USA

President Bush urged the Senate "to rise to the occasion" and provide a "fair and civil" review of John Roberts Jr., the federal appeals judge he nominated to the Supreme Court seat vacated by Sandra Day O'Conner. Roberts was paying courtesy calls on leading senators Wednesday in advance of confirmation hearings before the Judiciary Committee, which are expected to begin late next month or in early September. If all goes smoothly, Roberts, who previously served the administrations of Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, could be on the bench when the high court opens its fall term Oct. 3. While Democratic lawmakers praised Roberts's qualifications, his stance on abortion rights, which is not altogether clear, is seen as a possible sticking point.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the US economy should enjoy sustained growth in the coming months after weathering a brief slowdown in the spring. The Fed, he told Congress in the first of two days of testimony, will likely continue to raise interest rates gradually to check inflation.

A study commission added a handful of military bases to those previously identified by the Pentagon for possible closure in a defense restructuring. Naval facilities in Californa and Maine were among the additions to a list of 62 major domestic bases submitted in May by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. The study commission, which is charged with reviewing his list before a final proposal is sent to the president and Congress next month, voted not to include the naval shipyard in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., received a go-ahead from NASA Tuesday to adjust the flight of its Deep Impact spacecraft for a possible mission extension. The craft originally was expected to retire as space junk after it smashed a hole in a comet earlier this month to allow study of the comet's core.

A blistering heat wave was blamed by Phoenix police for a dozen deaths in the city. Temperatures have been above average every day since June 29.

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