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The latest on Katrina's aftermath

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Check here for the latest information from the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast region and other affected areas. Items are time-stamped when entered.

N.O. levees suffered 'extensive damage' from Katrina, Corps warns

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- The levee system around New Orleans suffered "extensive damage" from Hurricane Katrina and may not protect the city in the event of another storm this season, a top Army Corps of Engineers official warned Sunday.

"Until we can upgrade the hurricane protection system, residents who return to previously flooded areas will be at some risk," said Brig. Gen. Robert Crear, commander of the corps' Task Force Hope.

Crear said repairs were being made "as quickly as possible," but he said the current condition of the levees "requires an urgent plan of action to provide an interim level of safety for the duration of this hurricane season."

Admiral urges New Orleans mayor to hold off plans to reopen city

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- With some residents expected trickle back into New Orleans on Monday, the federal official leading Hurricane Katrina relief efforts said he plans to warn the city's mayor against a large-scale return of residents.

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen said the lack of potable water, power and telephones and a weakened levee system could endanger returning residents.

"I don't think anybody disagrees on the vision; it's how fast we get there and whether or not we create the elements for a successful re-population of the city," he said.

Republican senators call for cutting 'fat' to cover Katrina

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As the country faces the monumental expense of rebuilding the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, two prominent Republican senators took aim at members of their own party Sunday, saying the federal government could find the money if it would drop some of its controversial spending.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said the Republican Party is "failing when it comes to controlling spending."

Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., said there is "a lot of fat in the current budget" -- a $2.4 trillion budget pushed by President Bush and passed by the Republican Congress.

Bush said Friday that the costs of rebuilding the Gulf Coast will be paid through "unnecessary spending," and some programs will be slashed.

But House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said last week that Republicans have already gotten rid of extraneous spending. "After 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good," DeLay told reporters. (Posted: 2:28 p.m.)

Louisiana official casts doubt that Bush goal on shelters will be met

BATON ROUGE, La. (CNN) -- The spokesman for the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness expressed doubt Sunday that authorities will be able to move out of shelters the 100,000 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina who are currently in them, a goal put forth Thursday by President Bush.

"That's something we would hope for, but something that probably is not going to be practical," Mark Smith told reporters. "That's a lot of housing to come up with in a month."

Last Thursday, in an address to the nation from New Orleans, Bush said, "Our goal is to get people out of the shelters by the middle of October. So we are providing direct assistance to evacuees that allows them to rent apartments, and many are already moving into places of their own." (posted 1:49p.m.)

La. death toll: Now 646

BATON ROUGE, La. (CNN) -- The confirmed death toll in Louisiana has risen to 646.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals provided that figure Sunday, saying state officials working with coroners from local parishes had confirmed that many deaths.

As of Friday evening, the confirmed figure had been 579. (Posted 11:40 a.m.)

Clinton: Dems should exploit Bush position on tax cuts

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former President Clinton believes the Democrats should pounce on and exploit President Bush's refusal to hike taxes to finance Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They should continue to oppose it, and they should make it an issue in the 2006 election, and they should make it an issue in the 2008 election," said Clinton, interviewed on Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week."

Clinton said America's deficit has forced the United States to borrow "money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts."

"We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else." (Posted 11:40 a.m.)

Republican senator: GOP 'failing' at controlling spending

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A prominent Republican senator and member of the Senate Budget Committee said Sunday the GOP is "failing" at keeping fat out of the budget and that rebuilding the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina offers Congress "an opportunity" to reverse that.

"We're failing when it comes to controlling spending," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told "Fox News Sunday."

Graham was responding to the assertion of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who said last week that since Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives, they have gotten rid of extraneous spending. (Posted 11:40 a.m.)

Mayor: Re-entry 'smooth and successful'

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- The return of some residents and business owners to portions of hurricane-devastated New Orleans on Saturday was "smooth and successful," Mayor Ray Nagin said in a statement.

"Many business owners coming back to the city expressed gratitude at being able to retrieve critical documents and other items," said the statement issued Saturday night.

But Nagin said, "we believe our re-entry plan properly balances safety concerns and the needs of our citizens to begin rebuilding their lives." (Posted 6:21 a.m.)

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