USA

President Bush flies to Riga, Latvia, Thursday, the first stop on a trip to Russia for next week's Red Square parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Analysts said they think Bush is walking a political tightrope in bracketing a Moscow visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin between stops in the ex-Soviet republics of Latvia and Georgia.

The Federal Reserve ratcheted up interest rates another notch Tuesday. The central bank's Open Market Committee raised the federal funds rate by one quarter of a percentage, to 3 percent.

Terry Nichols, the convicted co-conspirator in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, for the first time has said a third man was involved, The Los Angeles Times reported. In a letter from prison to a woman who lost two grandchildren in the bombing, Nichols wrote that Arkansas gun collector Roger Moore was involved in providing explosives used by bomber Timothy McVeigh. Attempts to reach Moore, who has denied any connection to the plot, were unsuccessful, the Times said.

Former four-term US Rep. Nick Lampson (D) of Texas was expected to formally announce that he'll run against House majority leader Tom DeLay (R) in the 2006 midterm election, The Washington Post reported. Lampson lost his seat after DeLay helped to engineer a redistricting plan in 2003. Lampson, a former Beaumont schoolteacher, will move into DeLay's suburban Houston district, according to the Post.

Fallout from the case of runaway bride-to-be Jennifer Wilbanks took a new turn as Hispanics Across America, an advocacy group, demanded an apology for her phony story about being abducted by a Hispanic man and a white woman. The group said it would "not stand for any racial stereotyping of Hispanics as criminals and thugs." Wilbanks fled Duluth, Ga., by bus after she had second thoughts leading up to her wedding day. Her disappearance led to a large-scale search.

The new essay portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was under fire from an organization representing 60,000 English educators. A report by the National Council of Teachers of English said the essay section, which is meant to broaden the scope of the standardized test, has the potential to undermine efforts to improve student writing. The College Board, which owns the test, called the report "elitist" and "condescending."

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