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In a possible breakthrough in the Washington-area sniper case, police arrested two men at a Maryland highway rest stop hours after issuing a warrant for John Allen Muhammad, also identified as John Allen Williams, and a teenager reported to be his stepson. Federal officials told President Bush that "a lot of arrows" point to the pair as responsible for the attacks, a senior administration official said. A phone tip led authorities to link the case to a deadly robbery in Alabama last month and to search Muhammad's former residence in Tacoma, Wash.

With control of both houses of Congress at stake in Nov. 5 elections, Bush made whirlwind stops to boost the prospects of Republican candidates in three states. He was stumping in North Carolina for Elizabeth Dole and in South Carolina for US Rep. Lindsey Graham, both of whom are seeking to replace retiring GOP senators, and House contender Mike Rogers in Alabama. Bush was to end the day at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, the site of Friday's summit with Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin.

Retail sales across the country are "weak," and manufacturing conditions are "stagnant," according to the Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book survey of business conditions. The glum assessment boosts the likelihood the central bank may cut interest rates, analysts said.

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New claims for unemployment benefits fell by 25,000 last week to 389,000, the Labor Department reported. It was the second time in a month that jobless claims dipped below 400,000, a key figure for labor-market watchers.

A computer attack that slowed – but failed to shut down – the Internet is being investigated by the Bush administration, spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday. It does not appear to be the work of cyber-terrorists, he said. Monday's "denial of service" assault was the first to target the 13 servers for Internet's Domain Name System.

The first major snowstorm of the season closed at least seven schools, and some roads, and was blamed for one fatality in Nebraska.

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