Intensive efforts were under way to win congressional passage of the Medicare and energy bills, two of President Bush's top legislative priorities going into the 2004 election season. After an all-night session, the House narrowly approved the $395 billion Medicare overhaul early Saturday and a final vote could take place as soon as Monday in the Senate. Minority Democrats there succeeded in blocking Republican moves to end debate on the energy bill Friday. But Majority Leader Bill Frist (R) of Tennessee vowed: "We're going to keep voting until we pass it and get it to the president." Opponents of the measure contend it caters to energy companies at the expense of environmental protections.Skip to next paragraph
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The FBI was collecting extensive information on antiwar protesters and asked local law- enforcement officials last month to report suspicious activities to its counterterrorism unit, The New York Times reported. A confidential Oct. 15 memo obtained by the newspaper reportedly notes the use of training camps, gas masks, and Internet fund-raising by demonstration organizers. The monitoring is aimed at groups "who would be involved in violent or criminal activity," not at persons engaged in peaceful political speech, said FBI spokesman Bill Carter. Still, civil liberties groups expressed concerns over possible abuses.
Police in Miami denied accusations that they used excessive force in clashes with protesters outside a major international trade conference last week. More than 190 people were arrested Thursday and Friday, and more than 140 others were treated for injuries, as ministers from 34 countries drafted a proposal for a free-trade zone that would encompass most of the Western Hemisphere.
After three deaths and more than 600 confirmed cases, the nation's largest outbreak of the hepatitis A virus is essentially over, federal and state health officials in western Pennsylvania declared Saturday. The Food and Drug Administration blames the outbreak on Mexican-grown green onions served at a Chi-Chi's restaurant northwest of Pittsburgh. But the agency still is investigating how and where the contamination occurred.
Adoptions of more than 3,000 children were finalized in courts around the country Saturday for the third annual National Adoption Day. Some 120 communities took part in the initiative, sponsored by the Alliance for Children's Rights and aimed at boosting awareness of the estimated 126,000 fostercare children awaiting new families.