criminal use of a legal product.

An index measuring the direction in which the US economy is headed in the next three to six months increased slightly in June for the third month in a row. The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose by 0.1 percent in June to 111.8, following a 1.1 percent rise in May.

Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch is expected to return to her Palestine, W. Va., home Tuesday and be welcomed by hundreds of supporters, banners, and a sizable news media contingent. Still recovering from injuries sustained in a deadly ambush of her convoy in Iraq, Lynch is scheduled to make her first public statement.

CBS chairman Leslie Moonves said a reality version of "TheBeverly Hillbillies" remains a possibility for his TV network, despite sharp criticism of the idea as a mockery of poor, rural Southerners. The proposed series would pay a family from Appalachia about $500,000 to live for a year in a Hollywood mansion.

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