Crews search for missing after Northeast floods

ALSTEAD, N.H. - Where Sally and Tim Canfield's home once stood, there is only open land. Their home was washed away by floodwaters, and two days after the rains subsided, their family found no trace of them.

Rescue crews and police dogs searched rivers and woods Tuesday for the Canfields and two others missing in New Hampshire after a weekend of heavy downpours that left at least 10 people dead from Maine to Pennsylvania.

Gov. John Lynch said the floods were the worst the state had experienced in a quarter-century, and he sought a federal disaster declaration. Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were expected to arrive later this week.

Corps finishes pumping out New Orleans floodwater

NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that it has finished pumping out the New Orleans metropolitan area, which was flooded by Hurricane Katrina six weeks ago and then swamped again by Hurricane Rita.

The initial flooding during Katrina was caused by water surging over some levees and breaking through others. At one point, 80 percent of New Orleans was under water.

Cholesterol levels fall in U.S. seniors

CHICAGO - Despite the sharp rise in obesity in the United States, cholesterol levels in older Americans have fallen markedly over the past 40 years, mainly because of the introduction of statin drugs in the late 1980s, a government study found.

Statins - which include such widely used medicines as Lipitor, Zocor and Pravachol - can dramatically reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, the bad kind that can clog arteries and lead to heart attacks. The drop in Americans' overall cholesterol levels resulted from a decline in LDL.

Bushes hammer nails in Gulf Coast

BELLE CHASSE, La. - President Bush said a lot of work remains to be done to rebuild the Gulf Coast after Katrina, as he visited the hurricane recovery zone Tuesday and hammered nails into a home being built for displaced residents.

"Out of this rubble is going to come some good," the president told several hundred troops at Belle Chasse Naval Air Station in a brief pep talk delivered from the back of a black pickup truck.

"I think we've seen the spirits change," Bush said in an interview with NBC's "Today" show. "Local people are beginning to realize there's hope." In the interview, both he and his wife, Laura, defended his choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. Bush reiterated that he was confident she would be confirmed by the Senate.

High court takes

up wetlands case

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court set the stage Tuesday for what could be a landmark ruling on government authority to regulate wetlands and control pollution, giving new Chief Justice John Roberts his first chance to limit federal regulation of property rights.

The justices agreed to take up claims that regulators have gone too far by restricting development of property that is miles away from any river or waterway.

DeLay lawyers

accuse prosecutor of misconduct

WASHINGTON - Lawyers for indicted Rep. Tom DeLay on Tuesday subpoenaed the prosecuting Texas district attorney in an effort to show he acted improperly with grand jurors.

The subpoena for Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, filed in Austin, asked that the prosecutor and two of his assistants appear in court to explain their conduct.

The lawyers previously had filed a motion asking for dismissal of the conspiracy and money-laundering charges against DeLay, who stepped aside as House majority leader because of the indictment.

U.S. apologizes for military's actions in Gold Train case

MIAMI - The U.S. government issued a statement of regret Tuesday for the actions of soldiers who took valuables belonging to Hungarian Jews that had been seized on a Nazi "Gold Train" during the chaotic end of World War II.

The apology was required as part of a settlement approved Sept. 26 by a federal judge in Miami between the U.S. government and about 62,000 Hungarian survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. The settlement calls for $25.5 million to be distributed to needy Jews through social service agencies around the world, with the bulk going to those in Israel, Hungary, the United States and Canada.

Los Angeles hit

by blackouts again

LOS ANGELES - A blackout hit downtown government buildings, Chinatown and adjacent areas Tuesday, but backup power kept key parts of City Hall and police headquarters running. It was the third significant electrical failure in the city since mid-September.

The blackout began about 9 a.m. and cut power to as many as 1,000 customers, affecting City Hall, the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration and police headquarters at Parker Center.

- From wire reports