A daily summary of top stories in the USA.

President Bush expressed his frustrations with congressional Democrats Tuesday during a White House news conference, accusing them of focusing more on "political battles" than "providing the troops what they need." He reiterated his intentions to veto House and Senate funding bills with Iraq withdrawal deadlines. He also said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria sends the wrong signals about the Assad government's place in the international mainstream.

The Homeland Security Department said Monday that it would begin carrying out audits and site inspections this summer at 300 to 400 chemical plants considered most vulnerable to accident or terrorist attack. Any that fail to comply with security regulations will face substantial fines or possible closure. Altogether, roughly 3,500 chemical facilities nationwide are considered vulnerable.

Weather forecasters at Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project predicted Tuesday a "very active" Atlantic hurricane season, starting June 1, with possibly five intense or major hurricanes. Their forecast is based on global oceanic and atmospheric conditions

The production of US passports has reached a record pace, the State Department said Monday of progress in processing a surge in demand caused by tough new immigration laws.

Seeking to protect phone records from intruders, the Federal Communications Commission said Monday that telephone companies will now require customers to provide a password to get their account information. The new rule is meant to guard against the practice of impersonating a phone customer in order to access user records.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took the fundraising lead among Republican presidential candidates Monday, with $23 million in donations reported Monday for the first three months of 2007.

New Mexico lawmakers approved a measure Monday that legalizes the medical use of marijuana for some patients considered seriously ill. It is the fourth state to enact such a law.

Nebraska's 25-year-old ban on corporate ownership or operation of farms was dealt a serious, and possibly fatal, blow Monday after the US Supreme Court refused to review an appellate court finding.

The University of Florida men's basketball team defeated Ohio State Monday night in Atlanta, 84-75, to become the first repeat champion since Duke in 1992 and the first ever to win with the same starting five. Florida also prevailed over Ohio State in January's national championship football game.

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