The final presidential debate was to be held on schedule in St. Louis despite the plane crash that killed Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan (D), his son, and an aide. They were headed to a campaign event for Carnahan's hotly contested race for the US Senate against Republican incumbent John Ashcroft. Beyond the personal implications of the accident, Carnahan's death three weeks before election day was an apparent setback to the Democratic Party's bid to win back the Senate, which the Republicans control 54-46.
A Web site offering to sell thousands of votes for president to the highest bidder is under investigation for possible voter fraud. Voteauction.com quoted the going price at $19.61 per vote in California and $12.38 in Illinois, and offers to deliver the votes to any corporation or individual. California's Secretary of State warned that potential vote-sellers could face felony charges and a minimum of three years in prison. Meanwhile, a record number of Americans will mail in their ballots this year, which could cause a delay in determining the winners of tight congressional races because many votes won't be counted until after election day.
No US agency conducted security checks on the contractors hired to provide harbor services for the USS Cole in Yemen, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing government sources. An official said the Navy takes reasonable safety steps but also relies on the host country to provide security, the newspaper reported. It added that the Cole had a special security plan before reaching the port of Aden. Seventeen sailors were killed aboard the ship last Thursday in a surprise bomb attack.
With only three of the 13 annual spending bills signed into law, it appeared Congress would need until at least next week to wrap up business and adjourn for the year. But of the remaining measures, only three - covering six Cabinet departments and dozens of smaller agencies - posed significant hurdles. President Clinton and many Democrats want more money for education, eased immigration restrictions, and expanded hate-crimes laws; many Republicans favor more local control of federal education aid, and they oppose administration efforts to sue the tobacco industry and to issue rules aimed at reducing workplace injuries.
Firestone has agreed to replace, free of charge, 1.4 million tires beyond the 6.5 million covered by its recent recall, attorneys general from 48 states and territories said. The additional tires may have even higher rates of tread separation than the recalled models, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The latest announcement applies mostly to SUVs and light trucks.
Twenty Fortune 500 companies, among them Microsoft and Intel, filed papers in support of affirmative action admissions policies at the University of Michigan, now under attack in a federal lawsuit. The companies' brief holds that it will become more difficult for multinational corporations to compete at the global level without a strong commitment to diversity from leading universities.
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