USA

Vice President Cheney began a tour of the region ravaged by hurricane Katrina as the House prepared to vote on the $51.8 billion in emergency relief requested by the administration. Quick passage was expected, since the $10.5 billion approved last week was on the verge of being exhausted. Meanwhile, the remaining stragglers in New Orleans were being pressured to evacuate the city amid warnings that the floodwaters are so toxic and bacteria-laden that humans should avoid all contact.

Tourists and weather forecasters were keeping a close watch on Ophelia, the 15th named storm of the season, in the event it reaches hurricane strength. A tropical storm warning was posted for Florida's northern Atlantic coast and up into Georgia. The area is one of the few that has escaped significant damage from any of the six hurricanes that have hit Florida in the past 13 months. Ophelia was roughly 70 miles off Cape Canaveral, and the area had been buffeted by wind-driven rain.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarz-enegger (R) said he'll veto the first-in-the-nation same-sex marriage bill passed by state lawmakers Tuesday. He said his opposition is "out of respect for the will of the people" who rejected recognition of same-sex marriage in a state ballot initiative five years ago. To override a veto, which must be issued by Oct. 9, the Assembly and Senate both would have to muster a two-thirds majority vote.

Another setback for homosex-uals came in Massachusetts, where Attorney General Thomas Reilly (D) approved a ballot initiative that could lead to the overturning of a ruling in favor of same-sex marriage by the state's highest court. For it to appear on the 2008 ballot, however, sponsors must obtain 65,825 signatures on petitions by Dec. 7, and at least 25 percent of the legislature must vote "yes" in two consecutive years.

Federal judges in Connecticut and Tennessee issued injunctions temporarily blocking the Base Realignment and Closure Commission from recommending changes to Air National Guard facilities in those states. Other challenges to the commission's findings, however, have met with mixed results, including one in Missouri, where a lawsuit was rejected on grounds that the court lacks authority over preliminary base changes.

Ford Motor Co. announced the fifth-largest recall in US automotive history - 3.8 million pickup trucks and sport/utility vehicles built between 1994 and 2002. The company and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been investigating complaints of engine fires believed to be linked to the cruise-control system. At the same time, Toyota recalled just under 1 million pickups and SUVs for checks of the steering system.

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