Nation briefs 1/3/06

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Bush: Domestic spying program is 'limited'

WASHINGTON -- President Bush is standing firmly behind his domestic spying program, saying his decision to let the intelligence community listen in on phone calls Americans have with suspected terrorists is lawful and does not result in widespread domestic eavesdropping. Bush, whose decision is facing congressional hearings on the surveillance, said Sunday that the program, run by the ultra-secret National Security Agency, is limited. He left little doubt that he intends to vigorously argue that he acted within the law.

Officials search burned towns for grass fire victims

RINGGOLD, Texas -- Authorities went house to house in a search for victims in burned-out towns Monday as firefighters in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma battled grass fires across the drought-stricken region. Since Dec. 27, fires have charred thousands of acres of grassland and farmland and destroyed more than 250 structures in the three states. Four deaths were reported last week in Texas and Oklahoma. One of the weekend blazes destroyed most of this ranch-and-cattle town of some 100 people near the Oklahoma line, burning about 50 homes and 40,000 acres as wind swept the fire.

John Kerry keeps 2008 election options open

WASHINGTON -- It's almost as if Sen. John Kerry never stopped running for president. He still jets across the country, raising millions of dollars and rallying Democrats. He still stalks the TV news show circuit, scolding President Bush at every turn. The Massachusetts Democrat, defeated by Bush in 2004, insists it is far too early to talk about the 2008 race, but some analysts assume he has already positioned himself for another shot at the White House.

-- From wire reports

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