USA

President Bush's 2006 budget proposal, the most austere in years, was eliciting still more reaction Tuesday. While some Republicans in Congress called for enforcing more fiscal responsibility, their more liberal colleagues joined Democrats in decrying plans to give nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments less money in the $2.57 trillion spending plan than they currently receive. Meanwhile, the White House estimated it will cost roughly $754 billion over the next 10 years to set up the type of private Social Security accounts that Bush advocates. But a spokesman played down the impact these accounts would have on future budget deficits or on economic prosperity.

Defrocked Roman Catholic priest Paul Shanley, a central figure in the sex scandal that rocked the Boston Archdiocese three years ago, was convicted Monday of four counts of raping and assaulting a boy from his parish in the 1980s. He could be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The trial hinged on the reliability of what Shanley's accuser claimed were recovered memories of long-ago abuse. The defense called just one witness, a psychologist who testified that recovered memories can be false. The prosecution argued that the accuser already had received a half-million-dollar settlement and had no financial motivation.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid called on Bush Monday to repudiate what he considers a personal attack on him by the Republican National Committee. The RNC has distributed to roughly 1 million donors, party activists, and journalists a "research document" that paints Reid as an obstructionist to Bush's second-term legislative agenda. Last week, Reid provided half of the Democratic response to Bush's State of the Union address.

In a closed federal court hearing in Honolulu, the son of late Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos said his family lacks the assets to pay off the judgment in a class-action suit brought by alleged victims of his father's regime. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., on a goodwill tour to Hawaii, where his father relocated in 1986 after losing power in a popular uprising, said the Manila government is responsible for paying 9,000 plaintiffs, whose unpaid judgment has grown to $3.7 billion.

Erik Kyriacou of North Babylon, N.Y., pleaded guilty Monday to ignoring a federal embargo on exports to Iran by trying to sell night-vision lenses to an undercover agent. A former part-time NBC News employee, Kyriacou admitted to stealing the lenses from a network storeroom.

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