USA

President Bush is scheduled to press his case for staying the course in Iraq with a speech Monday to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Salt Lake City. He is to take the same message to a meeting with members of the Idaho National Guard Wednesday. With opinion polls showing a growing discontent over the democratization effort in Iraq, and with antiwar protesters at his heels, Bush said in his weekly radio address: "Our troops know that they're fighting in Iraq, Afghan-istan, and elsewhere to protect fellow Americans from a savage enemy.... and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war." The Army's top general said Saturday that well over 100,000 US soldiers may need to stay in Iraq for up to four more years.

Perched atop a modified jumbo jet, the 100-ton Discovery returned home to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Cana-veral, Fla. - the final leg of the first US shuttle mission in 2-1/2 years. Discovery was rerouted to land at Edwards Air Force Base in California Aug. 9 after 14 days in space because of bad weather in Florida. Its trip back across the US was delayed on a refueling stop at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Saturday for the same reason.

Dennis Rader, the notorious BTK (for "bind, torture, kill") serial killer, began serving 10 consecutive life sentences in the maximum-security El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas Friday. The sentences - one for each of the people he confessed to having murdered - were the maximum possible under state law. At the time of his crimes, Kansas had no death penalty. Rader did not confess to other unsolved murders in the state, but authorities say they "couldn't shut him up" as he was being interrogated and if he were guilty of "any additional, he would have told us."

The Kansas City Royals finally ended the longest losing streak in Major League Baseball in 17 years, defeating the Oakland A's 2-1 Saturday night. The Royals, who are in last place in the American League's Central Division, had dropped 19 straight games, a franchise record and two short of the league mark.

Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D) was reported to be resting comfortably Sunday with family and friends in Nevada after what his doctors diagnosed as a "mini-stroke." Aides said he expects to resume a normal schedule after Congress returns from its summer recess Sept. 6.

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