US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D) of Georgia was not backing down Wednesday from allegations that she was a victim of racial bias, even as a federal prosecutor considered filing assault charges against her. McKinney acknowledged slapping a Capitol security officer last Wednesday after the officer grabbed her as she passed through security. The officer has said he failed to recognize the congresswoman, who had just changed her hairstyle and was not wearing her congressional pin.

Both sides in a Denver transit workers' strike seemed intransigent Wednesday as a worker walkout entered its third day. Union officials and the local transit agency joined informal talks to resolve the impasse. On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Owens refused a request from union leaders to order that the case be put before binding arbitration. Tensions flared most recently after the Regional Transportation District voted to hire an Ohio-based security contractor instead of an in-state firm.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice faced the Senate Foreign Relations and House International Relations Committees on Wednesday to defend President Bush's controversial nuclear energy deal with India. The nuclear pact, signed last month, requires congressional approval to amend US nuclear nonproliferation laws to permit the US sale of nuclear technology and materials to India.

Weather forecasters are predicting another busy hurricane season for 2006. The US is likely to see nine hurricanes, five of which will be "intense," said a team of Colorado State University researchers.

The Bush administration looked set Wednesday to send legislation to Congress that would expand the nuclear waste site planned for Yucca Mountain, Nev. But Senate minority leader Harry Reid said the bill would be "dead when it gets here." The bill would remove current limits on how much nuclear waste the site can take.

Heavy rain and two levee breaks Tuesday near Sacramento left part of California's agricultural heartland inundated with water. Local authorities evacuated two trailer parks - a total of 200 people - and some homeowners near San Francisco left under threat of mudslides. Weather forecasters are predicting two more weeks of heavy rain for the state's Central Valley. Officials reported no injuries.

Television news personality Katie Couric announced Wednesday that she will leave NBC's "Today" morning program for CBS News. She informed viewers of her decision on the 15th anniversary of her first "Today" appearance. Once at CBS, she will become the first solo woman to anchor the evening news.

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