Amid hints a decision on military action to disarm Iraq may come soon, President Bush was meeting with two key allies, Prime Ministers Tony Blair of Britain and José Maria Aznar of Spain. The emergency summit at a US air base on Portugal's Azores islands came after their joint resolution on Iraq stalled before a sharply divided UN Security Council, and in TV appearances, senior administration officials indicated diplomatic efforts may be nearing an end. Vice President Cheney told NBC's "Meet the Press" that Bush will have to make a difficult and important decision "in the next few days."

Thousands of antiwar protesters held a fresh round of marches in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, and other US cities over the weekend, with larger demonstrations in Egypt, Australia, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, and Greece. Separately, "Rally for America," a counterdemonstration in support of US troops, drew several thousand flag-waving attendees to Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta Saturday.

In the event of war, New York police plan to step up street patrols and request flyovers by military combat jets to guard against suicide bombers and other terrorist attacks, published reports said. In addition, the outbreak of conflict could alter popular television broadcasts. CBS reportedly would move some games from the NCAA college basketball tournament to cable channels owned by its parent company, Viacom. ABC said it may interrupt the March 23 Academy Awards ceremony with news updates.

Federal health experts were conducting tests after more than 150 people, including two recent US visitors, were diagnosed with a pneumonia-like illness in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Canada, and Germany. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said the illness appeared to be of natural origin and not bioterrorism.

A late winter storm lashed California with heavy rain and wind, causing more than 800 road accidents and scattered power outages. More than 3.3 inches of rain fell in downtown Los Angeles Saturday, breaking a 50-year record. A 12-member Boy Scout troop was rescued by helicopter after becoming trapped by a swollen creek in the Los Padres National Forest.

After posting a $1.5 million bond, actor Robert Blake was freed from jail Friday in Los Angeles. A judge granted bail while ordering him to stand trial for the murder of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. The star of the 1970s series "Baretta" was arrested last April. Blake maintains he is innocent.

Shots fired into a crowd awaiting a Saint Patrick's Day parade wounded six people in Hartford, Conn., Saturday. Police said gunfire erupted after two women began fighting. A search for an unidentified suspect was under way.

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