The counterterrorism war, the Middle East, and possibly Iraq, were among the issues President Bush and Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US were likely to discuss at the Bush ranch in Texas, the White House said. Earlier, Bush phoned Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, reportedly to reassure him of the strong bond between their countries. Relations have shown strains since an analyst reportedly advised a Pentagon briefing that the oil-rich kingdom be considered an adversary. Saudi leaders also oppose US military action against Iraq. Vice President Cheney warned Monday that Saddam Hussein would obtain nuclear weapons "fairly soon" and posed a direct threat to the US and its allies.

Closed-door deportation hearings violate the constitutional rights of suspects detained in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled Monday. The Justice Department, which maintains that such hearings are needed to protect national security, is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court. The case in question involves Rabih Haddad, a Lebanese national and founder of the Global Relief Foundation. Federal authorities allege the Islamic charity has terrorist links, which the foundation denies.

New data sent mixed signals on the economic recovery. Consumer confidence fell in August for a third straight month to its lowest level since November, the Conference Board research group reported. However, orders for durable goods jumped 8.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted $179.7 billion, the Commerce Department said. That rise is the largest since October.

WorldCom's former controller ordered a colleague to stop questioning the company's accounting practices with auditor Arthur Andersen, e-mails show. David Myers told a fellow employee: "Do not have any more meetings with AA for any reason." The messages were released Monday by the House Financial Services Committee, which is investigating the bankrupt telecommunications giant. In a related development, Citigroup confirmed to the House panel that its Salomon Smith Barney subsidiary allotted thousands of shares in initial public offerings to WorldCom executives, who were among the investment bank's most preferred clients.

After serving 17 years for a rape and murder he did not commit, Eddie Joe Lloyd was freed from a Michigan prison Monday. A judge in Detroit overturned his conviction. Lloyd was in a mental institution when he confessed to the 1984 crime, but the results of recent DNA testing showed he wasn't responsible.

Prosecutors in Oregon City, Ore., said they will seek an indictment of Ward Weaver in the deaths of two girls. Human remains found on Weaver's property were identified as those of Miranda Gaddis and Ashley Pond. Weaver is in jail on an unrelated rape charge.

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