USA

The Bush administration revised its economic forecast for 2007 downward on Wednesday, projecting that gross domestic product will grow by 2.3 percent rather than 2.9 percent. The main reason for the reassessment: a 0.6 percent growth rate in the first three months, the worst showing in more than four years.

The House passed two resolutions Tuesday designed to expedite an ethics investigation of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D) of Louisiana. Depending on the findings, the nine-term congressman, who was charged Monday with corruption-related felonies, could be ousted from Congress before his bribery trial.

Univision, the Spanish-language television network with more viewers than cable channels such as CNN and Fox News, has invited the 2008 presidential candidates to participate in separate on-air party debates in September, according to the Los Angeles Times. The format would involve simultaneous translations for candidates and the audience.

NASA began a countdown Tuesday for its first shuttle launch of the year. The spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 7:38 p.m. EDT Friday with seven astronauts aboard. During their 11-day Atlantis mission, the crew will deliver a third pair of solar wings needed to help power the international space station.

In a party-line vote, the California state Assembly passed a bill Tuesday allowing same-sex marriage, a measure that now goes to the Senate before reaching Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who has vowed to veto it.

Mail-order retailer L.L. Bean has entered into preliminary planning to build a theme-park-style adventure center near its flagship, Freeport, Maine, store, according to media sources. The complex would allow people to try out kayaking, snowshoeing, and other outdoor pursuits.

Amnesty International launched a new website at a conference in Berkeley, Calif., Wednesday that will let computer users view high-resolution satellite images to monitor what's happening in the imperiled villages of Sudan's conflict-riddled Darfur region.

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