USA

President Bush announced Wednesday the US, India, Australia, and Japan have formed a coalition to coordinate relief and reconstruction efforts for the Asian region ravaged by a deadly earthquake and tsunamis."We will prevail over this destruction," Bush said from his Texas ranch, in promising a multifaceted response from the US that goes far beyond the $35 million initially pledged. Meanwhile, scientists said the deadly earthquake may have permanently accelerated the Earth's rotation - shortening days by a fraction of a second - and caused the planet to wobble on its axis.

What NASA calls the most reliable rocket fuel tank it's ever produced will begin its journey Friday from a Mississippi assembly plant to the space shuttle launch site on Florida's east coast, the space agency announced Tuesday. The improved design, which addresses the problem of falling debris that caused the destruction of Columbia and the death of seven astronauts in 2003, is considered a major step toward returning astronauts to space.

Six Navy SEALs and the wives of two of them sued The Associated Press in San Diego on Tuesday, saying the news agency endangered the servicemen's lives and invaded their privacy by publishing photos meant only for Navy families with a password. The AP claims the photos, which show an elite group assigned to interrogate "high value" prisoners, were on a public Web site. The AP refused to obscure the faces.

The Pentagon plans sharp cuts in an Air Force program to introduce F/A-22 fighter jets, which cost $258 million apiece, The New York Times reported Wednesday. A budget squeeze brought on by the growing costs of the Iraq war and less emphasis on conventional weapons programs are factors cited in the proposed cuts.

A strong, slow-moving storm, fed by a steady diet of Pacific moisture, brought a third day of rain to California Wednesday, with flood-causing showers expected to continue through the end of the week. On Tuesday, 5.55 inches of rain fell on Los Angeles, the most for any day since 1956.

Actor Jerry Orbach, who died Tuesday in New York, was perhaps best known to modern audiences for playing Detective Lennie Briscoe during 12 seasons of the TV series "Law & Order." The Bronx-born entertainer, however, was also a star of stage and screen. He had begun production on NBC's upcoming spinoff "Law & Order: Trial by Jury," expected out early next year.

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