USA

After blasting off from Kazakh-stan aboard a Soyuz rocket, a NASA astronaut and two European crewmen successfully docked with the International Space Station Saturday. John Phillips, Russian Commander Sergei Krikalev, and Italian researcher Roberto Vittori will relieve the two-man US-Russian crew, which has spent six months aboard. NASA hopes the new station crew will host astronauts on the Discovery shuttle when shuttle flights resume next month. Right, the two crews share the station during a TV downlink.

Wall Street's markets open a new week Monday with investors anxious about a continued slide. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 191 points, its worst single day in almost two years, and the Nasdaq and Standard & Poor's 500 indexes dipped to their lowest levels in five months. A big sell-off occurred amid concerns about rising oil prices and a drop-off in industrial production. Disappointing earnings in the tech sector, signalled by IBM's lower-than-expected profits, also appeard to contribute to investor uneasiness.

Florida, which has been rocked by a series of high-profile child-welfare cases in recent years, became the first state to fully privatize the social service. The conversion was completed Friday with the announcement that Our Kids Inc. had signed a $75 million contract to assume responsibility for foster care and adoption and welfare-licensing operations in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. They were the last two counties to contract out the services.

Whatever honeymoon California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) enjoyed with Democratic lawmakers since taking office 17 months ago appeared at an end. Speakers at a convention of state Democrats in Los Angeles took turns Saturday chastising Schwarzenegger, whose agenda of reforms, coupled with rhetorical flourishes, increasingly has angered them and such key constituents as unionized teachers. The Democrats vowed to block his legislative agenda.

A seven-story-high wave slammed the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship off the Atlantic coast, flooding 62 cabins, injuring four passengers, and forcing the 965-foot vessel to dock Saturday in Charleston, S.C., for repairs. The ship, returning from the Bahamas, is expected to arrive in New York Monday.

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