USA

President Bush chose Environmental Protection Agency chief Michael Leavitt to be secretary of Health and Human Services, one of the last two openings in his second-term Cabinet. Leavitt, Utah's governor before joining the administration in late 2003, would succeed Tommy Thompson, who resigned. Bush also has to name a new head of the Homeland Security Department to take the place of Bernard Kerik, who withdrew his nomination late last week.

The Supreme Court placed restrictions on companies that want to clean up their polluted properties but sue former owners to share the costs. The justices ruled 7-2 against a Texas company that went to court to recover some of the $5 million it spent cleaning up pollution at a former aircraft maintenance site. The court left open the possibility that such lawsuits are permitted under clauses in the Superfund law, however.

Although Hispanics make up almost 14 percent of the US population, they're mostly ignored in national newscasts, results of a new study by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists showed. It found only 131 of 16,000 stories carried on nightly newscasts by ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN last year concerned Hispanics.

A salvage team, lowered by helicopter, managed to make a partial assessment of fuel lost from the 738-foot Selendang Ayu freighter, which split in half last week off Alaska's coast. The team found one hold, with about 40,000 gallons of heavy bunker oil, was breached, and another hold was leaking.

John Kerry has asked county elections officials in Ohio to allow witnesses to inspect 92,000 ballots cast in the state Nov. 2 on which no vote for president was recorded, his lawyer said.

The University of Notre Dame signed Charlie Weis, an assistant coach with the NFL's New England Patriots, to head its high-profile football program. Tyrone Willingham, who was fired by Notre Dame Nov. 30, found a new job Sunday at the University of Washington.

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