USA

A Bush administration proposal to send US diplomats to Iran for the first time in 30 years has been placed on indefinite hold, officials told the Associated Press. The decision was shelved, sources said, to prevent it from becoming an issue in the current presidential election.

A $14.8 billion deal to sell Wachovia, a bank holding company, to Wells Fargo & Co. was put on hold Saturday when a New York State Supreme Court justice temporarily blocked the agreement. The ruling is in response to Citigroup claims that it has an exclusivity agreement that bars Wachovia from talking with other potential buyers.

Outside contractors perform more than 70 percent of aircraft maintenance for nine major US carriers, and 27 percent of this work is outsourced overseas, government investigators report. Their study indicates the Federal Aviation Administration relies heavily on the airlines to ensure that foreign facilities perform the work to US safety standards.

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Scandal-embroiled US Rep. William Jefferson kept alive his hopes of winning a 10th term Saturday by receiving enough votes in Louisiana's Democratic primary to secure a spot in a Nov. 4 runoff. Jefferson goes on trial in December on federal bribery and money-laundering charges.

The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs Saturday in their first-round playoff series, ending the Cubs' dreams of winning the team's first World Series since 1908. Chicago entered the playoffs with the the National League's best record, but was outscored by a combined 20-6.

Plans to build Pennsylvania's first Mormon temple, in Philadelphia, and a second temple in Mis-souri in the greater Kansas City area, which many Mormons believe was the location of the Garden of Eden, were announced by leaders at the denomination's Salt Lake City headquarters.

Sentencing of O.J. Simpson is scheduled Dec. 5 after a jury convicted the former football star late last week of kidnapping, armed robbery, and other charges related to his storming of a Las Vegas hotel room to seize memorabilia from his sports career. In 1995, Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman.

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