USA

Weighing in on an election where he himself has been a main issue, President Bush visits Louisiana Tuesday to campaign for Republican senatorial candidate Suzanne Terrell. A runoff Saturday will determine whether incumbent Mary Landrieu (D) gets a second term. If Terrell wins, she'd be the first Republican senator to represent the state since 1877. She'd also increase to the GOP majority in the chamber to 52.

The FBI is investigating a $400,000 contribution by Saudi Arabia's Embassy in Washington to an Islamic charity suspected of funding terrorists, The New York Post reported. The donation to the International Islamic Relief Organization occurred in the late 1990s, the paper said. It was shut down in March because of its alleged ties to Al Qaeda and a Palestinian militant group. The revelation could further complicate relations with Saudi Arabia. The Bush administration has pressed its key Mideast ally to step up efforts to curb terrorist financing after media reports that aid from a Saudi princess may indirectly have benefited two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers.

With the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston reportedly considering bankruptcy, attorneys representing alleged victims of abusive priests said they wanted assurances that the church is negotiating settlements in good faith. "They should either go ahead and declare bankruptcy, or stop talking about it," Jeffrey Newman told The Boston Globe. The Globe reported Sunday that Cardinal Bernard Law discussed the unprecedented move with advisers, but hasn't made a decision.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 9,000 during early trading, a level is hasn't closed above since late August. The broader market rose as well. Analysts said investors were reacting to better-than-expected retail sales last weekend, the traditional start of the holiday gift-buying season.

In economic news that put a damper on Wall Street enthusiasm, manufacturing activity contracted in November for a third straight month, the Institute of Supply Management reported. The industry group's index on business activity rose to 49.2 in November from 48.5 the previous month, but remained below the key 50 mark that indicates growth.

Another cruise ship returned to port in Florida with ill passengers. Police in Miami said the Carnival ship Fascination docked with 86 people ill after a voyage to the Bahamas. It wasn't clear whether the malady was related to recent problems aboard Disney and Holland America cruise ships that sickened more than 1,000 people.

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