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Biden, Clinton to speak at Dem convention

DENVER, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Presumptive nominee for U.S. vice president Sen. Joe Biden Wednesday makes his first appearance on the stage of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

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In a speech Wednesday night, Biden, D-Del., is expected to argue that Barack Obama is the best presidential contender to strengthen national security, CNN reported.

Biden is to share the speaker's platform with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who heavily criticized Obama during a bitter primary season when Obama ran against Clinton's wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

Clinton aides say he may focus his speech on the economy and how to restore more power to middle-class families, CNN reported.


McCain aides: Obama not ready to lead

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Aides to John McCain say Hillary Clinton was less than convincing when she endorsed Barack Obama as the best man to be the next U.S. president.

Clinton, a U.S. senator from New York, endorsed Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, but didn't say he has enough experience to lead the country, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds pointed out in a statement reported by CNN.

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"Senator Clinton ran her presidential campaign making clear that Barack Obama is not prepared to lead as commander in chief. Nowhere tonight did she alter that assessment. Nowhere tonight did she say that Barack Obama is ready to lead," Bounds said.

Obama is expected to be named his party's presidential nominee at the convention in Denver while McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona, is expected to be named his party's choice for president at the GOP national convention next week in Minnesota.


Indicted U.S. senator wins Alaska primary

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Indicted Sen. Ted Stevens has bested six challengers and won the Republican primary in Alaska.

Stevens, 84, was indicted last month by a federal grand jury for allegedly concealing more than $250,000 in gifts from an oil services company.

He faces a tough general election campaign against Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage, who easily won the Democratic primary Tuesday and leads Stevens in polls, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Stevens, whose trial is scheduled to begin in late September, received 63 percent of Tuesday's primary vote with 61 percent of the precincts counted, the Times reported.

"People have been voting for Ted for 40 years and their inclination is to keep doing it," Dave Cuddy, R-Anchorage, a former state legislator from who finished second to Stevens, told the Times.

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Storm Gustav saturating Haiti

MIAMI, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Gustav, a tropical storm expected to regain hurricane status, hovered over Haiti early Wednesday, saturating the mountainous country with heavy rains.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 5 a.m., the storm was near stationary about 80 miles west of Port au Prince, Haiti, and about 155 miles southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba.

Sustained winds decreased to near 60 mph since the storm made landfall Tuesday with 95 mph winds and forecasters said once Gustav was over open, warm waters again restrengthening to hurricane status was expected.

Warnings and watches were posted in the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Jamaica, as forecasters said Gustav would likely resume a motion toward the west-northwest near 5 mph.

"Gustav should pass between Jamaica and the southeastern coast of Cuba on Thursday," the report said.

As forecasters warned of as much as 12 inches of rain from Gustav, CNN quoted local Haitian officials in Brazillienne as saying one man was killed Tuesday in a landslide.


Hijackers free passengers in Libya

KUFRA, Libya, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Authorities say hijackers remained on board a Sudanese airliner Wednesday after freeing 100 passengers at an isolated desert airport in Libya.

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"The two hijackers and the crew are still inside. We are continuing to negotiate with them," a Libyan official told Sky News.

The Sun Air Boeing 737 was hijacked Tuesday en route from Darfur's largest city, Nyala, to Khartoum in Sudan. The hijackers are believed linked to the Sudan Liberation Army, Sky News reported.

Libya gave permission for the plane to land at a remote and little-used airport in Kufra when the plane ran short of fuel. Some passengers reportedly fainted after the plane's air conditioning failed in sweltering heat, Sky News reported.

Kufra airport officials said the hijackers demanded more fuel and a flight plan to Paris after they freed the passengers.

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