Two people reportedly were taken into custody by police searching for the Washington- area sniper. Authorities surrounded a light-colored van at a gas station in Richmond, Va., about 30 miles from the site of Saturday's shooting. Montgomery County (Md.) police chief Charles Moose, a central figure in the investigation, separately issued a statement to the gunman that "We are going to respond to a message that we have received." The French Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said a marksman at an elite military academy in western France had failed to return from a trip to North America, although a spokesman said there was no proven link to the sniper case.

In a move his administration estimates will save $3 billion a year in prescription drug costs, President Bush announced changes in federal rules to speed up availability of generic brands. Pharmaceutical companies no longer will be allowed to file multiple patent-protection lawsuits against generic manufacturers, which freeze the approval process for 30 months at a time, he said. The shift will "ease the burdens for millions of Americans, especially our seniors," Bush said. The high cost of prescription drugs is among the top issues in the Nov. 5 midterm elections.

Plans to expand NATO were on the agenda for the president's meeting with the alliance's secretary-general, George Robertson, as the Monitor went to press. Russia opposes membership for Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, Baltic states that were part of the former Soviet Union. Slovenia, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria are also candidates. Later, Bush was to attend a Republican National Committee dinner for major GOP donors.

The Supreme Court rejected appeals in cases involving Medicaid and the death penalty for young offenders. The justices declined, without comment, to block a lawsuit that accuses North Carolina of failing to provide adequate dental care for impoverished children. The state had argued it is immune from such suits under the Constitution. And while four justices said the high court should continue to reexamine capital punishment, it refused to hear the case of a Kentuckian convicted in a murder committed when he was 17. At present, 22 of 38 states with the death penalty permit it for offenders under 18.

New federal rules for organic foods took effect Monday, restricting use of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. They also bar irradiation, bioengineering, and the use of sewage sludge as fertilizer for produce labeled as "organic."

Baseball's World Series stands tied at one apiece after the Anaheim Angels beat the San Francisco Giants 11-10 Sunday night in a dramatic four-hour game. Outfielder Tim Salmon hit the game-winning home run. Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is set for Tuesday night in San Francisco.

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