USA

Although heavy rain tapered off Tuesday, the National Weather Service warned that western Washington State could experience record flooding. Some areas received more than six inches of rain over 24 hours, leading to mud and rock slides that blocked highways and caused one death. Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) has declared a state of emergency for 18 counties, and the main road to Mount Ranier National Park was closed to prevent visitors from being stranded.

A clemency application by US-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh, captured in Afghanistan in 2001, elicited legal arguments Monday in a Manhattan courtroom. A lawyer for the Associated Press urged making Lindh's written pleas for clemency public on the grounds of widespread interest in his 20-year federal prison sentence. The government's attorney argued that the AP can't "meet its burden" of showing evidence of prosecution misconduct in the case. Lindh, who first applied for clemency in 2004, is being held at a medium-security penitentiary in Victorville, Calif.

A US District judge cleared the way Tuesday for a Pablo Picasso painting worth as much as $60 million to go on the auction block Wednesday in New York. Earlier, the judge had temporarily blocked the sale after the heir to a Berlin banker of Jewish descent claimed that the family had been forced by the Nazis to sell "Portrait de Angel Fernandez de Soto" during World War II.

Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson on Monday became the third serviceman to plead guilty to reduced assault and conspiracy charges in the execution-style killing of an Iraqi who'd been mistaken for an insurgent. In the plea, entered by his attorney at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jackson said he fired rounds above the man because he didn't want to be the one to shoot him. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison during sentencing on Nov. 16.

Silicon Valley-based Intel Corp., the world's largest computer- chip maker, received permission from the Vietnamese government Tuesday to increase its initial investment there to $1 billion, a $300 million jump. Intel is building a chip assembly and testing plant in Ho Chi Minh City. The plant represents the largest single US investment in the country since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

Professional and amateur astronomers are expected to watch a rare occurrence Wednesday – the planet Mercury traveling between the sun and Earth on a five-hour "transit" that begins at 2:12 p.m. ET. The event, which requires a properly filtered telescope to watch safely, occurs about 13 times a century and won't happen again until 2016.

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