USA

The parents of Terri Schiavo all but gave up their long and bitter legal batter to keep their daughter alive Sunday, as she was reported to be near death. Bob and Mary Schindler asked supporters to attend Easter services with their families but to return and continue their prayer vigil outside the Pinellas Park, Fla., hospice caring for their daughter. Citing concerns about mounting hostility among the protesters, police brought in reinforcements to block the road in front of the facility. Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, claims his wife never wanted to live in a "persistent vegetative state." A failed appeal Saturday to the Florida Supreme Court probably was the last significant legal opportunity to extend her life, an attorney for the parents said. Tube feeding has sustained her for 15 years. A state court first ruled five years ago that she should be allowed to die.

In his first public remarks about the March 21 violence on Minnesota's Red Lake Indian reservation, President Bush Saturday credited a school security guard for saving the lives of students by confronting teenage gunman Jeff Weise, who fatally shot 10 people, including himself as police closed in. Bush's comments in his weekly radio address came after some American Indian leaders complained that he had paid little attention to the rampage during a week in which he signed emergency legislation in Terri Schiavo's case.

Despite the courts-martial recommendation by military investigators, Army officials said they have decided against prosecuting 17 soldiers involved in the deaths of terrorist detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cases are being dropped, the military said, because of insufficient evidence, a lack of information about the rules for using force, or because force was called for in those instances.

Responding to criticism of its handling of terror suspects, the Department of Defense has decided to consider ways to strengthen the rights of defendants, bar confessions obtained by torture, and install more independent judges to lead military tribunals, The New York Times reported. If implemented, the changes would make the tribunals more like military courts-martial.

With overtime victories Saturday, the universities of Louisville and Illinois advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Louisville rallied from 20 points down for a 93-85 win against West Virginia. The Illini overcame a 15-point deficit to beat Arizona 90-89.

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