USA

President Bush pushed Wednesday to resuscitate his plan to subject Guantánamo Bay detainees to special trials, a key policy in his antiterror strategy that was struck down by the Supreme Court. The president has said he wants to close the prison eventually.

In a move to open cultural exchanges with Iran, the Bush administration will invite about 200 young Iranian professionals and foreign language teachers to the US this fall. The administration asked Congress for $5 million to fund the program, which will work through nongovernmental organizations in Iran because the US has no official relations with the country.

Many in Congress are looking to pass 2007 federal pay raises before the October recess. Current plans call for a 2.7 percent raise for civil service employees, but a separate proposal to increase military salaries by 2.2 percent has held up the public servant bill. Law makers seeking reelection in November worry about the perception of giving civilians a higher raise than military personnel during wartime.

NASA postponed the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis early Wednesday after discovering a problem with a fuel cell. The space agency planned to further examine the malfunctioning cell and has rescheduled takeoff for 12:03 p.m. Thursday. The delay puts pressure on NASA to get Atlantis off the ground this week or postpone the 11-day flight to the International Space Station until late October, to avoid interfering with a Russian mission to the station later this month.

Wages rose at an annual rate of 4.9 percent in the second quarter, up from the initial 4.2 percent estimate – good news for workers, but the kind of development that leads economists to worry about inflation.

Heavy smoke has slowed firefighters battling a 280-square-mile wildfire Tuesday in western Montana. The fleet of helicopters and airplanes dumping tens of thousands of gallons of water and fire retardant each day was pulled away because of the low visibility. Firefighter Dan Babcox connects fire hoses near Livingston, Mont., to prepare the area against the fire.

President Bush on Tuesday chose Mary Peters, a former federal highway administrator, to succeed Norman Mineta as secretary of transportation.

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