The Bush administration was working on a UN resolution asking for help in Iraq, with Secretary of State Powell meeting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss the issue. "We have said all along that we want the UN to play a vital role," Powell told reporters. He discussed the prospect earlier in the week with foreign ministers Jack Straw of Britain, Joschka Fischer of Germany, Dominique de Villepin of France, and Franco Frattini of Italy, a senior US official said.

A Ten Commandments monument remained inside a Montgomery courthouse, as a federal judge's Thursday morning deadline for its removal passed, and State Supreme Court justices confirmed the order. Though the 5,300-pound granite marker was walled off with plywood early in the day, the wall was removed later in the morning. Several hundred monument supporters rallied at the Alabama Judicial Building; 21 were arrested Wednesday after they refused to leave at closing time.

The California recall will not be slowed by hanging chads, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. Rejecting an American Civil Liberties Union plea to delay the election until March to allow for the replacement of error-prone punch-card voting machines in six counties, the judge ordered the vote to proceed Oct. 7 as scheduled. Leading Republican candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger, outlined his economic plan Wednesday, saying he did not want to raise taxes, but would not rule it out. "It is clear that we can't ever say never," he said.

Increasing the chances of criminal charges against US Rep. Bill Janklow (R) of South Dakota, an accident report released by the state highway patrol Wednesday said the powerful ex-governor was going as fast as 75 mph on a 55 mph country road when his car ran a stop sign and collided with a motorcycle, killing its rider. Randy Scott, who authorities say was not wearing a helmet, died in the crash Saturday night near Brandon, S.D.

West Virginia authorities are investigating whether a Wednesday shooting is related to three recent sniper-style incidents. No one was hit in the reported shooting at a convenience store. The Charleston, W. Va., police chief said investigators have found no physical evidence of gunfire at the scene, but a teenage girl said she believed she had been shot at from a maroon pickup truck similar to one sought in the case. Police are probing possible drug connections in the deaths.

FCC initiatives to ensure broadcasters serve their communities are drawing fire from critics. The Federal Communications Commission should have studied how stations can best serve their local communities before its June decision to loosen media ownership, they argued Wednesday, after FCC chairman Michael Powell announced the new community initiatives.

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