USA

Any thawing of US-European relations appeared uneven on Day 2 of President Bush's visit to Brussels, where he spoke before European leaders at a news conference. On one hand, he welcomed the decision by 26 NATO countries to help train Iraq's security forces. But on the other hand, he hinted that Congress could impose trade sanctions against European Union members if they lift a 15-year embargo against selling weapons to China. French

President Jacques Chirac, who dined with Bush Monday, wants the EU to lift what he called "the last obstacles" in relations with China. Thursday, Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a Bush administration appeal that challenges the legality of physician-assisted suicides in Oregon, where drugs have been used to voluntarily end 170 lives since 1997. Oregon is the only state to allow the practice. In another case, the high court rejected, without comment, a challenge to its landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion in the famous Roe v. Wade case. The appeal was brought by Norma McCorvey, whose opposition to a ban on abortion in Texas set the constitutional wheels in motion to overrule the ban.

The number of deaths in California so far this week rose to six as the state was hammered with everything from tornadoes to avalanches from a series of storms that have flooded freeways and sent rivers of mud crashing through homes. Although the storm system could move out of the region Wednesday, residents of southern California were still bracing for at least another inch of rain. In downtown Los Angeles, 31.40 inches of rain have fallen since July 1, the fifth wettest period on record.

Many parents assume a laissez faire attitude toward teen drug use, results of a new study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America showed. Among its findings: Barely half of the parents surveyed would be upset if their children experimented with marijuana. Today's parents are more likely to have used drugs than in previous generations and see less risk in drug experimentation, it concluded. The number of parents who've never spoken with their children about drugs was 12 percent, double what it was just six years ago.

A 1792 copper penny that belonged to descendants of Oliver Wolcott, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was sold for $437,000 at auction Monday in Beverly Hills, Calif. The penny, the ninth known example of its type, bears the inscription "Parent of Science & Industry: Liberty" and the likeness of a woman's head representing Miss Liberty.

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