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In a setback for disabled workers, the Supreme Court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not preempt company seniority systems in most cases. The act forbids job discrimination and requires employers to offer the disabled reasonable accommodations. But in a 5-to-4 decision, the justices threw out a lower court ruling that plaintiff Robert Barnett's back injury also gave him first choice of jobs at US Airways over more senior coworkers. The ruling continues the court's trend of narrowing the reach of the ADA.

Boston's Roman Catholic Cardinal Bernard Law told parishioners he has toughened his stance toward priests accused of sex abuse but that a national policy won't be enacted until a bishops' meeting in June. Law (above, at a mass Sunday) came under new criticism for contending that the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against him were partly responsible for an alleged abusive relationship between the Rev. Paul Shanley and young Gregory Ford, that began in 1983. The lawyer for the Ford family called Law's contention "appalling."

Consumer spending and personal incomes posted solid gains in March, the Commerce Department reported. The 0.4 percent increases in both categories marked their fourth consecutive monthly rise. Although moderate, they were good news for an economy just beginning to emerge from recession.

The US is to get its first long look this week at the presumed new leader of China. Vice president Hu Jintao, who is expected to succeed Jiang Zemin as head of the Communist Party this year and as president in 2003, is scheduled to meet President Bush and other US leaders in Washington to discuss Taiwan, the Middle East, the war on terrorism, and trade. In New York Monday, several hundred demonstrators gathered outside Hu's hotel, some to welcome him, others to protest Chinese rule in Tibet.

Communities from Missouri to Maryland began picking up the pieces after a string of potent tornados swept through the region, killing at least six people. Maryland was hit especially hard, with a tornado causing at least three deaths and 93 injuries. The unusually wide swath of thunderstorms affected much of the eastern US, bringing golf-ball-sized hail to West Virginia and more than 20 inches of snow to Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Former baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry was sentenced to 18 months in a Florida prison for violating probation on his 1999 arrest on drug and solicitation-of-prostitution charges. He has fought previous attempts by the state to send him to prison, and has been in a treatment center instead. But he has violated his probation six times.


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