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Dollar Loses Ground To Mark

The dollar fell against the German mark Monday as French President Jacques Chirac dissolved the National Assembly and ordered early parliamentary elections, heightening uncertainty about the establishment of the European Monetary Union.

Concerns about the plan for a single “euro” currency, which is to be launched beginning on Jan. 1, 1999, tend to help the mark, which is seen as a safe haven in times of European uncertainty.

The dollar also was hurt Friday on concerns about the monetary union, stemming then from reports that European Union officials had concluded Italy wouldn’t qualify under the EMU’s strict financial guidelines.

Exchange Currency in Dollars Dollar in foreign currency Canada .7151 1.3984 France .1745 5.7305 Germany .5890 1.6978 Great Britain 1.6353 .6115 Italy .000591 1691.00 Japan .007980 125.31 Mexico .127162 7.8640

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U.S. Gulf Coast prepares as Alberto brings wind, rain north

UPDATED: 9:03 p.m.

Florida and Mississippi launched emergency preparations Saturday ahead of the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto, a slow-moving system expected to cause wet misery across the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.