USA

Leaving open the possibility of an additional funding request for Iraq, Vice President Cheney told NBC-TV's "Meet the Press" Sunday that the $87 billion sought for postwar operations there and in Afghanistan is "all we think we'll need ... for this year." Countering criticism from Democrats of a failed Iraq strategy, Cheney said the US operation there is seeing "major success, major progress," but added it's unclear how long the mission will last. A newly released ABC-Washington Post poll found 61 percent of those surveyed oppose more Iraq funding, with 85 percent concerned about the length and cost of the mission.

Energy, the environment, and employment were the expected focus, as President Bush visited a coal-fired power plant in Monroe, Mich., for a speech Monday afternoon. Environmentalists planned protests against the administration's relaxation of clean-air rules that Bush contends will help factories create jobs and improve efficiency. The president later was to attend a campaign fund-raising event near Philadelphia.

Federal Reserve policymakers meet Tuesday but are not expected to cut already low interest rates, amid what analysts said are signs of an economic rebound. Underscoring that perception, the National Association for Business Economics predicted that the gross domestic product - the nation's total output of goods and services - will grow an annual rate of at least 4 percent for the second half of the year, the fastest pace since 1999.

Illinois will consider letting state employees and retirees buy cheaper prescription drugs in Canada, Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) said Sunday. "Anything we can do that safely and effectively reduces those costs is definitely worth looking into," he said. Springfield, Mass., has a voluntary program for city employees, and the US House approved a bill in July to permit Americans to buy reimported drugs from Canada, which has government-imposed price controls.

Many East Coast residents were stocking up on supplies as hurricane Isabel advanced toward the region. At last check, the storm had weakened slightly, but forecasters still expect it to carry 130-m.p.h. winds when it makes landfall Thursday or Friday somewhere between North Carolina and New Jersey. The National Hurricane Center in Miami warned of dangerous surf along the Southeastern coast for the next several days.

The eldest sister of pro tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams was fatally shot early Sunday in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, Calif. Police said one suspect is in custody and two others are being sought. Yetunde Price died after a reported confrontation with some residents in the area, which is known for violent gang activity. The Williams family formerly lived there, and Price owned a nearby beauty salon in addition to working as a personal assistant to her famous siblings.

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