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The Supreme Court, which has declined on several other occasions to involve itself in the case of Terri Schiavo, refused to order that a feeding tube be reinserted to keep her alive in a Pinellas Park, Fla., hospice. The high court's decision, which was issued without comment, appeared to be the ultimate legal setback for Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, in their last-ditch efforts to buy more time for their daughter. The diagnosis that she is in a vegetative state has been questioned by one doctor who saw her three weeks ago, according to The Los Angeles Times. The Schindlers, who have battled their son-in-law, Michael Schiavo, in the case, now have turned to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who holds out hope that a state welfare agency might take custody of the woman. The Florida judge who ordered her feeding tube removed last Friday was expected to rule on the custody issue as the Monitor went to press.

Gasoline prices, which have surged 10 percent in the past month, could rise higher still as the result of Wednesday's huge explosion at a refinery near Houston, analysts said. The plant produces 3 percent of the US gasoline supply. Investigators were searching for the cause of the blast at BP's Texas City plant, which killed at least 14 workers and injured more than 100 others. An undetermined number of the plant's 1,800 workers were unaccounted for. A manager said terrorism "is not a primary focus of our concern." The explosion occurred in a part of the plant used to boost the octane level of refined gasoline but did not disrupt other operations at the refinery, which processes 433,000 barrels of crude a day.

Truck driver Tyrone Williams, a Jamaican who lives in Schenectady, N.Y., faces a possible life sentence in prison after being convicted in Houston of 38 counts of transporting illegal immigrants. He avoided the death penalty, at least temporarily, because jurors could not agree on whether he bore direct responsibility for the deaths of 19 of the 70 people he abandoned in his sweltering tractor-trailer in 2003.

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The Army said about 6,000 soldiers from the Individual Ready Reserve, a seldom-used pool of those who have completed their active-duty service but remain eligible for call-up, will receive mobilization orders to Afghan-istan and Iraq.

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