USA

President Bush faced a tough crowd Thursday as he stepped behind closed doors to ask divided House Republicans to back his push for greater authority to spy on, imprison, and interrogate terrorism suspects. The visit to Capitol Hill capped a week of high-profile administration efforts to rescue bills mired in legal and privacy concerns.

Nine of 10 Americans seeking to buy individual health insurance in the past three years failed, either because the price was too steep or because they were denied coverage due to a current medical problem, a study by the nonprofit research group Commonwealth Fund said Thursday. Nearly 16 percent of Americans were uninsured last year, according to the US Census Bureau. The fastest-growing segment of uninsured was those with jobs.

Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, the witty and flamboyant Democrat who went from homemaker to national political celebrity, died Wednesday night in Austin. The silver-haired, sharp-tongued Richards said she entered politics in the late 1980s to help others – especially women and minorities – who were often ignored by Texas' male-dominated establishment.

New automobiles must have anti-rollover technology by the 2012 model year, which should save thousands of lives annually, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday. A recent study found stability control reduced the risk of single- vehicle rollovers involving SUVs by 80 percent. About 40 percent of new vehicles already have electronic stability controls.

The largest planet ever found orbiting another star is so puffy it would float on water, scientists said Thursday. The newly discovered planet, dubbed HAT-P-1, is both the largest and least dense of the nearly 200 worlds astronomers have found outside our own solar system. Located 450 light-years from Earth, HAT-P-1 is an oddball: While Earth takes a year to orbit the sun, this new planet whips around its star once every 4.5 days.

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