A number of previously unreported investigations into possible mistreatment of Iraqi and Afghan detainees and civilians in US custody point to a broader scope of misconduct than acknowledged, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The Army has opened at least 91 cases over the past year and a half - involving deaths, assaults, and stolen property - the majority of which took place outside detention facilities. The assault cases have resulted in 14 courts-martial and seven nonjudicial punishments, says an unnamed senior Army official. The policy on the handling of detainees is under review.

In the first major test of the new Medicare law, older Americans began using drug-discount cards Tuesday, though few are signing up for the cards. The Bush administration has predicted that about one-sixth of Medicare beneficiaries will participate. If the program fails to cut retail drug prices, there could be a public backlash.

After being pummeled by violent weather over the holiday weekend, the Midwest and South struggle to rebuild amid power outages, flooding, closed roads, and widespread damage. The South saw more thunderstorms on Tuesday, while two possible tornadoes were detected in Texas. A twister with winds up to 170 m.p.h. leveled Marengo, Ind. The severe series of storms took 10 lives as of press time.

Three high-profile trials are entering critical phases. The Laci Peterson murder trial, which started Tuesday, lacks direct evidence linking Scott Peterson to his wife's death, legal experts say. The case may not be as straightforward as expected. Tuesday was also the start to the penalty phase in the trial of Terry Nichols, the Oklahoma City bombing conspirator who was found guilty last Wednesday. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. In South Carolina, an escaped convict who killed a former New Hampshire woman could receive the state's first federal death sentence. The penalty phase began Tuesday.

President Bush is scheduled to leave for summit talks in Europe on Friday, with anti-US demonstrations expected. Tight security is being implemented by his hosts. Antiaircraft guns will be placed around five-star hotels in Istanbul, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Exceeding economists' expectations, construction spending set a record in April and manufacturing activity increased in May - good signs for the summer economy. The construction high reached an annual rate of $970.4 billion, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The manufacturing index is 62.8, says the Institute for Supply Management, with anything above 50 indicating expansion.

Heavy smoke and ash from a Florida wildfire (below) forced Florida Gulf Coast University to cancel classes Tuesday. Firefighters struggled to contain several blazes across the state, including a 3,000-acre fire.

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