A House panel Wednesday voted to cite former top White House aide Karl Rove for contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to answer questions about the dismissals of several federal prosecutors.

Prescription drug abuse in the US has soared in recent years, according to new federal data released Wednesday that show it has risen 80 percent since 2000 and now involves nearly 7 million Americans Defini-tions of abuse vary but refer typically to nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Their use is a major cause of overdose deaths.

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook southern California from Los Angeles to San Diego Tuesday, causing only limited damage and minor injuries, but serving as a reminder that scientists have long warned to expect a "big one" at some point.

Sgt. Michael Strank, one of the World War II Iwo Jima flag raisers, was posthumously awarded a citizenship document Tuesday, CNN reported. He was born in Czechoslovakia and derived US citizenship when his father was naturalized in 1935, but the official paperwork was never issued. Strank was killed in combat in 1945.

NASA scientists and contractors recently completed field tests of vehicles and robots in the Moses Lake sand dunes of central Washington that will be used for future moon exploration.

A House resolution apologizing to black Americans for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors passed Tuesday. The measure was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen (D) of Tennessee, the only white lawmaker to represent a majority black district. Previous proposals in Congress stalled, partly over concerns about reparations.

To demonstrate US concerns for human rights in China, President Bush met Tuesday with five Chinese activists at the White House. He said he would carry their concerns to Beijing, where is he is scheduled to meet with officials while attending the Olympics.

Looking to combat obesity in a poor area of Los Angeles, the city council unanimously voted Tuesday to place a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in that area. The moratorium is aimed at buying time to attract restaurants that serve "healthier" fare.

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