A split appeared to be opening between New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) and the new chief of hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts. Nagin and Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen are due to meet Monday to discuss the mayor's plan to allow almost 200,000 residents back into the city over the next 10 days for what he called "a sense of closure and the opportunity for a new beginning." But Allen called the plan "extremely problematic" because of concerns over the safety of tap water and the precarious levee and canal systems, which could cause a new mass evacuation in case of another powerful storm. Meanwhile, sections of the city that weren't flooded are to reopen this week, although some restaurateurs said it could take up to a month to dispose of rotted food, replace refrigerators, and properly prepare to serve diners.Skip to next paragraph
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President Bush is expected to gather Senate leaders from both sides of the aisle for a discussion Wednesday on his nominee to succeed retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. A presidential aide also reportedly has consulted with at least two other senators - Democrats Evan Bayh of Indiana and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland - by phone. Democrats are lobbying Bush to nominate "a voice of reason and moderation" to succeed O'Connor, who often cast so-called swing votes on decisions by the high court. Meanwhile, liberal interest groups such as People for the American Way were pressuring Senate Democrats to hold the "yes" votes on confirming Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr. to a minimum. Roberts is Bush's choice to succeed the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Two women died and at least 83 other passengers were injured - 17 of them critically - when an in-bound commuter train jumped the tracks on Chicago's South Side early Saturday. The National Transportation Safety Board quickly opened an investigation into the cause of the derailment, which happened in clear, dry conditions and within a block of another accident on the same line two years ago.
Ending weeks of speculation, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) announced over the weekend that he'll seek reelection next year to a full four-year term. Schwarzenegger's job-approval rating has slid in recent months amid intensive efforts by Democrats and labor unions to discredit him over ballot initiatives in a Nov. 8 special statewide election that they don't like.