USA

As expected, the former fugitive accused of a series of bombings that killed two people and injured more than 100 others across the South pleaded guilty so as to be spared from a possible death sentence. Eric Rudolph began the day in Birmingham, Ala., by admitting to a federal judge that he'd planted a bomb at an abortion clinic in 1998 that killed a police officer and maimed a nurse. Later, in Atlanta, he was to admit guilt for the 1996 Olympic Park bombing, and subsequent blasts at an abortion clinic and a bar popular with lesbians.

The Homeland Security Department arrested 47 illegal immigrants working at "security critical" US facilities last month, the Associated Press reported. Although none appeared to have ties to terrorism, their presence inside risk-sensitive areas at airports and nuclear power complexes exposed lapses in security. Almost all of them had phony or altered driver's licenses and Social Security cards.

The lead attorney for a group of former inmates vowed Tuesday to take their case to the US Supreme Court after a federal appeals court in Atlanta struck down their efforts to vote. The decision upheld a 160-year-old Florida law that enforces a lifetime ban on voting rights for ex-felons. In 14 states, ex-offenders can be disenfranchised for life even if they have fully served their sentences.

President Bush said Iraqi security forces now outnumber American troops in that country. On a visit to Fort Hood, Texas, Tuesday, Bush put the number of Iraqis trained in security at about 150,000, compared to 140,000 US troops. He said the involvement of US and coalition troops is "entering a new phase" in which they're increasingly playing a supporting role.

In a new survey of 100,000 college freshmen, four of five expressed an interest in spirituality and indicated that they had high expectations that their schools would help them develop spiritually. The study was conducted by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute.

While only a first step to possible legalization of feral cat hunting, Wisconsin residents jarred the animal-rights movement Tuesday by voting to list free-roaming cats as an unprotected species. That makes them subject to being shot if not under an owner's control. South Dakota and Minnesota both allow the practice. The state says studies show cats kill millions of songbirds annually.

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