USA

President Bush lowered the US's level of terrorism alert a notch, from "high" to "significant risk," after meeting with Cabinet officials. The level had been raised two weeks ago prior to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Bush also praised a report released by British Prime Minister Blair detailing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's efforts to develop nuclear and other weapons. "We don't trust this man, and that's what the Blair report showed today," Bush said.

Sharply criticizing the administration as he mulls a new presidential bid, Al Gore claimed the drive on Iraq has "squandered" international sympathy from the Sept. 11 terrorism, may severely damage counterterrorism efforts, and risks setting a precedent for other states to take unilateral military action. In a speech Monday to the Commonwealth Club, a public- affairs forum in San Francisco, Gore said he'd decide in December whether to run in 2004. Analysts noted, however, that in 1998 when Gore was vice president, the Clinton administration sought congressional approval to oust Iraq's leadership.

A new indictment charged Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas, two of his sons, and two other former executives of the bankrupt cable-TV company with conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud. Prosecutors also sought the forfeiture of $2.5 billion in funds allegedly looted from corporate accounts. In a statement, Rigas countered that all of the transactions in question were legal. The Rigases are due in federal court Oct. 2 for arraignment on previous charges including bank fraud.

A bill giving workers in California the right to up to six weeks paid leave to care for a newborn or adopted child, or an ill family member, was signed by Gov. Gray Davis (D). The measure is the first of its kind in the country, although 27 other states are considering similar legislation. It is strongly opposed by business groups.

An 8,000-acre wildfire in California's Angeles National Forest forced the evacuation of 2,300 nearby residents and campers, burned 44 buildings, and threatened others. Firefighters were hampered by high temperatures and rugged terrain. Smoke from blaze, located in the San Gabriel Mountains, was visible in Los Angeles, 30 miles away.

Washington was bracing for massive protests planned for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) fall meeting later this week. Some groups have vowed to block roads and the subway system. Police have called in 1,700 officers from nearby communities to help maintain order. Above, demonstrators with the group Essential Action get an early start with an anti-tobacco display Monday outside IMF headquarters.

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