USA

President Bush makes the first public appearance of his eight- day Asian tour Wednesday in Kyoto, Japan. After touring the Golden Temple and meeting with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Bush is scheduled to give a speech on the power of democracy to buttress the long-term prosperity of nations. A generally warm reception is anticipated during stops in Japan, South Korea, China, and Mongolia. Bush will attend the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Busan, South Korea.

Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito distanced himself Tuesday from his 1985 comments that there was no constitutional right to abortion, telling a senator in private that he had been "an advocate seeking a job." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California said she asked the conservative judge about a document released Monday showing Alito in 1985 telling the Reagan administration he was particularly proud to help argue that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

Police in New York City began testing new bomb-detection sensors Monday for checking the bags and backpacks of subway riders. The portable devices are considered faster and less intrusive than the random searches that began in July after terrorist subway attacks in London. The tests use chemical swabs to check for traces of explosives on the outside of bags and can be completed in about 30 seconds. The New York Civil Liberties Union has sued the city in an attempt to stop bag searches.

Greater Los Angeles is again the nation's smog capital, according to new data compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency. Although the region has reduced the number of smoggy days, it still was cloaked in a polluted haze for more than 2-1/2 months this year. California's San Joaquin Valley, which had overtaken the city as the smog capital in recent years, fell short of the EPA's air-quality standard on 72 days.

Louisville, Ky., once a hub of the tobacco industry, introduced a smoking ban Tuesday that affects thousands of businesses but exempts bars, hotel rooms, and private clubs.

In a major lodging industry merger, Host Marriott Corp. said it will buy 38 properties from Starwood for about $3.8 billion. Starwood owns and operates hotels under the Sheraton, Westin, and St. Regis banners.

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was named the American League's most valuable player for the second time in three years by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Rodriguez, who had a .321 batting average and a league-high 48 home runs, edged Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz in the voting.

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