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Construction spending declined 0.6 percent in July, double the dip analysts had expected, as housing activity fell to its lowest level in seven years and nonresidential activity dropped off for the first time in seven months, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Demonstrations near the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., turned violent Monday as protesters harassed delegates, smashed windows, slashed car tires, and threw bottles. Police using pepper spray arrested more than 250 people. Many of those involved in the more violent activities identified themselves to reporters as anarchists.

Hurricane Hanna, a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 80 m.p.h., was expected to strengthen Wednesday and threaten the East Coast from Florida to the Carolinas, the US National Hurricane Center said.

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