USA

A serious division cast a large shadow over the AFL-CIO's annual convention, which opened Monday in Chicago. The Service Employees International Union was poised to quit the organization, with the Teamsters and two other unions ready to follow suit. The unions, which account for nearly one-third of the AFL-CIO's 13 million members, already had decided to boycott the meeting over differences about how to revive the lethargic labor movement. The other unions on the verge of disaffiliating are the United Food and Commercial Workers and UNITE HERE, which represents textile-industry and hotel workers. In all, seven unions make up a Change to Win Coalition.

Excessive heat warnings were in effect from Nebraska to Washington, D.C., after triple-digit temperatures baked much of the Midwest. The thermometer climbed to 104 degrees F. in Chicago Sunday, the second- highest reading in city history. That led city officials to implement an emergency response plan refined during a 1995 heat wave, when 700 people died. It uses an automated calling system to contact elderly residents. In Phoenix, a weeks-long run of near-record temperatures abated somewhat after 21 people, mostly homeless, died because of the heat, according to metropolitan authorities.

The sale of existing homes shot up 2.7 percent in June to a record median price of $219,000, a gain of 14.7 percent from last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's the biggest one-year jump in prices since November 1980.

Army Cpl. Dustin Berg, an Indiana National Guardsman who was accused of murdering an Iraqi police officer, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of negligent homocide Monday during his court-martial in Fort Knox, Ky. Berg said he had "misread the situation" and "shouldn't have automatically considered [the Iraqi] a threat."

Haroon Rashid Aswat, the key suspect in the July 7 London transit bombings, was sought by US authorities for trying to establish a terrorist training camp three years ago on the West Coast, The Los Angeles Times reported. Federal investigators, however, were unable to locate Aswat, a British Muslim of Indian descent.

A bomb scare briefly disrupted service Sunday at New York's Penn Station, the nation's busiest commuter rail terminal, when a man allegedly threw a backpack at an Amtrak agent and said it was a bomb. He was arrested and could face up to seven years in prison.

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