USA

The Bush administration was expected to lift steep tariffs on steel imports as the Monitor went to press. The decision, a rare policy turnaround, averted a possible trade war. The European Union stood ready to impose $2.2 billion in retaliatory duties by the middle of this month after the World Trade Organization ruled the US tariffs illegal. But steel industry officials and Republican lawmakers briefed on President Bush's move said the administration also would announce new measures to guard against unfair competition, such as making permanent an early-reporting requirement meant to detect large influxes of steel.

Secretary of State Powell urged NATO "to examine how it might do more" in Iraq, at a meeting of alliance ministers in Brussels. Spain, Poland, and Italy have suggested that NATO might take over some peacekeeping duties there next year, but diplomatic officials cautioned that it was still too early to make a decision.

A legal team will be allowed to meet an Australian detainee at the US military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the Defense Department said Wednesday. A US military lawyer was assigned to represent David Hicks, one of six detainees who may be tried by military tribunals. He'll also have an Australian legal adviser, the Pentagon said. The announcement came a day after the US military agreed to let a public defender meet Yaser Hamdi, a Saudi-American captured in Afghanistan and being held as an enemy combatant, in a shift that followed months of refusals.

Part of a 1996 counterterrorism law was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court in San Francisco Wednesday. The decision limits, but does not entirely overturn, a provision making it illegal to provide "material support" to terror groups. The ruling came as Mukhtar al-Bakri, who pleaded guilty to the charge, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He's one of six Yemeni-Americans from Lackawanna, N.Y., who admitted training at an Al Qaeda camp.

Civil rights leaders in Cincinnati are planning a rally Sunday to protest the death of Nathaniel Jones while in police custody, the Cincinnati Post reported. Hamilton County coroner Carl Parrott ruled Jones's death a homicide Wednesday, but said the determination did not imply that police used excessive force while arresting the combative Jones Nov. 30.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is selling the archbishop's mansion to raise funds for the $85 million clergy sex-abuse settlement, a spokes-man said. New Archbishop Sean O'Malley has pledged not to use collection money for the record settlement.

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