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In brief: Ana prompts storm watches

Miami – Tropical storm watches were issued Saturday for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and other parts of the Leeward Islands as Ana raced west through the Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Bill, the second storm of the Atlantic season, formed further east and forecasters said they expect it to become a hurricane over the next several days.

The National Hurricane Center said Saturday night that Ana had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph and was moving west at about 17 mph. It was about 710 miles east-southeast of the Leeward Islands and was not expected to strengthen in the next 24 hours.

A tropical storm watch means tropical storm conditions are possible, usually within 36 hours.

Dodd released after surgery

Hartford, Conn. – Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd has been released from the hospital after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer.

A statement from his office said the 65-year-old was released Saturday from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Dodd spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said the senator is recovering well and is at home in East Haddam with his family.

The five-term Democrat announced last month he had been diagnosed with an early, treatable stage of cancer. He expects to return to a full Senate schedule later this month.

Dodd has said the cancer will not affect his plans to seek a sixth term next year. He is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and is playing a leading role as Congress seeks to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

President’s M&M’s now available

Aboard Air Force One – President Barack Obama finally put his stamp on a token gift treasured by travelers on the presidential 747 – boxes of M&M’s.

Seven months after Obama took office, the small boxes bearing the signature of the 44th president made their debut this weekend in the midst of a four-day, four-state trip through the West.

The patriotic individual-sized boxes containing red, white and blue peanut M&M’s were handed out on the plane Saturday.

On one side: the presidential seal and Obama’s John Hancock scrawled in gold. On the other: a yellow M&M marching with an American flag.

Mars Inc. makes the bite-size candy that has been a staple of Air Force One since at least the Reagan administration.


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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.