USA

The Senate was poised to approve the long-delayed $373 billion spending bill for most domestic federal programs. "There's too much riding" on the measure to continue to block it, minority leader Tom Daschle (D) of South Dakota said Wednesday. Democrats objected to provisions that would end overtime pay for many white-collar workers and ease limits on TV station ownership, among others. Passage would give President Bush election-year victories on such policy goals as federally funded school vouchers and money for AIDS prevention in Africa. Bush is to unveil his 2005 budget in less than two weeks.

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards accused Bush of exerting "iron-fisted control" in Iraq and dismissed other nations participating in the military and rebuilding effort there as "window dressing." Edwards was interviewed on New Hampshire Public Radio as the candidates prepared for the final debate before Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. Opinion polls show Edwards lagging in fourth place among rivals for the party nomination.

FBI agents brought Enron's former chief accountant Richard Causey in handcuffs to federal court in Houston, where he was charged with securities fraud and conspiracy in the energy trader's massive 2001 collapse. Causey surrendered to authorities a week after former Enron finance officer Andrew Fastow pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a deal with prosecutors.

Activists on both sides of the abortion issue were marking the 31st anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision with protests and candlelight vigils in Washington and others cities. "The days of Roe are numbered," declared the Rev. Frank Pavone, president of the National Pro-Life Religious Council. National Organization of Women president Kim Gandy criticized the Bush administration and Congress for "literally signing away women's reproductive rights."

Acting jointly with Saudi Arabia, the Bush administration asked the UN to freeze the assets of four branches of a charity based there for its alleged financial support of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The request covers branches of Al-Haramain in Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Pakistan.

The New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association may be moving to Brooklyn. The Community Youth Organization, which owns the franchise, reportedly agreed to sell it for about $300 million to New York developer Bruce Ratner.

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