President Bush was poised to sign a $388 billion legislative package that covers the spending of every federal agency except the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. At the same time, the administration announced it was giving $20 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority to help it through a financial crisis.

Leadership failures by a series of commanders at the Air Force Academy over the past 10 years were blamed for not dealing effectively with almost 150 reported sexual assaults against female cadets, according Pentagon officials, who shared the conclusion Tuesday in a report by Pentagon Inspector General Joseph Schmitz.

The day after Ohio certified President Bush as the winner in the Nov. 2 election, two third-party candidates for president officially asked for a recount in the state that put him over the top against Democrat John Kerry. The Green and Libertarian parties collected the $113,600 needed to pay for the recount. Kerry's campaign says it supports the recount, only in the interest of full and accurate accounting, not because it expects a different result.

Fingerprinting technology, already used at airports and seaports, will be introduced at busy US-Canadian border crossings by the end of the year and at all land border crossings by the end of 2005, the Department of Homeland Security announced. Most Canadians will not be subjected to the scans because they do not need a visa to enter the US.

Native Americans could be disproportionately exposed to toxic chemicals and unexploded bombs, as compared to non-Indians, a new report published in the American Sociological Review said. The study, which uses Defense Department data on closed military facilities in the Lower 48 states, contends that the expansion of bases in the last century was largely concentrated where tribal reservations are located.

John Young, the longest-serving astronaut in history and who twice flew to the moon and commanded the first space shuttle mission, announced his retirement Wednesday after 42 years at NASA.

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