USA

With a businesslike handshake, President Bush and his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac, exchanged greetings at the start of the Group of Eight summit in Evian, France. The gathering is viewed as an opportunity to mend relations strained by the Iraq war, as well as to tackle such issues as global trade and preventing the spread of banned weapons. The two leaders are to hold a brief, private meeting Monday and Iraq likely will be on the agenda, Chirac's spokeswoman said. But they will "look to the future," not rehash past differences, she said, noting, "that would not be useful."

Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted their relationship is "stronger, not weaker" as a result of differences over Iraq. At a joint news conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday before both left for the G-8 summit, Putin said their two nations are "much closer than they seem" on another thorny issue - Iran. The Bush administration wants Moscow to stop helping Iran build a nuclear power plant, alleging that it's part of a weapons program. Iran denies that.

Serial bombing suspect and FBI "most wanted" fugitive Eric Rudolph appears in court Monday in Ashville, N.C., after being arrested while scavenging in a supermarket dumpster early Saturday. He's charged with four bombings in Alabama and Georgia - including the 1996 explosion at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta - that killed two people and injured about 150 others. Rudolph, a reputed white supremacist and survivalist, eluded federal agents for five years while hiding in the Appalachian hills. Authorities reportedly are investigating whether he was aided by local sympathizers.

In what's expected to produce a major media shakeup, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) votes Monday on revised ownership rules. The proposals would lift a ban on a single company controlling both newspapers and radio and TV outlets in the same market, and would increase the limit on access to the national audience from 35 percent to 45 percent. Supporters argue that easing the restrictions will allow outlets to pool resources, provide better coverage, and be more profitable. Critics contend the changes will limit diverse opinions and ignore the interests of local communities.

Residents of several central Illinois towns were cleaning up after tornadoes struck the region for the second time in a week Friday night. The twisters destroyed 15 homes and damaged dozens more, state and county officials said. There were no reports of serious injuries. About 6,000 residents briefly lost power.

Federal and local authorities were investigating the sighting of three SCUBA divers near a power plant in Somerset, Mass., early Saturday. The Somerset police chief said it's suspected that the divers were involved in the illegal narcotics trade and may have been retrieving drugs attached to a coal ship that recently arrived at the NRG Electric Generating Plant from overseas.

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