Despite ongoing casualties, the US-led coalition will complete its missions in Iraq and in Afghanistan, President Bush said at a wide-ranging press conference, pledging to "wage the war on terror against every enemy that plots against our people." Bush also insisted that establishment of a Palestinian state by 2005 remains a realistic goal and urged the international community to help to discourage Iran's alleged nuclear- weapons ambitions. Adding that his administration is dedicated to economic security, Bush defended his tax cuts from criticism that they added to the federal deficit and noted that families already are receiving child tax-credit checks.

In a leadership change touted as a fresh start for the Roman Catholic diocese at the center of the clergy sex-abuse scandal, Sean O'Malley was installed as the new Archbishop of Boston. The archdiocese faces more than 500 lawsuits by people who claim they were molested as children by priests, and alleged victims were among the 2,500 guests invited to attend the ceremony at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the city's South End.

California Gov. Gray Davis (D) is expected to sign a $100 billion state budget today, ending weeks of bitterly partisan battles. "It's not pretty, but it could have been a whole lot uglier," Davis said. The state Assembly approved the compromise spending measure late Tuesday after a marathon 29-hour session. The bill is widely criticized for its reliance on borrowing to address a massive $38 billion deficit.

An Illinois Air National Guard pilot facing court martial for the mistaken bombing of Canadian troops in Afghanistan was expected to plead not guilty at an arraignment at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., as the Monitor went to press. Maj. Harry Schmidt faces up to six months in prison if convicted. Four Canadians died in the 2002 bombing.

Citing a hung jury, a Los Angeles judge declared a mistrial for a white police officer accused of assaulting a handcuffed black teen during a videotaped arrest last year. Some black community leaders called for calm, while others angrily denounced the decision. "We have videotape ... but still no justice," said activist Molly Bell.

Three people, one of them a young girl, died and another was critically injured when a tree fell on a car during a severe storm Tuesday in a suburb of Charlotte, N.C. The storms dumped heavy rains from parts of the state and neighboring Virginia to northeastern Arkansas.

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