The presumptive Democratic ticket – presidential candidate Barack Obama – and his to-be-announced running mate will campaign together for the first time Saturday in Springfield, Ill., according to a senior Obama adviser. Springfield is where Obama announced his candidacy.

Forecasters expect tropical storm Fay to get a dose of energy Wednesday as it moves over the Atlantic Ocean, where it could linger and possibly reach hurricane strength. Fay made a west-to-east pass through Florida Tuesday without major disruptions.

The Environmental Protection Agency warned five Midwest states – Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin – that a number of counties in each are in violation of new standards that outdoor pollution particles be no bigger than 2.5 micrometers. The EPA is seeking comments from the states before issuing its final soot noncompliance list.

An estimated 72 million Ameri-cans, or 41 percent, had trouble paying for medical care in 2007, with some slipping far enough behind to face collection agencies, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes better access to healthcare. That's a 7 percent increase in two years.

All 114 federal prisons are expected to have e-mail available for inmates by 2011, officials say. Inmates at 20 US facilities currently have in-boxes. E-mail reduces the amount of paper mail that can sometimes hide drugs and other contraband and can help prisoners stay in more regular contact with their families.

Construction on "virtual fence"

projects along Arizona's border with Mexico is on hold indefinitely because the Interior Department hasn't signed off on use of its lands, federal officials said. Interior officials haven't accepted an environmental assessment produced for the US border patrol.

In primary balloting, Washington state voters Tuesday ensured that Democractic Gov. Chris Gregoire will square off again with her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, in certainly the nation's most competitive gubernatorial battle. In a 2004 cliffhanger, Gregoire prevailed by 133 votes after a second recount. Above, a couple staffed one of several drive-up "Vote by Mail Express Booth" stations in Tacoma.

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