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The economy grew at a sluggish 0.2 percent in the April-June quarter, the weakest performance in eight years, the Commerce Department reported in its latest reading of gross domestic product. The figures are a revision to a GDP estimate a month ago of 0.7 percent. GDP, the total output of goods and services, is considered the broadest measure of economic health. The lower estimate showed businesses were successfully trimming excess inventories, analysts said, a process necessary before they can increase production. (Story, page 1; editorial page 8.)

The loss of manufacturing jobs that has fueled a rising unemployment rate will start to stabilize by the year's end, and new hiring may pick up in 2002, the National Association of Manufacturers said in its annual Labor Day report. It said encouraging signs of recovery include: lower inventories, seven interest-rate cuts, lower energy prices, and strong consumer spending. Manufacturing, once a driving economic force, has been hardest hit this year.

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President Bush was to outline his priorities for Congress's fall session, including spending increases for defense and education, in a speech at the American Legion's convention in San Antonio. Aides said he also would again call on Congress to pass his faith-based initiative and a version of the so-called patients' bill of rights. Bush returns to Washington today from his vacation in Crawford, Texas. Congress returns next week.

US and British fighter jets enforcing no-fly zones in Iraq attacked two more air-defense sites, a day after an unmanned Air Force reconnaissance plane was lost near the southern city of Basra. The Defense Department has not confirmed whether Iraq shot the Predator drone down. The government-run Iraqi News Agency reported two civilians were killed in the latest attack.

More than half of the residents of the small northern California town of Weaverville were evacuated late Tuesday because of a fast-moving wildfire. The 1,600-acre blaze had destroyed at least nine homes and businesses and was threatening others. Below (from l.) residents Lisa, Wayne, Ashley, and Kaylee Cook watch the fire from a distance after they moved to safer ground. Meanwhile, authorities charged a Redwood, Calif., resident with two murder counts for starting a fire in which two firefighting pilots died when their planes collided.

High school students are less likely to miss class or stop coming to school regularly if they sleep later in the morning, a study found. The Minneapolis school district and University of Minnesota studied thousands of teenage students and said they got more sleep, were behaved better, and earned slightly higher grades after the district switched from a 7:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. start time in 1997.


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