Sheehan: Protest headed to capital after Aug. 31

CRAWFORD, Texas - A fallen soldier's mother said Thursday that the anti-war vigil she started nearly three weeks ago near President Bush's ranch won't end when she and other protesters pack up the camp next week.

Cindy Sheehan said the day after she leaves Aug. 31, she will embark on a bus tour ending up in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24. Then the group will start a 24-hour vigil in the nation's capital.

Minor quake rattles Southeast

HOT SPRINGS, N.C. - A magnitude 3.8 earthquake rattled homes in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia but appeared to have caused little serious damage.

The minor quake, which hit at 11:09 p.m. Wednesday, was centered about 2 miles southeast of Hot Springs in Madison County, 25 miles north of Asheville, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center.

Commission votes to close Walter Reed

WASHINGTON - A federal commission voted Thursday to close Walter Reed Army Medical Center - the crown jewel of U.S. military hospitals - as part of the Pentagon's sweeping proposal to restructure bases across the country.

Most of its work would be relocated to a more modern, expanded hospital in Bethesda, Md., to be renamed Walter Reed in a nod to the old facility's heritage.

Panel: Academies not addressing harassment issue

WASHINGTON - Hostile attitudes and inappropriate treatment of women persist at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and at the Naval Academy, a Pentagon task force says.

The panel called for better training of future officers at the academies, saying the value of women in the military should be better emphasized. It said present training on sexual harassment and assault is inadequate, resulting in misunderstandings by cadets and midshipmen on how to obtain assistance.

Lawyer: Vioxx case tally near 5,000 and growing

NEW ORLEANS - The tally of lawsuits against Merck & Co. in state and federal court over its painkiller Vioxx is nearly 5,000 and growing, lawyers said in federal court here Thursday, less than a week after the drug maker suffered a stinging defeat in a state court in Texas.

The implications of the loss in the first of the cases to be tried against Merck are still playing out.

- From wire reports