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House and Senate negotiators reached a tentative deal on legislation that would significantly overhaul the US's aviation security system. Although lawmakers declined to discuss specifics, aides said the government would assume immediate responsibility for the oversight of airport screeners, who would become federal employees within two years. But individual airports that meet strict federal standards could opt out of the system and use local law-enforcement or private security firms for screening. Both sides also agreed passengers would pay a fee of $2.50 to finance increased security.

President Bush and Russia's Vladimir Putin wrapped up their three-day summit at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, although their differences on missile defense remained an "enduring issue," White House officials said. The two presidents visited a local high school before Putin headed to New York. Questions about the future of Bush's missile-defense plans were left unanswered, but White House officials said talks overall remained on track. (Story, page 1.)

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"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," set to be released in more than 3,500 theaters across North America this weekend, was projected by industry experts to likely be one of the highest-grossing films of all time. The Warner Brothers release, based on the books of British author J.K. Rowling, could surpass the record $72.1 million three-day opening of "Jurassic Park II: The Lost World" in 1997, industry analysts said. (Stories, pages 13, 15.)

Americans filed fewer new claims for state unemployment insurance last week, but the number of laid-off workers drawing jobless benefits hit an 18-year high, the Labor Department reported. The number of laid-off workers receiving unemployment benefits rose to 3.83 million for the work-week ending Nov. 3 - the highest level since February 1983.

The International Monetary Fund, meanwhile, lowered its estimate for growth in the US in 2002 to just 0.7 percent in an update to reflect effects of the Sept. 11 attacks. It had last month forecast annual growth of 2.2 percent.

Bush nominated Sean O'Keefe, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, to head the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and halt space station overspending at the troubled agency. O'Keefe, known as a relentless budget cutter when he worked as Navy secretary for Bush's father, faces confirmation by the Senate. He replaces Daniel Goldin, who is stepping down after a record 9- 1/2 years in the post.

Astronomers predict this year's Leonids meteor display, expected to appear before dawn Sunday, will be a "once in a lifetime" show. The Leonids display appears every November. This year, Earth's alignment suggests North America will be squarely beneath some of the most vigorous shooting stars. The most optimistic forecasts call for a storm of 4,000 meteors per hour around 5 a.m. EST. The Leonids are dust particles shed by Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which trails a cloud of dust as it orbits the sun once every 33 years. The meteors appear to come from constellation Leo.


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