USA

President Bush tapped Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt (R) to head the Environmental Protection Agency Monday. Pending Senate confirmation, Leavitt would replace EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who resigned in May. The nomination won praise from industry groups and congressional Republicans but was criticized by environmental groups and Senate Democrats. Leavitt gained a reputation as a consensus builder for a multistate deal to reduce air pollution over the Grand Canyon. He also has backed a controversial highway extension through a wildlife habitat near the Great Salt Lake.

California clean-air officials said General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, and Isuzu have agreed not to fight revised auto-emissions rules, in return for the state dropping appeals of lawsuits by the automakers. California's emissions standards, amended in April after successful legal challenges, are still the toughest in the US. They call for automakers to begin selling cleaner-burning gas-powered vehicles, gas-electric hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cell cars in the next five years.

The American Bar Association (ABA) adopted a pivotal change in ethics rules Monday. Meeting in San Francisco, the group's policymaking board voted 218 to 201 to allow, although not require, lawyers to alert authorities to prevent financial crimes or fraud by a client. "This is in the best interest of our profession. This is in the best interest of our country," said Dennis Archer, the ABA's new president and the first African American to serve in that post. Critics say the change erodes attorney-client privilege and may expose lawyers to liability suits.

A flareup in a 36,600-acre fire in Montana's Glacier National Park prompted the evacuation of Apgar Village Monday, a week after it had reopened. Another blaze that erupted Friday west of Billings forced residents of 50 homes to flee as it grew to 34,000 acres.

Computer-security experts were warning of a fast-spreading worm targeting Microsoft Windows software. The worm, known as LovSan or MSBlaster, reportedly is designed to launch a "denial of service" attack late this week on a Microsoft website, but poses a low risk of damage to host computers.

A US military transport plane crashed near Seoul, South Korea, killing two people on board. The C-12 Huron went down in a rice paddy while on a maintenance test. No casualties on the ground were reported.

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