Firefighting plane crashes, killing three

RENO, Nev. - An air tanker that had been used to drop retardant on one wildfire in the Sierra Nevada crashed after taking off for a flight to a second blaze, killing all three crew members.

The order for the flight to the second blaze was canceled around the time of the crash, officials said Tuesday.

Preliminary witness reports suggested the aircraft had lost part of one engine or a wing after taking off from Reno-Stead Airport, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Breach alleged against ex-AG

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department refused to prosecute former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for improperly - and possibly illegally - storing in his office and home classified information about two of the Bush administration's most sensitive counterterrorism efforts.

Mishandling classified materials violates Justice Department regulations, and removing them from special secure facilities without proper authorization is a misdemeanor crime.

Some students skip school to protest funding

NORTHFIELD, Ill. - Hundreds of Chicago public school children spent the first day of classes lined up outside a wealthy suburban school to protest district funding disparities.

The students rode buses Tuesday from Chicago's South Side to New Trier High School's campus in Northfield. Students were trying to enroll in more affluent schools to draw attention to problems in Chicago's system.

Bush praises McCain from White House

ST. PAUL, Minn. - President Bush, relegated to a minor role at the Republican National Convention, praised John McCain Tuesday night as 'ready to lead this nation,' a courageous candidate who supported the war in Iraq despite risks to his campaign.

As Bush addressed the convention from the White House, Republicans in St. Paul defended McCain's vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin. The governor of Alaska is 'from a small town, with small town values, but that's not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family,' former Sen. Fred Thompson said.