There's been some progress on the economy "but we've got more to do," President Bush said, opening a forum on the subject at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. The president called on the investment industry to do better at policing itself, even as the government increases penalties for corporate malfeasance to reassure wary investors. The gathering of 250 executives, analysts, union leaders, blue-collar workers, and half the Bush Cabinet came in advance of Wednesday's deadline by the Securities and Exchange Commission for many corporations to certify the accuracy of their financial reports.

In good news for the economy, retail sales rose 1.2 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted $304.28 billion, the Commerce Department reported. The increase was largely driven by new-car sales. Excluding autos, sales were up only 0.2 percent.

A majority of Americans support military action against Iraq, a new poll by ABC News and the Washington Post found. Sixty-nine percent of the more than 1,000 adults surveyed said they were in favor of such action, and 57 percent support an invasion by US ground troops. Respondents were divided as to whether Bush has a clear Iraq policy. Fifty-five percent said "yes" and 42 percent said "no."

Five Salvadoran nationals have been arrested in a multimillion- dollar child-smuggling operation, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) said Monday. The ring allegedly charged parents, many of them illegal immigrants, $5,000 apiece to ferry their children from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to the US via Mexico. The children ranged in age from infants to teenagers, the INS said. It said each case will be reviewed individually to determine whether the child may remain in the US.

Amtrak suspended most of its Acela Express service after inspectors found cracks in the shock absorbers of three high-speed trains. The Acela service for the Northeast corridor has experienced frequent breakdowns since its launch in 2000. The rail passenger system lost $1.1 billion in 2001 and is battling for federal funding.

Saying there has been progress in negotiations with Major League Baseball team owners, the union representing players delayed setting a strike date until at least Friday. "We feel like there's a window of opportunity to get something done," said Atlanta Braves player representative Tom Glavine, after a union meeting in Chicago. Contract talks were to resume Tuesday in New York.

An early-morning explosion Tuesday at a condominium complex killed two people, injured at least five others, and prompted the evacuation of 200 more in West Haven, Conn. Police said it appeared to be a natural gas explosion. In Torrance, Calif., meanwhile, another blast leveled a home that was being readied for termite fumigation and damaged 20 other dwellings. Ten people were treated for minor injuries.

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