USA

The House and Senate were expected to take up last-minute compromise legislation Sunday or early Monday in the battle over Terri Schiavo's life. The woman, whose doctors say she is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery, had her feeding tube removed by court order Friday, cutting off her supply of food and water. Congressional leaders from both parties hoped an agreement reached on a bill would allow the tube to be restored while federal courts review her case. Michael Schiavo has long insisted his wife never wanted her life prolonged in such a condition. But her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, continue their campaign to keep her alive. President Bush, who had been spending the weekend at his Texas ranch, was returning to the White House Sunday to be available to sign the emergency legislation.

John Evander Couey, a registered sex offender who confessed Friday to kidnapping and killing nine-year-old Jessica Marie Lunsford, appeared in a Lecanto, Fla., court Sunday on a probation violation. The proceeding was meant to hold him legally until he can be charged in the death of the girl, who'd been missing for three weeks. On Saturday, information provided by the suspect led authorities to the body of the missing child in Homosassa, Fla., where she lived and he had been staying with a sister.

A six-year-old industrial pollution case was resolved late last week when FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron, Ohio, agreed to pay $1 billion in fines and cleanup costs in the second-largest federal settlement with an electric utility. The Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut charged FirstEnergy's W.H. Hammis plant north of Steubenville with violations of the Clean Air Act that caused smog across the Northeast.

Struggling to pay for new school buildings and renovate old ones for a surging student population, the nation's public schools fell $250 billion in debt during the 2002-03 school year, the Census Bureau reported late last week. That's an 11 percent increase from the previous year and brought the average per-student expenditure to $8,019, up about $400.

Antiwar protests on the second anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq drew relatively light turnouts in New York and other American cities Saturday. About 27 of 350 protesters in New York were arrested when they lay down on Broadway next to flag-draped, cardboard coffins.

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