USA

Production at manufacturing plants across the US rose again in July - although by 0.1 percent, the weakest showing in three months, the Federal Reserve reported. At the same time, the Labor Department said its bellwether Consumer Price Index gained 0.5 percent, its sharpest rise in three months. Economists said, however, that the gain was not yet worrisome because it was driven largely by the price of gasoline. But if fuel costs continue to shoot up, causing consumers to cut back on spending elsewhere, the effect probably would be adverse, they said.

In another key economic report, housing starts fell 0.1 percent last month, the Commerce Department reported. But permits for future single-family homes rose by 1.6 percent to an annual pace that would top 2.16 million units - a high not seen in 32 years.

The Reagan Presidential Library released 5,393 pages of files collected by Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr. when he was on the White House counsel's staff in the 1980s. But the majority were not Roberts' own writings, and an archivist said more than 400 other pages of documents were being withheld as Senate confirmation hearings on the nominee drew nearer. Meanwhile, The Washington Post, citing informed sources, reported that Senate Democrats have decided against a major fight to block confirmation unless there's "an unexpected development" in the coming weeks. The Post also said the Democrats' strategy was causing conservative interest groups to revise downward the money they planned to spend on promoting his confirmation.

A controversial Muslim cleric from Lodi, Calif., agreed Monday to be deported to his native Pakistan. Shabbir Ahmed was charged with overstaying his visa and was believed to be plotting to set up a madrassa, or radical religious school, in the city to train potential terrorists for anti-American attacks. His deportation will be the second in less than a month of a person from Lodi in connection with possible terrorist activity.

A conservative Episcopalian parish won a key court decision Monday that allows it to keep control of its buildings and other assets in a dispute over homosexuality. Orange County, Calif., Superior Court ruled that the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles couldn't require St. James Church of Newport Beach to forfeit its multimillion-dollar property because it had broken with the national church over the latter's decision in 2003 to consecrate an openly homosexual bishop in New Hampshire. The diocese said it would appeal the ruling.

Left-handed Phil Mickelson won the rain-delayed PGA Championship Monday at the Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey, edging runner-ups Steven Elkington and Thomas Bjorn by one stroke. The victory gives Mickelson two titles in his last eight major tournaments after he failed to win any of his first 46.

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