WASHINGTON -- President Bush chose California Rep. Christopher Cox on Thursday to run the Securities and Exchange Commission, assigning him the delicate regulatory dance of protecting investors' rights while not stifling business. Cox, a conservative 16-year veteran of the House, would replace William Donaldson, a Republican who turned out to be a firm regulator and often clashed with GOP business allies during his 2 1/2 years at the helm. The White House announcement came one day after Donaldson, 74, said he would leave at the end of this month. The nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.
KIEV, Ukraine -- A freight train careened off the tracks and slammed into a passenger bus at a railroad crossing in southern Ukraine on Thursday, killing 14 people, including two children, emergency officials said. The crash happened near the village of Novoselovka at a railroad crossing that did not have gates. Preliminary information indicated that the train had violated safety rules, causing its engine to jump the track at the crossing point and slam into the bus, the Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement. Emergency crews were working at the crash scene in the Odessa region, 300 miles south of the capital, Kiev.
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- A journalist and leading critic of Syria's hold over Lebanon died in a car bombing Thursday, and the opposition immediately blamed Syria for an assassination that came during a series of parliamentary elections that could end Damascus' control of the legislature. Syria denied any involvement in the attack on Samir Kassir, slain by a bomb placed under the driver's seat of his car. Kassir, a 45-year-old Christian, was an academic and founding member of the Democratic Left Movement, a small group that joined the anti-Syrian opposition and played an active role in the protest campaign against Damascus' control. He wrote a column in An-Nahar, a leading newspaper that frequently criticizes Syria, and was a regular on TV talk shows.
UNITED NATIONS -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday warned that the AIDS epidemic is accelerating on every continent and called for more money and leadership to halt its spread by the U.N. target date of 2015. In an opening address to representatives of 127 countries at a high-level conference, Annan said the scale of the global response to the scourge of AIDS has been significant, but insufficient because "it has not matched the epidemic in scale." Treatment and prevention efforts also were insufficient, Annan said. The daylong conference was being held to assess progress toward meeting targets set at a U.N. General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 2001 to start tackling the crisis.
CONCORD, N.H. -- Not many people can retire on a nickel -- unless it's a rare 1913 Liberty Head like the one that sold Thursday for $4.15 million. It is the second-highest price ever reported paid for a rare coin. Legend Numismatics, a coin dealership in Lincroft, N.J., bought it from collector Ed Lee of Merrimack, N.H. It is one of only five such nickels known to exist. The nickel will be on display through Saturday at a coin show in Long Beach, Calif. Liberty Head nickels were minted from 1883 to 1912. "Miss Liberty" was replaced the following year by the Indian, or Buffalo, nickel.