USA

Despite missing a Sept. 30 deadline for negotiating legal points, European airlines will continue to transmit passenger data to US security personnel, US Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff said Saturday. Since 9/11, US authorities have required that 34 pieces of data about passengers on board flights from Europe to the US must be received 15 minutes before departure. A spokesman for the European Union said that talks are at a "temporary impasse" but are ongoing and will continue later this week.

Looking to overhaul the management of its levees, Louisiana voters approved a plan Saturday to combine 10 state boards into two, one responsible for levees on each bank of the Mississippi River. The governor is charged with appointing new board members with expertise in engineering, geology, and hydrology. A fractured board system was viewed as partly to blame for more than 50 levee breaks that led to the loss of 130,000 homes after hurricane Katrina.

Nearly 10,000 unused housing trailers, which became a symbol of relief efforts gone awry after hurricane Katrina, will now be used for other purposes, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Congressional passage of a spending bill late last week frees up FEMA to donate the trailers, parked in Hope, Ark., to municipalities, nonprofit groups, and American Indian tribes.

President Bush signed a bill Saturday that he says gives his administration the authority to impose mandatory sanctions against any entities that contribute to Iran's ability to acquire chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

Using software technology, an Australian computer programmer claims to have found the missing "a" in Neil Armstrong's famous moonwalk quote, the Houston Chronicle reported. Analysis of Armstrong's first words from the moon in 1969 support the astronaut's contention that he actually said, "That's one small step for a man, one giant step for mankind." Armstrong called the analysis "persuasive."

An unmanned commercial rocket that crashed shortly after takeoff Sept. 25, was found in the New Mexico desert, officials of UP Aerospace said Saturday. It was the first rocket launched from the New Mexico spaceport proposed as a site of British billionaire Richard Branson's space tourism company.

Democratic Party chief Howard Dean told Hispanic leaders Saturday that the Latino vote is critical to winning the 2008 presidential race. "We can't afford to have 45 percent of the Latino population voting for Republican presidents," he said, of party efforts to counter GOP gains since 2000. In particular, Dean advocates encouraging mail-in ballots, a tactic the Republicans have used effectively.

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