USA

Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting John Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, campaigned in the Midwestern swing states of Iowa and Wisconsin over the weekend as they began to slowly wend their way to the Democratic National Convention, which opens under tight security Monday in Boston. Kerry will be formally nominated Wednesday night and deliver his acceptance speech the next evening.

Congressional leaders, who hope to have a bipartisan bill that addresses recommendations in the 9/11 commission's final report ready by October, called for rare August recess hearings late last week. In his weekly radio address Saturday, President Bush said he wanted to "carefully examine" the ideas in the report before deciding how to proceed. Meanwhile, paperback copies of the 587-page report were reaching the public. An estimated 150,000 copies of an initial run of 600,000 were sold in bookstores Thursday, and it was ranked No. 1 in online sales Friday.

Classified nuclear weapons research at as many as two dozen national laboratories will be suspended, beginning Monday, as directed late last week by the Department of Energy. The halt was called as concerns grew about two computer disks that have been missing from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where employees will undergo security training. Energy Secretary Abraham said the suspension was a precaution and that there's no evidence that problems have spread to other labs. The suspension will be lifted once the disk inventory is complete and new controls established.

The Pentagon reported finding payroll records from Bush's 1972 service in the Alabama National Guard Friday that earlier were mistakenly reported as destroyed. The newly released computerized records, however, apparently did not shed light on whether he attended training during a three-month period that Democrats have questioned, even though he was honorably discharged in 1973.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan helped to welcome the USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, to its home port in Coronado, Calif., Saturday. The $4.5 billion carrier was commissioned last year and set sail May 27 from the Norfolk, Va., shipyards, passing below South America on its journey.

Southern California wildfires that have burned more than 48,000 acres during the past week were called unprecedented for this early in the season by forestry officials. With the region in the fifth year of a drought and temperatures in the high 90s F., officials said forests are faced with possible closure or restricted use as October, the height of the fire season, approaches.

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