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President Bush will declare an end to major combat in the war against Iraq - a step short of saying the conflict is over - in a televised speech tonight from the USS Abraham Lincoln, White House officials said. The aircraft carrier is en route to San Diego after a tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The House is set to vote Thursday on Bush's proposal to spend $15 billion to fight the spread of AIDS. The bulk of the funding would go to programs in Africa, but there are differences among lawmakers over whether the measure should make sexual abstinence and fidelity the priority, or encourage condom use as well. In a speech Tuesday, Bush said combating AIDS is "a moral imperative" and urged Congress to pass legislation by Memorial Day.

Soap giant Dial Corp. agreed to a $10 million settlement of sexual harassment charges brought by the US Equal Opportunity Commission. Ninety-one women at the company's plant in Aurora, Ill., near Chicago, had complained of lewd remarks, threats, and physical assaults by male co-workers. The settlement is the largest of its kind since automaker Mitsu-bishi agreed to pay $34 million in 1998 for alleged harassment inside its Normal, Ill., plant.

Spammers face a possible five years in jail and seizure of assets under a new Virginia law that is the toughest in the nation on senders of bulk, unsolicited e-mail ads. It was enacted as the Federal Trade Commission conducts a public forum on the issue this week. The leading e-mail account providers America Online, Microsoft, and Yahoo, also announced a rare joint effort to fight spam, calling it the top subscriber complaint.

Authorities in Illinois were conducting DNA tests on a boy abandoned three months ago at a hospital near Chicago. Relatives of Tristen Myers, who disappeared more than two years ago in North Carolina, see an uncanny resemblance, although the boy in Illinois calls himself Eli Quick. Test results are expected in four to six weeks.

The Coast Guard is investigating a 15,000 gallon oil spill by a barge in the shallow waters of Buzzards Bay, an ecologically sensitive area near Cape Cod, Mass., as cleanup efforts continue from Sunday's accident. Shellfish beds will be closed for at least a week, state officials said.


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