USA

The September 11 commission asked Vice President Cheney to provide any evidence that links Al Qaeda to ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, a panel member said Saturday. Cheney told the CNBC cable-TV network there probably were aspects of Iraq's link to terrorists that commission members did not learn in their 14-month investigation. The panel also said it intends to follow up its questioning of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and CIA Director George Tenet. The commission announced last week that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had aided Al Qaeda in the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Federal prosecutors were preparing to seek criminal charges against former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay for urging investors to buy stock in his company while he allegedly knew of its mounting financial troubles, sources familiar with the matter said. The charges would cap a 2-1/2-year investigation into the collapse of the Houston energy trader.

Hundreds of Roman Catholic priests accused of abusing children were moved from country to country, allowing them to start new lives in unsuspecting communities, according to results of a year-long investigation by The Dallas Morning News. It said almost half of more than 200 cases identified involved priests who tried to elude law enforcement. The newspaper said it also found that many of such priests were still relocating after the abuse scandal hit the US church in 2002.

Senate Republicans announced they'll seek a vote to ban same-sex marriage next month, even though they lack the votes to pass such a measure. Democrats protested that the GOP strategy is aimed at dividing voters and forcing their party's leaders to stake out positions on the issue just before their presidential nominating convention in Boston.

Thousands of ex-felons in Florida will be able to vote, serve on juries, and accept employment with state-licensed companies, after having their civil rights restored by Gov. Jeb Bush (R). State officials completed a review of 125,000 cases of felons released from prison between 1992 and 2001 and found 22,000 qualified for automatically restoration. The remaining 103,00 may be able to restore their rights through a hearing process.

The Olympic torch made a 34-mile tour through all five of New York City's boroughs Saturday. Gold-medal-winning long jumper Bob Beamon began the tour, but among the more than 120 other participants were Lauren Manning, a senior vice president of Cantor Fitzgerald Inc., who survived the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; developer Donald Trump; and and rap music star Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.

Residents of Eagleswood Township, N.J., hung red, white, and blue ribbons and held candlelight vigils for former resident Paul Johnson Jr. after learning of his decapitation by Al Qaeda terrorists in Saudi Arabia. Johnson's family remained in seclusion but commended Saudi and US authorities in their failed attempts to save him.

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