USA

While Democrats have indicated they won't give Supreme Court nominee John Roberts a "free pass," they were not talking Thursday of filibustering a vote during his Senate confirmation hearings later this summer. Nor had a leading Democrat in Congress called for outright rejection of Roberts, a known conservative. Still, battle lines were firming up between public interest groups, with abortion rights activists staging protests against the nomination, while the conservative Progress for America purchased time on TV and radio to support Roberts. Meanwhile, on a fishing trip in Idaho, the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor, whom Roberts would replace, told the Baltimore Sun: "He's good in every way, except he's not a woman."

Despite not totally resolving a fuel gauge malfunction that stalled the original launch plans last week, NASA said it will press ahead and reschedule liftoff of the Discovery space shuttle for next Tuesday. Doing so means making an exception to traditional launch rules, but mission managers say that multiple safety measures are in place and that they are prepared to scrub the launch again if uncertainties arise.

A man suspected of trying to assassinate President Bush in May with a grenade while he was visiting Tbilisi, Georgia, confessed after being captured in a shootout Wednesday. Vladimir Arutiniani reportedly made his confession to hospital doctors. The grenade landed about 100 feet from Bush and did not explode. No motive has been established.

More than 3,400 airspace violations, mostly in the heavily traveled East, have occurred across the US since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, shared at a congressional hearing Thursday. Most involved private planes flying over military bases or other sensitive facilities while trying to avoid bad weather. The report cites a need for better coordination by federal agencies that monitor off-course flights.

In the leadup to next week's AFL-CIO convention in Chicago, Teamsters Union members authorized their leaders to decide whether to bolt the labor federation over policy differences. The Teamsters, along with unions representing food-service, hotel, laundry, and other workers, are pushing for reforms, including rebates on dues for individual unions to use in recruiting new members.

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