USA

The White House declined to comment on a journalist's claim that unnamed Pentagon insiders say the Bush administration has stepped up plans for a possible air attack on Iran. The report, written for the April 17 issue of the New Yorker magazine by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, claims the White House is contemplating the bombing of Iran's centrifuge plant in order to defuse its nuclear ambitions and possibly force regime change. The White house did not deny the report but said it remained committed to a diplomatic solution.

The Denver transit system will be fully operational Monday after the board of the Regional Transportation District approved a new labor contract over the weekend. The agreement ends a strike that severely curtailed bus and train service last week. Because of a deal brokered with the help of a federal mediator, union workers will receive a $1.80-an-hour pay raise over three years and more help in paying for healthcare.

The Boeing Co. agreed to pay a $15 million fine, one of the largest to date, for violating the Arms Control Export Act. The fine is the result of equipping 94 commercial jets sold to overseas clients with a gyrochip that has military applications. The chip is embedded in the flight box and is used as a backup means of maintaining an artificial horizon for pilots.

After battling Texas wildfires that burned more than 6,000 acres over the weekend, firefighters anticipated achieving "full containment" by Monday as winds died down. Drought conditions contributed to a spate of fires that have burned more than 400 homes and 1 million acres in the state since Dec. 1.

Displaced New Orleanians watched seven mayoral candidates share their views Saturday on rebuilding the city in a televised forum broadcast to Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as Shreveport and Baton Rouge, La. Incumbent Ray Nagin (D) asked voters if they wanted "to experiment" at this critical point by voting for his rivals in the April 22 primary.

Antiwar hecklers disrupted a speech by US Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) of New York at a Brown University forum on women's leadership Saturday in Providence, R.I. The protesters said they targeted Clinton, a possible presidential candidate, because she voted to authorize the US invasion of Iraq and then for war-funding measures.

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