USA

President Bush said he will request $87 billion in funding for Iraq and Afghanistan in a televised speech Sunday night, describing the former as the central battleground in a counter- terrorism war that "will take time and require sacrifice." Democrats in Congress vowed close scrutiny of how the money is allocated. Bush also urged fellow UN members to contribute troops and funds to the effort. While noting widespread disagreement with the US decision to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, "We cannot let past differences interfere with present duties," Bush said.

Returning attention to his domestic agenda, Bush visited an underperforming elementary school in Nashville, Tenn., Monday to promote his No Child Left Behind education initiative. He later was attending a fund-raiser for his 2004 reelection campaign.

The US Supreme Court convened a rare special session to consider campaign-finance reform legislation approved in 2002. Four hours of arguments were scheduled, instead of the usual one. Opponents of the law, known as McCain-Feingold for its main sponsors, Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona and Russell Feingold (D) of Wisconsin, say it unconstitutionally limits free speech. Supporters say the caps on "soft money" donations to political parties and restrictions on paid ads by corporations and unions are meant to curb widespread abuses of existing election rules. A decision is expected by the end of the year.

Colorado's Supreme Court heard challenges to a Republican-backed redistricting plan, in a case that could impact similarly partisan battles in Texas and other states. Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) maintains the measure violates the state Constitution, which calls for redistricting after each federal census - a once-per-decade event. A judge drew up a new 7th Congressional District in 2002 because divided state lawmakers were unable to reach an accord, but the GOP-led General Assembly approved a new map earlier this year.

About 1,000 people were returning home after a fire in California's San Bernardino National Forest, 60 miles east of Los Angeles, forced them to evacuate over the weekend. The 1,300-acre blaze was about 35 percent contained, thanks to cooler temperatures overnight Sunday. Firefighters in Montana also were anticipating help from moister, cooler weather in their efforts against a 57,000-acre fire in Glacier National Park.

In a protest reminiscent of the Boston Tea Party, 200 espresso-shop owners and patrons tossed coffee-style burlap bags into Seattle's Green Lake Sunday to show opposition to a proposed dime-a-drink tax on caffeinated beverages. The ballot measure, Initiative 77, is up for a vote Sept. 16. Supporters say it could raise $6.5 million a year for day-care and preschool programs.

Clinching his first Grand Slam victory, American Andy Roddick defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain Sunday in the men's championship at the US Open Tennis Tournament at Flushing Meadows, N.Y. "It's a great day for American tennis ... a great passing of the baton," said US Davis Cup coach Patrick McEnroe, in a reference to veteran Pete Sampras, who announced his retirement as the tournament opened.

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