The White House asked Congress Monday for an additional $81.9 billion, primarily for funding ongoing military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush said that $77 billion would go to help protect US troops, track down terrorists, and enhance Middle East peace prospects. The request, which Bush wants to be financed through borrowing, is expected to receive approval, but not until lawmakers, and especially Democrats, use the opportunity to raise concerns about the mounting war costs, which would exceed $300 billion if additional funding is counted.

Despite concessions by both sides in the National Hockey League labor dispute, negotiations broke off early Tuesday amid reports that league commissioner Gary Bettman might announce the cancellation of the season today. No games of the 2004-05 season have been played, but hopes rose that some of it could still be salvaged when the players' association agreed to accept a salary cap and the league dropped its demand for a link between revenues and player costs, both of which have been major sticking points.

A federal appeals court in Washington upheld a ruling against two reporters whose continued noncooperation in a CIA-related case could lead to jail time. Time magazine's Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller of The New York Times have refused to divulge their sources in a probe of who in the Bush administration leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame to the news media.

A missile defense system designed to protect the US from a long-range attack failed its second test of the last two months Monday, published reports said. Early indications pointed to a possible malfunction in ground-based equipment for the interceptor's failure to launch from the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific Ocean.

Lester Crawford, who has served as acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration for the past year, was named formally to head the embattled agency by Bush Monday, subject to Senate approval. The FDA has come under fire for several drug safety controversies, and some observers question whether Crawford, a veterinarian, is best qualified for the post.

Before going to trial, six reputed members of the Gambino crime family pleaded guilty in New York Monday to ringing up $650 million in unauthorized charges to callers who dialed so-called free services, such as psychic readings and horoscopes. Sentencing is to follow.

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