USA

Democrats were hoping to make key gains over Republicans in tomorrow's state and local elections, as late polls showed they were leading in three major races. In the election to replace New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R), Mark Green (D) held a slight lead over media billionaire Mike Bloomberg (R). In the New Jersey governor's race, James McGreevey (D) appeared favored over Bret Schundler (R), and in Virginia's gubernatorial contest, Mark Warner (D) was leading over Mark Earley (R). New York has produced the costliest campaign, with Bloomberg spending $41 million of his own money, almost quadruple what Green has spent. (Story, page 1)

New patches of anthrax spores were confirmed at separate postal facilities, including sorting machines in a Manhattan processing center and a store in Kansas City that sells stamps. In addition, a mail room in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington tested positive for trace amounts of anthrax. There were no reports of workers becoming ill at any of those locations. Anthrax testing was under way at 259 postal facilities, mostly on the East Coast.

Authorities were to order the release of chlorine dioxide gas to decontaminate the Hart Senate Office Building, where a tainted letter was mailed to Majority Leader Tom Daschle. In his weekly radio address Saturday, President Bush called the growing anthrax threats "a second wave of terrorist attacks upon our country."

National Guard troops were patrolling bridges along the West Coast and the Coast Guard stepped up security in harbors after government officials warned of possible terrorist attacks on major bridges in California and Washington State. Above, National Guardsmen patrol San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Meanwhile, a wing of Baltimore-Washington International Airport was shut down for at least an hour Saturday after a passenger tried to "test" security, and about 1,000 passengers were evacuated from the US Airways terminal in Philadelphia after a pilot passing through a security checkpoint made a reference to a gun.

A House-Senate conference committee will attempt to reach a compromise on measures that aim to improve aviation security after the GOP-controlled House passed its own plan 286 to 139, instead of sending a Senate plan passed Oct. 11 to Bush for approval. The Senate version, which would replace private workers with thousands of federal screeners, failed to get through the House in a 218-to-214 vote last week. The House bill puts the government in charge of training and supervision of airport security but allows Bush to decide whether screeners should be federal employees. Both versions require more air marshals and secure cockpit doors.

The national unemployment rate shot up from 4.9 percent in September to 5.4 percent in October, the highest since late 1996, the Labor Department reported. Businesses cut 415,000 jobs in October as the full brunt of terrorist attacks hit the already-weak economy. Economists said they no longer doubt the US is in recession and warned it could be longer than they initially thought.

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