One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit this country crashed into the southern United States today (Monday), inundating the low-lying city of New Orleans.
The most violent portion of Hurricane Katrina -- the eye of the storm, surrounded by winds blowing at nearly 240 kilometers per hour and torrential rains -- has begun to move inland from the Gulf of Mexico. Weather conditions are deteriorating and will continue to worsen throughout the day.
Crude oil prices have soared to a record of over 70 dollars a barrel because of Hurricane Katrina's impact on oil drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Prices surged more than four dollars a barrel Sunday on news that energy companies evacuated oil rigs in the storm's patch. The evacuations along with closed refineries have cut oil production by about one-million barrels a day.
Iraq's president says the country's new constitution is ready to be voted on by the Iraqi people in a referendum in mid-October.
President Jalal Talabani says he is optimistic Iraqis will approve the charter. Lawmakers who have been debating the constitution for weeks presented the final draft to the National Assembly Sunday.
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