USA news in brief

Compiled from wire service reports by Monitor staff.

Just 27 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, the lowest level in more than a decade, according to a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll. The Democratic Congress is perceived to be governing in a "business as usual" way rather than introducing fundamental change.

President Bush met with resistant Republican senators in the Capitol Tuesday in an attempt to salvage one of his top domestic priorities: a bill on immigration reform. Senate Democratic leaders have urged Bush to lean on Republicans to back the measure, which has exposed deep divisions in both parties.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told a federal judge in Washington Tuesday that an appeals court is unlikely to overturn the conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former White House aide, and that Libby should be imprisoned immediately rather than putting his 2-1/2-year sentence on hold. Libby was convicted of lying to authorities in a CIA leak case.

In Sacramento, Calif., Monday, a judge denied bail to ex-general Vang Pao, who is charged, along with nine others in the US, of plotting to overthrow the Laotion government.

NASA managers decided Monday to extend the mission of the Atlantis space shuttle to the international space station from 11 to 13 days in order to repair a thermal blanket that pulled away from shuttle's tail during last Friday's launch.

In assessing New York's storm preparedness, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Monday that the city should be ready to respond to major flooding in Manhattan and elsewhere. New York's last major hurricane occurred in 1938, but weather experts believe the city, which last year unveiled a plan to evacuate 3 million people, could be hit.

FBI agents in Boston met recently with officials at Harvard, MIT, and other Massachusetts schools to warn them to be on the lookout for foreign spies or potential terrorists who might try to steal sensitive research. More visits are scheduled as part of a nationwide program.

Nine Americans who accepted payments to wed East European immigrants so they could gain legal residency were charged Wednesday in Chicago with marriage and immigration fraud.

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