The Bush administration reaffirmed its support for new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the road map to peace following an attack that killed four Israeli soldiers Sunday. "This tragic incident" should not be allowed to "derail" the progress of last week's summit between President Bush and the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers, Secretary of State Powell said on "Fox News Sunday." Abbas, who pledged to halt attacks by militant groups, is likely to face strong resistance and deserves international backing for his efforts, Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told NBC's "Meet the Press."

The US unemployment rate rose to a nine-year high of 6.1 percent last month, the Labor Department reported Friday. The jump increases the likelihood that Federal Reserve policymakers will cut already low interest rates later this month, analysts said. They noted, however, that the 17,000 jobs lost in May were fewer than half the number expected, bolstering perceptions of a slow, but steadily improving, economy.

In an unprecedented decision, New Hampshire Episcopalians chose an open homosexual as their next bishop. The Rev. V. Gene Robinson an assistant to retiring Bishop Douglas Theuner, beat out three other candidates by a large margin in Saturday's vote by clergy and lay church members. The appointment must still be confirmed at a national convention next month, and is expected to be a subject of intense debate.

Cell phone users should be able to keep their numbers when switching providers, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled Friday. An order by the Federal Communications Commission for wireless carriers to implement "number portability" by Nov. 24 is "permissible and reasonable," the three-judge panel said, rejecting a challenge by Verizon Wireless and an industry group. They argued that that will raise costs for consumers while doing little to boost competition. But consumer advocates hailed the decision as a boon for small businesses and the self-employed.

Federal health officials suspect pet prairie dogs may have spread an illness that has affected 19 people in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana since early May. Prairie dogs sold by a Chicago-area pet distributor appear to have monkeypox, James Hughes of the National Centers for Disease Control said Saturday. The ailment is related to smallpox but not as deadly. State health officials in Wisconsin have banned the sale or display of prairie dogs and quarantined several pet stores.

Investigators and recovery crews were combing the wreckage of a Los Angeles apartment building struck by a small plane Friday. At least four people died in the crash and resulting fire, among them the pilot. Seven others were hurt. The plane went down shortly after takeoff from Santa Monica airport.

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