The horrific scenes of murder and mutilation of four US contractors in Iraq Wednesday will not cause the US to retreat from postwar reconstruction efforts, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "We will not be intimidated," he said, adding, Democracy is taking root, and there's no turning back."
With gasoline prices soaring, White House officials urged Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, which opposed OPEC latest production cuts, to try to reverse the consortium's decision. The cuts, scheduled to begin Thursday, are virtually certain to drive prices higher. Meanwhile, Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) said Wednesday he will open up the leasing of the state's waters to spur oil development. He cited frustrations with environmental gridlock over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
President Bush signed into law a bill expanding the legal rights of the unborn that took five years to get through Congress. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act makes it a crime to harm a fetus during an assault on a pregnant woman.
A different kind of "friendly fire" - sexual assault by US servicemen against their female comrades - leads to damaged lives, victims' advocates told the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues Wednesday. Almost 130 such cases have been reported in the Iraqi-Afghan theater, but only 27 have been shared with military officials, they said.
University of Wisconsin student Audrey Seiler, missing for four days, was found safe in a marsh near campus. She was treated at a hospital and released, but the person who abducted her at knifepoint remained at large.
Martha Stewart's attorney called for a retrial of his celebrity client Wednesday on grounds that one of the jurors who convicted her had been untruthful about his past. In papers filed in federal court, Robert Morvillo said if he had known that juror Chappell Hartridge had been arrested for assault in 1997, he'd have sought to disqualify him from the jury pool. Stewart, who was found guilty in a stock-trading coverup, is to be sentenced June 17.
The Navy agreed to transfer 936 acres of undeveloped land to the city of San Francisco Wednesday. The deal calls for 443 acres of the polluted Hunters Point Naval Shipyard to be cleaned so that housing units and 300,000 square feet of commericial space can be developed there.