USA

President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, goes before the nation Thursday, to testify under oath before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Her appearance comes at a critical time for the administration, which has staked much of its reelection strategy on fighting terrorism, and analysts said her testimony could either reassure the public or add to its unease. According to sources cited by Reuters, the panel was refused permission Tuesday to the draft of an aborted speech on security Rice was to have given on the day of the attacks, reportedly touting missle defense, not Al Qaeda, as a priority.

Lea Fastow, the wife of Enron Corp. finance chief Andrew Fastow, withdrew a plea bargain agreement after a federal judge balked at a sentencing deal that would have sent her to prison for five months and confined her to home for another five. The sentence was to have been part of a larger plea arrangement involving her husband, who pleaded guilty in the company's accounting scandal in January.

Voters in Inglewood, Calif., rejected Wal-Mart's bid to build a supercenter, ending a protracted battle to locate a combination supermarket-retail store in the working-class Los Angeles suburb. About 60 percent opposed a ballot measure that would have allowed Wal-Mart to skirt zoning, traffic, and environmental reviews. After the City Council blocked the proposed shopping center last year, Wal-Mart, which is based in Arkansas, collected more than 10,000 signatures to force the vote. It also spent $1 million to make its case that its stores create jobs. Opponents countered that the center would drive out small businesses, displace better-paying jobs, and worsen urban sprawl.

An Amtrak train, en route from New Orleans to Chicago, jumped the tracks in a swampy area of Mississippi Tuesday, resulting in one death and more than 60 injuries. FBI agents were sent to the scene about 25 miles north of Jackson even though the derailment was believed to be an accident. The nine-car train tumbled five or six feet off a trestle. It was Amtrak's first deadly accident in two years.

One night after the University of Connecticut captured the men's college basketball championship, its women's team completed an unprecedented sweep Tuesday. The Lady Huskies defeated Tennessee's Lady Vols, 70-61, in New Orleans to win their third straight NCAA title. Below, UConn star Diana Taurasi, who was voted most valuable player of the final, leaves the court wearing a traditional victor's spoil: a basketball net. Both UConn teams began the season ranked No. 1.

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