USA

The Pentagon confirmed reports from South Korean officials Sunday that the US is considering redeploying 4,000 troops from their country to Iraq, where finding seasoned units to rotate in is a growing challenge. The possible reassignment would be consistent with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's push for greater flexibility in positioning troops anywhere in the world, but is politically sensitive because the 37,000 US troops stationed in South Korea are on a perpetual war footing, given potential hostilities with North Korea.

Secretary of State Powell said that despite multiple sources for prewar intelligence, the CIA was wrong in concluding that Saddam Hussein was using mobile labs in Iraq to pursue weapons of mass destruction. Speaking on NBC and Fox News programs Sunday, he also said that there were high-level discussions within the Bush administration last fall about Red Cross allegations of inmate abuse at the US-run Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

Same-sex partners began a rush to marry Monday in Massachusetts as it became the first state to issue licenses legally. In Cambridge, which opened City Hall at midnight Sunday, 260 couples who'd been waiting outside were greeted with a giant wedding cake. A court action waiving a required three-day waiting period paved the way for wedding ceremonies to begin by midday.

As many as 90 percent of civilian full-time employees in some federal agencies receive bonuses, according to The Washington Post, which published results Sunday from its own comprehensive study of federal records. The report said 1.6 million federal workers (or 62 percent) received merit bonuses or special time-off awards in fiscal 2002.

Spending on behavioral drugs for children has risen dramatically, according to results of a new study by Medco Health Solutions, the nation's largest prescription benefits manager. Between 2000 and 2003, it said, spending on psychiatric drugs went from $3.6 million to $6.4 million among 300,000 youths aged 19 and under whose prescriptions were reviewed. But it also found that antibiotics are still the most often used drugs.

For the first time, immigrants from the Dominican Republic living in US cities helped to determine the outcome of their country's presidential election Sunday. About 52,000 were registered, elections officials said.

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