USA

Residents of the area between west-central Florida and Louisiana were put on alert by forecasters tracking the approach of hurricane Ivan, which appeared to be bypassing the Keys and heading toward the eastern Gulf of Mexico, with landfall possibly on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday. People who evacuated the Keys were told they could return Monday because the storm, with sustained winds of 160 m.p.h., had veered west and might only brush the 120-mile island chain. Above, Tom Asbury boards up his beach house on Dog Island, Fla., off the Panhandle's gulf coast.

With President Bush focused on healthcare policy on his campaign bus tour in Michigan, his Democratic challenger, John Kerry, was turning up the heat on his rival over assault weapons and the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. In a New York Times interview, Kerry accused the Bush administration of letting a "nuclear nightmare" develop by refusing to deal with North Korea when it first came to office. In Washington Monday, Kerry outlined a $5 billion, 10-year anticrime agenda while criticizing the White House for not pushing Congress to renew the decade-long assault weapons ban. Meanwhile, during stops in Muskegon, Holland, and Battle Creek, Mich., the president was poised to speak about strengthening the patient-doctor relationship, expanding health savings accounts, and allowing small businesses to pool resources to bring down health insurance costs.

Ten people, including eight Mexican relatives, were killed in a suspected arson fire that consumed a small apartment building in Columbus, Ohio, Sunday. Although there were no suspects, the blaze occurred six weeks after three other fires were set in the same building.

With more information about the fluctuations in the price of electricity, Americans could cut their usage and pocket savings of between $5 billion and $15 billion annually, according to results of a Government Accountability Office study released Sunday. The finding was based on results of demand-response pilot programs at government buildings in several states.

Lyricist Fred Ebb, who died Saturday in New York, was best known for collaborating with composer John Kander in writing the scores for such Broadway hits as "Chicago," and "Cabaret" and the hit song "New York, New York." The latter was the theme of the 1977 movie of the same name.

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