Astronaut Stephen Robinson is scheduled to attempt an unrehearsed and unprecedented repair Wednesday on the shuttle's nose, aimed at preventing any overheating on reentry into Earth's atmosphere. Robinson has called fixing two small protrusions of ceramic-fabric filler a simple but "very delicate" task. The operation requires colleagues inside the International Space Station to maneuver him into position on the shuttle's underbelly using a 58-foot robotic arm. There he'll try to gently pull out the material or snip it off.

President Bush touched on a number of issues Monday in a rare roundtable interview with a group of Texas newspapers. He said he:

• did not ask Supreme Court nominee John Roberts for his views on Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion.

• hopes to work with Congress this fall to pass an immigration- reform bill that would provide for guest workers and greater US-Mexico border security.

• favors presenting the "intelligent design" theory of life in public school teaching along with lessons on evolution. "Intelligent design" posits that a higher power must be responsible for such a complex world.

Slugging first baseman Rafael Palmeiro of the Baltimore Orioles became the highest-profile player disciplined for violating Major League Baseball's new antidoping policy when he was handed a 10-game suspension Monday for a positive test. Palmiero apologized for the "embarrassing situation" but claimed he'd never intentionally used any banned substances. Under oath earlier this year, he told a congressional hearing he had "never used steroids - period." Last month, he became only the fourth player to collect 3,000 career hits and 500 home runs.

Vice President Cheney will lead a US delegation to Saudi Arabia to pay final respects to King Fahd, who died Monday, the White House said.

In a new National Intelligence Estimate, US analysts indicate Iran is about 10 years away, not five, from having the ability to build a nuclear bomb, The Washington Post reported.

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