In his weekly radio address, President Bush promised to introduce "greater competition into government" and "flatten bureaucracy." He rolled out a management plan that could shrink the 1.8 million-strong federal civilian workforce through $25,000 employee buyouts, early retirement incentives, and increased competition between the private sector and federal employees. Set to be introduced after Labor Day, the plan also includes a form of merit pay for federal workers. Bush also asked Cabinet secretaries to name chief operating officers to be held accountable for agency performance.

Bridgestone/Firestone agreed to pay $7.5 million to the family of a woman paralyzed in a rollover crash of a Ford Explorer. The settlement was announced after the jury had begun a fourth day of deliberations in the $1 billion federal lawsuit in McAllen, Texas, the first Firestone lawsuit to go to trial. In settling, the tiremaker admitted no liability. The company has settled 200 cases tied to defective tires; 300 others are still pending.

A new federal judge was assigned to the Microsoft anti-trust case, opening what could be the final chapter in one of the most contentious monopoly lawsuits in US history. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly will hear the remainder of the four-year case and determine what penalties will be imposed on the software giant. Kotelly replaces Thomas Penfield Jackson, who was thrown off the case in June when an appeals court ruled he made biased comments. But the court upheld his conclusions that Micro-soft abused its monopoly over computer operating systems.

A retired, decorated Air Force sergeant who worked as a civilian for a company that builds and operates US spy satellites was charged with espionage in the latest in a series of security breakdowns. According to published reports, investigators said Brian Regan may have been spying for Libya. The FBI arrested him as he boarded a flight to Zurich, Switzerland, from Washington. Officials said he was carrying a list of contacts in Europe and a Global Positioning System device, which can be used to locate sites for espionage exchanges.

Roger Clinton, the half-brother of ex-President Bill Clinton, lobbied parole officials for five years to pardon a convicted heroin trafficker who prosecutors say is tied to the Gambino crime family, The New York Times reported. Roger Clinton reportedly told the FBI that Tommy Gambino tried to bribe him and admitted to agents that he accepted some gifts. Gambino did not receive a pardon. Roger Clinton's lobbying efforts are part of a federal investigation into last-minute pardons issued on the last day of his brother's presidency.

Eight Americans, including rhythm-and-blues singer and actress Aaliyah Haughton (above) were killed when a small plane in which they were passengers crashed after taking off from the Abaco islands, Bahamas, bound for Miami. The singer was returning to the US after completing filming of a music video. Aaliyah's song "Try Again" earned a Grammy nomination earlier this year for best female R&B vocalist. Authorities said the twin-engined propeller craft apparently experienced engine failure, although they were still investigating the cause.

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