USA

With some new national polls suggesting their race has tightened up, President Bush and US Sen. John Kerry turned their attention to taxes, healthcare, and stem-cell research in campaign stops Tuesday before yielding the spotlight Tuesday night night to the debate in Cleveland between their respective running mates, Dick Cheney and John Edwards. On Friday in St. Louis, Bush and Kerry are scheduled to square off in the second of their three debates.

Michael Kostiw said he will serve as senior adviser to new CIA Director Porter Goss after withdrawing his name from consideration to fill the agency's No. 3 position. Although Kostiw was Goss's choice to be executive director, he said Monday he couldn't accept "as the result of recent press articles and attendant speculation." That was a reference to a Washington Post report that said he resigned under pressure as a CIA case officer in 1981, because of a $2.13 shoplifting incident.

Paul Bremer, the former US administrator to Iraq, said Monday that the American-led intervention "paid a big price" for not being prepared to suppress looting that led to "an atmosphere of lawlessness" in the immediate aftermath of dictator Saddam Hussein's ouster. "We never had enough troops on the ground," The Washington Post quoted him as saying in a speech at an insurance conference. In an e-mail to the Post, Bremer said he believes the US now has sufficient troops in Iraq.

Levels of lead in municipal water supplies across the nation have been misrepresented, giving communities "a false sense of security," The Washington Post reported.

A trio of university researchers were named winners of the 2004 Nobel Prize in physics for their explanation of the force that binds particles inside the atomic nucleus. The recipients: David Gross of the University of California, Santa Barbara; David Politzer of the California Institute of Technology; and Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On Monday, Americans Richard Axel and Linda Buck shared the Nobel Prize for medicine.

Former astronaut Gordon Cooper, who died Monday in Los Angeles, is best remembered as the last member of NASA's pioneering Mercury program to take flight and the last to orbit Earth alone. Cooper also was the first astronaut to remain in space for longer than 24 hours, to make a second orbital flight, and to sleep while in space. Cooper retired in 1970.

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