USA

The battle for control of the US Senate in Tuesday's election appeared too close to call, with late opinion polls shedding little light on which party might dominate. Polls conducted over the weekend for CNN/USA Today/Gallup and CBS/New York Times placed the Republican Party ahead by a slight edge outside the margin error. But the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found the overall race even. Pew Center director Andrew Kohut said, "The outcome ... will be determined on a race-by-race basis, with candidate qualities and local issues dominant." The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate predicted turnout will barely be one-third of eligible voters – roughly the same as the last midterm election in 1998.

Independent Dean Barkley was named by Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura to fill the unexpired portion of Sen. Paul Wellstone's term. Wellstone (D) died in a plane crash late last month. Ventura, also an independent, said Barkley will serve until the results of today's election are certified – or about three weeks.

The Washington-area sniper suspects may also be linked to a shooting Sept. 5 in Clinton, Md., where John Allen Muhammad's ex-wife lives, investigators said. A restaurant owner there was wounded and his Sony laptop computer was stolen. A Sony laptop was found in Muhammad's car when he and John Lee Malvo were arrested Oct. 24. Muhammad and Lee have also been connected with shootings in Alabama and Louisiana, and are facing state and federal counts in the sniper attacks. Malvo was due in court Monday for a hearing to decide whether he should be detained on federal juvenile charges.

One of the strongest earthquakes yet recorded in the US rattled a remote section of Alaska and was felt as far away as New Orleans. The 7.9-magnitude quake struck Sunday, causing one minor injury, but damaging supports to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and opening wide cracks in roads. The pipeline was shut down and checked for leaks, but none were found.

Sixteen revelers were arrested when a weekend post-Halloween party turned into a riot in Madison, Wis., Sunday. Police estimated 65,000 people gathered to celebrate before the violence erupted. Rioters threw bottles and bricks, ripped down street signs, broke store windows, and trashed police cars. Police used tear gas and pepper spray to break up the crowd.

Almost 200 cars were involved in a collision south of Los Angeles Sunday, shutting down traffic on the Long Beach Freeway for almost 11 hours. Fourteen people were reported hurt. Authorities blamed pileup on poor visibility due to heavy fog.

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