Senate to vote on offshore drilling

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats promised a series of votes next week on offshore oil drilling as Republicans agreed Monday to let the Senate proceed on a defense bill that had been bottled up because of partisan disputes over the country's energy priorities. Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he is ready to take up two proposals that would allow limited oil and gas drilling 50 miles off Florida's Gulf coast and in the Atlantic off four southeastern states as well as a broader Republican drilling bill.

Bush announces drawdown

WASHINGTON — President Bush plans to keep the number of U.S. troops in Iraq near the current level through the end of the year and will pull home about 8,000 U.S. troops by February, when the next president will be in charge of wartime decision-making. The president's decisions amount to perhaps his last major troop strategy in a war that has come to define his presidency. He was to announce the details in a speech Tuesday at the National Defense University in Washington. The text of which was released in advance by the White House.

Mother gets life in baby's death

DAYTON, Ohio — A woman was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the chance for parole for burning her baby daughter to death in a microwave after fighting with her boyfriend. Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman lashed out at 28-year-old China Arnold, who opted to watch her sentencing from a side room on a monitor. "No adjectives exist to adequately describe this heinous atrocity," Wiseman said. "This act is shocking and utterly abhorrent for a civilized society." Arnold was convicted Aug. 29 of aggravated murder in the death of month-old Paris Talley in 2005. Prosecutors said she put her baby in the microwave after a fight with her boyfriend. The couple had argued over whether the boyfriend was the baby's biological father.

U.S. cancels deal with Russia

WASHINGTON — In a pointed but mostly symbolic expression of displeasure with Moscow, President Bush on Monday canceled a once-celebrated civilian nuclear cooperation deal with Russia. Bush had sent the agreement to Congress for approval in May, after a much-heralded signing by the two nations that capped two years of tough negotiations. On Monday, he officially pulled it back, a move announced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The action is in effect the U.S. administration's punishment of Moscow for its invasion of Georgia. Meanwhile Monday, Russia's announced plans to deploy ships and warplanes to the Caribbean for joint military exercises with Venezuela and anti-U.S. President Hugo Chávez.

Herald-Leader wire services