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USA

By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / October 16, 2006



The US population is expected to reach 300 million Tuesday for the first time, only 39 years after the 200 million mark was surpassed. The total includes an estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants. California claims both the fastest-growing city (Elk Grove) and metropolitan area (Riverside).

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Possible final approval of the $80.8 billion merger of AT&TInc. and BellSouth Corp. won't occur until at least Nov. 3, the Federal Communications Commission has announced. The commission was to have voted on AT&T's buyout plan Friday, but new details have surfaced, prompting the delay.

New Federal Aviation Administration restrictions were put in place over the weekend for planes flying above New York's East River along Manhattan. The FAA's decision, which limits small-plane access to the airspace, follows last week's crash into an Upper East Side apartment building by a plane owned by Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle.

President Bush helped dedicate the $30 million Air Force Memorial Saturday on a ridge next to Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery. The memorial uses three soaring steel spires to evoke the "bomb burst" precision-flying maneuver made famous by the Air Force Thunderbirds.

The National Weather Service posted a flood watch in and around Buffalo, N.Y., over the weekend as nearly two feet of snow began melting rapidly. Utility crews scrambled to restore power to several hundred thousand customers.

Former President Bill Clinton told 3,500 party activists at a Democratic fundraiser in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday, that he'd "never seen the American people so serious" as they are heading into Nov. 7 midterm elections. He accused an "extreme sliver" of the Republican Party of dividing the country while avoiding talk about a possible White House bid by his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) of New York, in 2008.

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