USA

Day Two of the Democratic National Convention in Boston focused Tuesday on what John Kerry's presidential campaign describes as his lifetime of service - from volunteer combat duty in Vietnam to more than two decades in political office. His wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, was scheduled to address the convention about priority issues for her, including the environment and health care. On Monday Hillary and Bill Clinton endorsed the Kerry-John Edwards ticket. Sen. Clinton of New York called Kerry "a serious man for a serious job," and former President Clinton said Kerry "will rally the world to our side." Kerry, who will campaign in Philadelphia before accepting his party's nomination Thursday, called for the Sept. 11 commission Monday to keep working beyond its Aug. 26 end date to ensure that its recommended reforms are realized.

Ending a 26-day impasse with California lawmakers, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said Monday he had agreed on an estimated $103 billion budget. Schwarzenegger called the plan, which is expected to receive the legislature's approval later this week, fair even though it contains few of the cuts he wanted. Republicans point out the budget imposes no new taxes and may bring future savings through changes in the way the state does business.

Sales of existing US homes set a record for the second straight month, said CBS Marketwatch Monday, citing figures from the National Association of Realtors. Sales rose 2.1 percent to 6.95 million units on a seasonally adjusted basis. The surge, industry officials believe, is fueled by buyers trying to beat a rise in mortgage rates. Meanwhile, new home sales slipped. 0.8 percent in June, a smaller decline than expected.

A United Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles from Australia was forced to return to Sydney Tuesday after a note was found in a lavatory suggesting a bomb might be on board. A search of the plane failed to turn up any explosives.

New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authorty system is considering selling naming rights to subway stations, bus lines, and bridges as an alternative to raising fares in order to close a projected $1 billion budget gap, The New York Times reported in Tuesday's editions.

Harry B. Ellis, a former foreign correspondent and economics writer whose Monitor career spanned four decades, died last week in Chatham, Mass. Mr. Ellis was hired as a news clerk in 1947. By 1951 he was assigned to Beirut as the Monitor's first resident correspondent in the Arab world. He later was posted in Paris and Bonn and in 1972 became a business and finance writer in the Washington bureau, where he was a regular on the "Washington Week in Review" TV program.

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