President Bush pledged not to overextend US armed forces if he decides to send American troops to join a peacekeeping force in Liberia. Speaking at a news conference in Pretoria, South Africa, Bush said he had given South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki, the assurance that the US will be involved in Liberia in some capacity. In a private meeting, the leaders' primary focus was on initiatives to combat AIDS and to alleviate suffering caused by the disease.

A federal appeals court dealt a setback to Vice President Cheney, refusing to stop a lawsuit delving into his contacts with the energy industry as a task force under his direction was drafting the White House's energy policy. In a 2-1 ruling, the court rejected the government's argument that the suit would be an unconstitutional intrusion on the operations of the executive office of the president. The administration's energy plan favors opening more public lands to oil and gas drilling and proposes a wide range of other steps supported by the industry.

The House approved $369 billion in defense funding for the next fiscal year and a Senate panel advanced a similar measure as Congress moved to give Bush largely what he wanted for the Pentagon. The House passed the measure - that will boost defense spending $4 billion above fiscal 2003's level - in a 399-19 vote.

A commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the US said it's having difficulty obtaining information from the Pentagon and Justice Department. In a six-month progress report, the commission noted that problems of gaining information from the Defense Department were "becoming particularly serious." The FBI got off to a slow start but is trying to remedy the situation. The White House, CIA, Secret Service, and Transportation Security Administration were helpful, the report said.

Organizers of a Republican-led effort to oust California Gov. Gray Davis (D) declared Tuesday they have 1.4 million signatures - more than enough to force a recall vote this fall. Once the signatures are verified by county election officials and the secretary of state, an election can be called within 60 to 80 days.

An elementary school vice principal handed himself over to North Carolina police after being named a suspect in the murders of his estranged wife, her mother, and three children. A national manhunt for Vincent Brothers was launched after the slain family was found in their Bakersfield, Calif., home.

Law enforcement officials were trying to determine the motive behind a shooting rampage Tuesday at a Lockheed Martin plant in Meridian, Miss., that left six people, including the gunman, dead and eight others wounded. Coworkers said the gunman had a reputation as a racist and had run-ins with management and other employees. At a candlelight vigil, city leaders and clergy vowed the incident would not divide their community.

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