USA

President Bush was scheduled to meet with three foreign dignitaries Monday during a full slate of diplomatic visits. Ghazi al-Yawer, Iraq's interim president, was among the guests at the White House. Although al-Yawer's post is more ceremonial that that of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, he's an influential leader in Sunni Muslim regions, where the fiercest battles against insurgents have been waged. His visit is viewed as potentially helpful in persuading Iraqi minority groups to participate in next month's election. Bush also was slated to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II and with Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade.

Although Bush has yet to decide on a successor, he plans to replace John Snow as Treasury secretary, The New York Times reported. Snow took the Treasury helm in early 2003 after Paul O'Neill angrily resigned after breaking with the White House over tax cuts.

Charles Jenkins, who deserted the US Army while serving in South Korea in 1965 and then was given refuge by the North Korean government for almost four decades, leaves an Army base near Tokyo Tuesday as he tries to reestablish a normal life with his family. Earlier this year, Jenkins arranged to surrender to American authorities in Japan. He was sentenced to a month in prison in a plea bargain and was released Nov. 27. He will move to northern Japan to rejoin his wife, a former North Korean abductee.

Southern California and Oklahoma, both 12-0, finished atop college football's final Bowl Championship Series standings Sunday and will meet Jan. 4 in a title game that might not end the argument over who is No. 1. That's because highly ranked and Sugar Bowl-bound Auburn, also 12-0, was left out of the championship game based on poll and computer results. USC and Oklahoma will play in the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Six entertainment legends were feted for their lifelong contributions to American culture at Washington's 27th annual Kennedy Center Honors Sunday. The honored artists: composer and conductor John Williams, soprano Joan Sutherland, actor Warren Beatty, pop/ rock musician Elton John, and husband and wife actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

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