USA

A state jury rejected arguments that Terry Nichols was a "fall guy" in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing and found him guilty of 161 counts of murder. The verdict, returned in just five hours, leads to a sentencing phase that is expected to begin Tuesday and could last three weeks. Proscecutors are seeking the death penalty for Nichols, who has been serving a life sentence since 1997 for his federal conviction in the deaths of eight law-enforcement officers at the site. Nichols did not testify during the two-month trial in McAlester, Okla., in which he was found to share responsibility for the attack with Timothy McVeigh, who was executed three years ago. Above, Nichols is shown leaving the courthouse after his conviction.

John Kerry announced that he'll formally accept the presidential nomination of his party at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, his hometown, rather than delay it for strategic reasons. Kerry had floated the idea of waiting to allow more time to raise and spend his own campaign funds. Once he accepts the nomination he may use only a $75 million federal campaign allowance at the same time as President Bush, who will be rubber-stamped as the Republican candidate five weeks later. In a scheduled speech in Seattle Thursday, Kerry was to begin laying out his plans on national security. Bush, meanwhile, headed to Nashville, Tenn., to discuss such issues as healthcare and technology. (Story, page 1.)

Federal law-enforcement officials asked for the public's help Wednesday in locating seven alleged Al Qaeda operatives who may be in the US preparing for a major terrorist attack. Attorney General Ashcroft showed pictures of the suspects and labeled them a "clear and present danger." In addition, he and FBI Director Robert Mueller announced a new task force to focus on the threat.

Oregon's right-to-die law withstood a challenge from Ashcroft Wednesday, when the 9th US Circuit of Appeals in San Francisco upheld it in a 2-1 ruling. It was the second time the nation's only state provision for physician-assisted suicide survived a federal challenge. The six-year-old Death With Dignity Act, which has twice been approved by Oregon voters, has allowed 171 people diagnosed as terminally ill to ask their doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs.

Thousands of pages of National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger's transcribed phone conversations during the Nixon presidency were declassified Wednesday. In one passage, Kissinger tells Nixon shortly after a Chilean coup in 1973 that the US helped to create conditions for President Salva-dor Allende's ouster.

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