USA

The White House asserted executive privilege Thursday in refusing to turn over documents subpoenaed by Congress that could shed light on the firings of federal prosecutors. Thursday was the deadline for handing over material from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor, neither of whom will testify before Congress, the White House said. The stalemate could lead to a court battle.

The Supreme Court overturned by a 5-to-4 margin Thursday a 1911 ruling that price-setting agreements between manufacturers and retailers are automatically illegal under antitrust law. Business groups urged taking a case-by-case approach.

Campaign managers for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he's continued his strong fundraising efforts during the second quarter, with roughly 138,000 new donors joining the 104,000 that opened their wallets for the Illinois freshman senator during the year's first three months.

The House easily approved a bill Wednesday that would hike spending for national parks, the Environmental Protection Agency, and global warming research by 4.3 percent. Republican opponents said the amount is excessive. If the measure clears the Senate, the White House said President Bush would likely veto it.

Almost 18 inches of rain fell on Marble Falls, Texas, Wednesday, as downpours that have claimed 11 lives in the state during the past week and a half continued to challenge rescuers. Helicopters involved in airlifting people from rooftops had to be grounded at one point because of the heavy rains and treacherous winds. Still, officials reported rescuing 32 people.

The Treasury Department has begun a study of regulatory overlap in the financial services sector with an eye to making recommendations on efficiencies early next year, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday.

Fashion designer Liz Claiborne, who died Tuesday in New York, was known for creating stylish but affordable clothes for a new generation of working women. Her company, which introduced a line of coordinated ensembles in 1976, was the first founded by a woman in the Fortune 500.

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