USA

The political career of former Bush aide Claude Allen took an unexpected turn for the worse Saturday, when he was arrested for allegedly defrauding two Washington-area department stores. Until his sudden resignation last month, Allen had served as Bush's top domestic adviser and was the highest-ranking African-American in the West Wing. When he resigned his White House post in mid-February, he said he wanted to spend more time with his young family.

Federal Agriculture officials are investigating the possibility of a third US case of mad cow disease. Tests on a cow carcass came back "inconclusive," so the samples will undergo further tests, which could take as long as a week to process. Agriculture officials said there is no risk for beef consumers, because the cow in question had not yet entered the food chain and most advanced tests come back negative. The investigation could further delay diplomatic efforts to reopen the Japanese and South Korean beef export markets, which have been closed since late 2003.

Sen. Russell Feingold (D) of Wisconsin told viewers of ABC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he will seek to censure President Bush over the domestic wiretapping program. A censure resolution, which has been used once in US history against Andrew Jackson in 1834, would effectively scold the president.

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A Republican straw poll for 2008 presidential nominees put Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist ahead of the pack. Party activists at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, which gathered in Memphis, Tenn., over the weekend, also expressed support for Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Virginia Sen. George Allen.

A proposed ballot initiative on stem cell research is dividing Missouri's Republican Party. The measure is pitting business and medical interests against Christian fundamentalists and right-to-life groups. If it passes, Missouri will become the second state after California to guarantee the controversial research rights in its state constitution. The measure is almost certain to garner enough signatures to appear on the November ballot, analysts say.

Environmental groups are suing the US Interior Department to stop oil and gas drilling in Alaska's North Slope region. Seven plaintiffs, including the National Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, say the department failed to consider drilling's impact on migratory birds.

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