USA

President Bush named David Paulison as acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, replacing Michael Brown, who resigned Monday under criticism over FEMA's response to hurricane Katrina. The White House said it hadn't sought Brown's resignation, but he was relieved of his duties at the scene late last week. Paulison is the former chief of Florida's Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department and more recently has led the US Fire Administration. Meanwhile, Bush scheduled an address to the nation Thursday night from Louisiana "about the recovery and the way forward," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

John Roberts Jr., Bush's nominee for chief justice of the US, told Senate questioners that he views Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, as "settled precedent" and dismissed suggestions that his Roman Catholic faith would cause him to try to reverse it if he's confirmed. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee won agreement from Roberts that Congress alone has the power to declare war. Roberts is expected to win confirmation by the full Senate later this month.

Despite an all-time high in imports of crude oil, the trade deficit shrank 2.6 percent in July, the Commerce Department reported. It also said core inflation remained static last month, even in the face of the spike in oil and gasoline prices.

About 2 million people in Los Angeles lost electricity Monday when utility workers mistakenly cut wires that resulted in a power surge. Downtown buildings went dark and elevators and traffic signals stopped operating. In most areas, power was restored within several hours.

While still a world leader in education, the US continues to see other countries make bigger gains, according to a new study by the international Organization for Cooperation, which produces annual rankings. Among industrialized countries, the US is seventh in the share of adults 25 to 34 with college degrees, and ninth among those with at least high school degrees. It was No. 1 in both categories 20 years ago.

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