Sales of existing homes dropped by 3.8 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.75 million units, the slowest pace in 4-1/2 years, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.

In an effort to buttress his Iraq war strategy, President Bush cited declassified intelligence reports Tuesday that link Al Qaeda's operation in Iraq with the terror group that organized the 9/11 attacks.

The Transportation Security Administration has issued an alert to airport personnel to keep an eye out for "ordinary items that look like improvised explosive-device components." The caution is based on curious items, including clay and wires, seized at four different airports since last September, but is not linked to a "credible, specific threat."

Congress tentatively reached agreement on a national security bill Tuesday that calls for tightening America's air and sea defenses against terrorists.

The legislation, which could be voted on Friday, would require all cargo planes and US-bound ships to be inspected within the next three to five years.

A grand jury in New Orleans refused to indict Dr. Anna Pou on charges that she administered lethal drugs to four hospital patients in the trying aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Pou claims that the medications were meant only to relieve pain. Charges were earlier dropped against two nurses in the case. Pou, however, still faces lawsuits filed by the families of three patients.

National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern said Tuesday that he felt betrayed by the betting allegations against former league referee Tim Donaghy but that he doesn't believe any players or other officials will be implicated in the case.

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