USA

Describing his state as a "tinder box," Gov. Jeb Bush (R) of Florida called in National Guardsmen to help fight wildfires that have consumed more than 8,000 acres. Officials are tracking about 50 active blazes and have ordered portions of I-95 closed in Brevard and Volusia counties because of smoke, which has limited visibility and contributed to four highway deaths. A fire in New Smyrna Beach that forced the evacuation of 1,000 residents was contained Monday, but authorities warned it wasn't under control.

US District Judge Leonie Brinkema, who presided over the trial of confessed Al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, rejected a motion he filed to withdraw his guilty plea. Brinkema said federal rules prohibit Moussaoui from changing his plea now that the Frenchman has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a "supermax" federal prison in Florence, Colo. In an affidavit, Moussaoui said that seeing how jurors had set aside their emotions in his case made him reallize that he could receive a fair trial even with American jurors.

At their party's state convention, Rhode Island Democrats endorsed US Rep. Patrick Kennedy for reelection despite recent drug-related troubles. "We do not walk away from our friends," said party chairman Bill Lynch of the six-term congressman and son of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts. After a late-night car crash last week near the Capitol, the younger Kennedy checked into a clinic for treatment of what he said is an addiction to prescription painkillers.

Jeanson James Ancheta, the 20-year-old who plotted to hijack some 500,000 computers using "bots," or robotic technology, was sentenced in Los Angeles to nearly five years in prison for spreading computer viruses.

Louisiana's Health Department said tap water is now safe enough that some residents of the badly damaged Ninth Ward in New Orelans can return home if they desire. Last September, hurricane Katrina broke water and sewer lines in the neighborhood, which borders the Mississippi River. Other portions of the ward remain virtually uninhabitable.

AOL said Tuesday it is laying off about 1,300 employees by closing a Jacksonville, Fla., call center and streamlining operations at other facilities in Ogden, Utah, and Tucson, Ariz.

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