USA

The police department and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) of Los Angeles responded to a purported new Al Qaeda communiqué threatening an attack on the city, saying it "meant to instill fear" and "should come as no surprise." The communiqué was broadcast Sunday, the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks. Villa-raigosa said he knew of no specific targets in the city. The 9/11 attacks were remembered in somber ceremonies in New York, at the White House and Pentagon, and outside Shanksville, Pa., where one of the planes crashed after passengers overpowered the hijackers.

With floodwater levels dropping steadily and New Orleans' international airport due to reopen to commercial service Tuesday, the Red Cross sounded a call for 40,000 new volunteers to provide relief for weary rescuers. Amid new opinion polls showing his approval rating at 38 percent, its lowest yet, President Bush began a new visit Sunday to the region battered by hurricane Katrina.

In other Katrina-related developments:

• The Louisiana Department of Health put the official number of deaths across the state at 154 so far, a fraction of what officials had projected. In Mississippi, 211 people were confirmed dead. No official updates were available in Alabama.

• Entergy Corp., which supplies power to 1.1 million customers in Mississippi and Louisiana, said it had restored service to two-thirds of them.

• Private, charitable donations for flood relief were nearing $700 million at the end of last week - $503 million to the Red Cross alone, a spokeswoman said. But charity officials urged donors to keep giving.

Senate Democrats are expected to go on the attack as confirmation hearings open Monday for John Roberts Jr., Bush's nominee to become chief justice of the US - not so much in the hope of denying him the post, but to raise barriers to the future nominee to replace Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, analysts said. Roberts is to offer his opening statement after those of all 17 members of the Judiciary Committee, and a vote of the full Senate is expected in time for the return of the Supreme Court for its new session Oct. 3. Democrats have urged Bush to give them a "meaningful" role in identifying a candidate to succeed O'Connor "who will unite the country, not divide it."

Belgian Kim Clijsters took the largest winner's prize in the history of women's sport - $2.2 million - as well as her first Grand Slam tennis title by beating France's Mary Pierce, 6-3, 6-1, in Saturday night's US Open final in New York.

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