USA

President Bush flew to the Gulf Coast for a second inspection of areas stricken by hurricane Katrina, amid a chorus of bitter complaints that the federal response has been too slow and inadequate. In New Orleans, although large-scale evacuations of the Louisiana Superdome and Convention Center were complete, rescuers in boats and helicopters were still pulling hundreds of people from rooftops virtually a week after the storm. Predictions of the number of deaths by the time everyone is accounted for were in the thousands, however. Police said they killed four looters and six other men who'd fired on Army Corps of Engineers contractors assigned to repair levee damage. In other developments:

• At the request of the president, former Presidents Bush and Clinton agreed to head a fundraising campaign for disaster relief. In Houston, they announced creation of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, which will distribute contributions to the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. They raised $11 million for victims of last December's tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

• Secretary of State Condo-leezza Rice, an Alabama native, visited the state and rejected criticism from other black leaders that racial injustice played a role in the slower-than-desired federal response.

• Chinese President Hu Jintao, who was to visit the US this week, put off his trip until later in September in deference to the relief effort.

• Two oil refineries in Louis-iana resumed operations and oil giant BP said its Holstein platform in the Gulf of Mexico was back in production.

Bush nominated federal appeals court judge John Roberts Jr. to succeed Chief Justice of the US William Rehnquist, who died Saturday, and urged the Senate to confirm him by Oct. 3, when the high court opens its new term. Roberts already was awaiting Senate hearings on his nomination to replace retired Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But a senior administration official said the upgrade had been on the president's mind for some time on grounds that the vetting process for Roberts was well advanced and that his peers consider him a natural leader.

Bush remembered Rehnquist for his "powerful intellect" and "deep commitment to the rule of law" and said he'd been "deeply touched" that the chief justice made the effort to preside at his inauguration last January despite advanced illness. Rehnquist's funeral will be held Wednesday in St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Washington, although he was not of that faith. A Washington archdiocese spokeswoman said Rehnquist's family requested its use because the attendance is expected to be large and the cathedral seats 2,000 people.

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