USA

Former Vice President Walter Mondale began campaigning. He replaces Sen. Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash last week. An opinion poll by The Star Tribune of Minneapolis gave Mondale an 8 percentage point lead over Republican contender Norm Coleman. The ex-mayor of St. Paul challenged Mondale, who hasn't run for office since a failed presidential bid in 1984, to a debate before the Nov. 5 vote.

In an issue that could affect the tight race for governor in Florida, incumbent Jeb Bush (R) was under pressure from the Haitian community to obtain the release of more than 200 Haitian illegal aliens. They were detained by immigration authorities after wading ashore from a freighter near Miami Tuesday afternoon. Bush, the brother of the president, said he contacted the White House and received assurances of fair treatment for the Haitians. A spokesman said President Bush would not intervene. Six people from the vessel have been charged with human smuggling.

The economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the third quarter of 2002, the Commerce Department reported. That compared with 1.3 growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) the previous quarter. The GDP figure is considered a key barometer of economic well-being.

Less than a week after naming ex-FBI and CIA director William Webster to head a new oversight board for the accounting industry, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Harvey Pitt asked for an internal review of the selection. The request followed a New York Times report that Pitt failed to inform four other commissioners that Webster recently headed the audit committee of US Technologies, which is being sued by investors for fraud. The panel's two Democrats favored another candidate and criticized Pitt on the selection process.

A member of the pioneering rap trio Run DMC died in a shooting at his recording studio in Queens, N.Y. One other person was wounded in the attack Wednesday night. Jason Mizell, known professionally as Jam Master Jay and fellow group members were inducted into Hollywood's RockWalk in February. Run DMC is credited with bringing hip-hop to mainstream audiences in the early 1980s.

In a crackdown on the Latin Kings gang, authorities in New Jersey arrested 41 reputed high-level members on racketeering, drug-trafficking, and other charges. The 14-month investigation netted 26 pounds of cocaine, 19 stolen vehicles, and assorted weapons.

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