Calling on California GOP members to "unite for victory" behind his gubernatorial campaign, Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) insisted he is the party's best chance to remove Gov. Gray Davis (D) in the Oct. 7 recall election. The actor spoke Saturday at the Republican Party Convention in Los Angeles. Republicans are divided over Schwarzenegger, a moderate, and conservative state Sen. Tom McClintock, giving Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante an edge in opinion polls.

President Bush asked Congress for an extra $7.5 million to fund special inquiries and oversight of troubled mortgage-lender giant Freddie Mac and sister agency Fannie Mae. The request, submitted Friday, would raise next year's budget for the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which the administration is seeking to replace with a new regulator under Treasury Department control. It's currently part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Revelations of accounting errors led to the ouster of two Freddie Mac executives in June, while Fannie Mae has come under fire for posting a 25 percent drop in second-quarter earnings.

Former Lt. Gov. Joseph Kernan (D) was sworn in as governor of Indiana following the death of Frank O'Bannon Saturday. After taking the oath of office at the state Supreme Court chambers in Indianapolis, Kernan declared a statewide day of remembrance Sunday in honor of his predecessor, who fell critically ill last week while attending a conference in Chicago.

Retail sales at US stores rose 0.6 percent in August, down from July's 1.3 percent increase, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The figure disappointed economists, who had anticipated a 1.5 percent gain.

It's increasingly likely that hurricane Isabel will be a "big event" for East Coast residents later this week, according to Eric Blake, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The Category 5 storm - with sustained winds of 160 m.p.h. - was headed west-northwest toward Puerto Rico on a course that forecasters said could bring it to land in North or South Carolina as soon as Thursday, although they cautioned that such storms are highly unpredictable. Authorities in South Carolina and Georgia were reviewing emergency preparations.

Johnny Cash, who died Friday in Nashville, Tenn., was revered as one of country music's greatest legends and as a strong influence in rock, folk, and gospel styles as well. Known as "the Man in Black," for his clothing and dark-edged persona, Cash won 11 Grammy Awards and was inducted into both the Country Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. Last month, his video for "Hurt" won an MTV Video Music Award.

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