USA

President Bush stood poised Monday to send a proposal to Congress that would allow line-item vetoes. Reform-minded Republicans helped to pass such a measure when President Clinton was in office in 1996, but the Supreme Court overturned it two years later as unconstitutional. Bush has never vetoed a spending bill, but with line-item powers he could cancel specific spending items.

Opening arguments in the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty in April of conspiring with Al Qaeda but denies a direct link to the 9/11 attacks, were set to begin Monday in Alexandria Va. Jurors must decide whether the French citizen, who says he was training for a possible future terrorist attack, will be given the death penalty or life in prison.

Andrew Fastow, the former chief financial officer of Enron Corp., could break his silence and take the stand as early as Tuesday as a prosecution witness in the Houston fraud and conspiracy trial of his former bosses, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. Two years ago, Fastow, who claims to have been made the scapegoat in the company's collapse, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy. His testimony is potentially pivotal in the trial, which is in its sixth week, and could be a factor in whether Fastow faces 96 other criminal charges.

The Supreme Court refused Monday to side with Brian Collier, an Ohio father who had gone to jail to fight the visitation rights of his daughter's maternal grandparents. The couple had raised the girl until she was 5 after the mother, who never married Collier, died in 1999.

Treasury Secretary John Snow notified Congress on Monday that the administration has now taken "all prudent and legal actions," including tapping certain government retirement funds, to keep from hitting the $8.2 trillion national debt limit. Snow urged lawmakers to pass a new debt ceiling immediately to avoid the nation's first-ever default on its obligations. Treasury officials, briefing congressional aides last week, said that the government will run out of maneuvering room to keep from exceeding the current limit during the week of March 20.

In a major upset, "Crash," the story of racial and cultural tensions during a 36-hour period in Los Angeles, won the Oscar for "best picture" at Sunday's Academy Awards. "Brokeback Mountain," a cowboy romance, had been considered the clear favorite. Philip Seymour Hoffman was selected best actor for his portrayal of author Truman Capote in "Capote," and Reese Witherspoon was named best actress for her role as country singer June Carter Cash in "Walk the Line."

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