Sep 4, 2011, 11:43 p.m.

Storm Lee threatens Southeast with heavy rains

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - After testing New Orleans' flood defenses over the weekend, Tropical Storm Lee moved northeast on Monday after weakening to a tropical depression, and threatened to bring heavy rains and flooding to a large section of the U.S. Southeast. Moving slowly inland, the powerful rainmaker was on course to hit Mississippi on Monday and Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky on Wednesday and Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane center said.

Obama vows federal help for Irene victims

PATERSON, New Jersey (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Sunday urged Republicans not to play politics with federal disaster aid as he toured flood-stricken New Jersey and pledged to do everything possible to help states recover after Hurricane Irene. With rain-swollen rivers receding in the Northeast after the region suffered its worst flooding in decades, Obama was greeted by cheering crowds of several thousand people lining the streets of the working-class city of Paterson, one of hardest-hit from the storm.

No apology from N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg over aide's arrest

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declined to apologize on Sunday for how he handled the resignation of a former deputy mayor, who was arrested on a domestic violence charge. Stephen Goldsmith, the former Deputy Mayor for Operations, was arrested in Washington on July 30 after a fight with his wife. According to a police report, he shoved and grabbed her.

Tropical Storm Lee spawns tornadoes on Gulf Coast

MOBILE, Ala (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Lee spawned tornado sightings and alerts from the Louisiana Gulf Coast to the Florida panhandle on Sunday, and at least two deaths related to the storm were reported. More than a dozen tornado sightings were reported, and tornado warnings were in effect Sunday afternoon for portions of Baldwin and Mobile counties in southwest Alabama and Greene, Jasper, Perry and Wayne counties in southern Mississippi, according to the National Weather Service.

Australia's Howard a surprise 9-11 witness

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's former Prime Minister John Howard, a surprise witness to the September11, 2001, attacks on the United States, believes former U.S. President George W. Bush deserves more praise for his response and for stopping further attacks. Howard was in Washington when hijacked airliners crashed into the towers of New York's World Trade Center, the U.S. Defense headquarters the Pentagon, and into a field in Pennsylvania. Among the thousands killed were 22 Australians.

Burning Man anti-consumerism celebration goes non-profit

BLACK ROCK CITY, Nev (Reuters) - When the 50-foot tall effigy known as "The Man" burned to the ground on Saturday night before tens of thousands of screaming people, it marked a new age for the iconic celebration known as Burning Man. This year's event, appropriately themed Rites of Passage, begins a shift from a for-profit moneymaker into a not-for-profit with a reach that extends well beyond the strip of desert known as "the playa," Spanish for "beach."

Man taken off Los Angeles flight for making threat

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A man was taken into police custody after making a bomb threat on a flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, officials said on Sunday. Spirit Flight 245 left McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas around 5:30 p.m. Saturday but returned shortly after, according to McCarran spokesman Glenn Gardener.

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