USA

Both presidential candidates were scheduled to return to heavy-duty campaigning Thursday following Wednesday's third and final debate in Tempe, Ariz. President Bush plans to attend rallies in Las Vegas and Reno, Nev., as well as in Oregon. Democratic challenger John Kerry will speak at the AARP convention in Las Vegas before joining running-mate John Edwards at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. Friday, both Bush and Kerry will court voters in Wisconsin.

With limits on Chinese imports set to end Jan. 1, 2005, US textile and clothing manufacturers petitioned the Bush administration Tuesday to protect them against a surge of products. Thousands of jobs are at stake, industry representatives assert. The petition calls for the White House to impose limits of 7.5 percent on the growth of Chinese imports in 10 categories, among them cotton trousers, shirts, and underwear. The lifting of quotas ends a 10-year phase-out agreement with the World Trade Organization.

Retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who oversaw combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Tuesday that Iraqi soldiers should have been hired quickly to help restore order after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. In campaigning for President Bush in Niceville, Fla., Franks faulted not the administration, but the "bureaucratic behavior" of Congress and US allies for not appropriating money to put Iraqi troops back to work.

Molten rock oozed from the volcanic crater of Mount St. Helens in Washington State Tuesday to form a new lava dome. The last dome-building activity at the 8,364-foot mountain began months after its deadly 1980 eruption and lasted six years. Scientists believe there is only a 10 percent chance of a major eruption this time, however.

Despite improving student test scores, more than 1,200 California public schools are in jeopardy this year of failing to meet rigid performance targets established by the federal No Child Left Behind law, The Los Angeles Times reported. Based on a computer analysis, as many as 3,500 schools could face sanctions by 2008 for insufficient progress in boosting English and math scores. Principals could be replaced or outside managers brought in to run failing schools, the report said.

The Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection division said Tuesday it has filed its first lawsuit aimed at preventing the use of spyware, software that tracks and disrupts the activities of Internet users. Mean-while, the Federal Communications Commission said it will fine 169 Fox Broadcasting stations a total of $1.18 million for violating indecency rules by airing a "Married in America" program in 2003 that included sexually suggestive and explicit scenes.

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