USA

As his confirmation hearings opened, Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr. was advised by Senate Republicans not to "take the bait" in answering questions from their Democratic colleagues on such issues as abortion, capital punishment, and judicial activism. His nomination is expected to clear the committee in time for a vote by the full Senate before the high court opens its new term Oct. 3.

President Bush began his third look at the region affected by hurricane Katrina Monday, including a stop an on-the-scene tour of the heart of New Orleans. Conditions in the city have improved over the past week. Most of its 450,000 residents have been evacuated, floodwaters have receded, and work crews are clearing debris, shattered trees, and downed telephone poles from streets. As a public health measure, spraying for flies and mosquitoes was to begin Monday, following the restart of trash collection. Meanwhile, business owners in the central commercial district were allowed back in to check their properties and retrieve records and equipment that will be needed once they're able to resume operations. Many residents also were given temporary access to their homes for first time.

Ophelia, a mild Category 1 hurricane, was being watched closely as it spent another day swirling in the Atlantic Ocean with winds of 78 m.p.h. Forecasters said it could grow stronger and make landfall somewhere in the Carolinas Wednesday. Gov. Mike Easley (R) of North Carolina declared a state of emergency and put 200 National Guardsmen on stand-by in anticipation of damage.

Slugger Barry Bonds was penciled into the San Francisco Giants' starting lineup Monday after receiving medical clearance to play for the first time this season. Because of a series of knee surgeries, Bonds, who is bidding to become baseball's all-time home run king, has been on the disabled list since spring training. With 703 homers as of the start of a three-game series with San Diego, he trails only Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755).

Roger Federer of Switzerland won his sixth Grand Slam tennis title since June 2003 with a four-set US Open victory over Andre Agassi Sunday. Agassi, the sentimental crowd favorite, called his opponent the "best I've played against" in his long career. Federer, who hasn't lost a tournament final in more than two years, prevailed 6-3, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 for his second straight US Open crown.

Scientists were monitoring a slow-growing, 100-square-mile bulge in eastern Oregon that was discovered by satellite. Although the geologic feature is not considered an immediate threat to the area, seismologists seek to determine whether it's the beginnings of a volcano.

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