USA

In one of three state primaries Tuesday, voters picked candidates for governor in battleground Ohio, where dissatisfaction with scandal-embroiled Republicans could yield a political sea change in November. North Carolina and Indiana also held primaries Tuesday, for governors, Congress members, and for district attorney in Durham County, N.C., where voters were deciding whether to replace the prosecutor in the Duke University rape case.

A two-day public hearing on the Sago mine tragedy began Tuesday at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Four months after the blast, dozens of people were set to testify, including victims' family members, Gov. Joe Manchin, lawmakers, and mine-safety regulators. International Coal Group Inc. claims a powerful lightning strike somehow triggered the blast, but state and federal investigators were planning to press ICG to explain its conclusion during the hearings Wednesday.

The Bush administration forecasts massive disruptions if a super-strain of influenza arises in the US, according to a pandemic flu plan obtained by the Associated Press. The plan, scheduled for release Wednesday, advises the private sector on how to contain a potential pandemic, suggesting that employers have plans to keep workers at least three feet apart, that colleges consider which dormitories could be used to quarantine the sick, and that flight crews carry surgical masks for coughing travelers.

Enron founder Ken Lay told jurors Tuesday that he had sold his own assets, not the company's, to pay back bank margin calls in 2001. Prosecutors had argued that Lay sold about $70 million in Enron shares back to the company to cover exorbitant personal bank loans. Lay told the jury that since about 90 percent of his personal wealth at the time was Enron stock, selling those assets was a logical financial move.

A US district court judge declared Monday that Louisiana's juvenile prisons now meet constitutional requirements banning cruel and unusual punishment, ending eight years of federal oversight. The Justice Department sued Louisiana in 1998 for maintaining a violent and chaotic juvenile system. Department experts determined that reforms have made lockups safer and better at rehabilitating teen prisoners.

The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 101-83 on Monday to win their first playoff series since 1976 (when the team was in Buffalo) and set up a potential second-round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.

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