Voter support for John Kerry has eroded, giving President Bush a four-point lead, according to a Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll taken April 14-19. After Bush's news conference last week that focused exclusively on Iraq, support for his reelection climbed one point to 44 percent, compared with the previous TIPP survey March 29-April 3. Forty percent of respondents favored Kerry; 4 percent said they hoped to see independent candidate Ralph Nader elected; and 13 percent were undecided. Although Bush's support remained fairly steady, the backing for Kerry slid 5 percent while undecided voters grew to 13 percent.

Bush is expected to lift trade and investment sanctions against Libya as soon as this week, an administration source said. Such a move would be the latest by the administration to "normalize" relations since the Tripoli government announced in December it would dismantle its unconventional weapons programs. A ban on travel to Libya already has been lifted.

A judge in Oregon ruled the state must recognize 3,022 same-sex marriage licenses issued in Multnomah County since March 3. Although the "historic" decision from Judge Frank Bearden makes the Oregon marriages the "first legally recognized gay marriages in the country," he also ordered the county to stop issuing same-sex licenses until the legislature has addressed the issue, perhaps passing civil-union legislation. Opponents of marriage between homosexuals were expected to appeal Bearden's ruling immediately. Multnomah County includes Portand, the state's largest city, and its environs.

USA Today's top editor, Karen Jurgenson, resigned in the wake of a plagiarism scandal that involved the paper's star reporter. Jurgenson announced her departure Tuesday. Jack Kelley, a 21-year veteran of the the nation's largest national newspaper, was forced to resign in January after it was revealed he had plagiarized or made up significant portions of at least eight stories.

Four people died after tornadoes hit three Midwest states flattening houses and leveling commerlcial properties. Hardest hit was was Utica, Ill., where witnesses described "utter devastation" as major parts of the town center were destroyed. Rescue efforts were continuing into Wednesday morning in Illinois, Indiana, and Oklahoma for people who have been missing since the tornados struck. Some were believed still to be trapped in the wreckage.

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