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NATIONAL BRIEFS


MIDWEST: A summerlong flood threat

The scramble is nearly over to fill thousands of sandbags and put up last-minute levees to heights that haven't been needed in decades, but it's only the first round of what's likely to be a summerlong battle against the bloated Missouri River. Peak flows are expected to arrive early this week in riverfront communities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes a gradual increase of releases from dams upstream. The surge through the lower half of the river this week will expose any weaknesses in the flood protections. The Corps said this summer's Missouri River flooding could rival the record years of 1952 and 1993 in some places. The record releases from the dams are expected to continue into August. Parts of Interstate 29 have already been closed, and Union Pacific was rerouting some trains around Omaha.


CALIFORNIA: Texas guv at abortion rally

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, accused the Obama administration on Sunday of transforming abortion into a U.S. export and breaking faith with the nation's founding principles by supporting taxpayer-funded embryonic stem cell research. The conservative Republican's remarks at an anti-abortion rally amounted to a political introduction to a mostly Hispanic crowd of about 5,000 at a downtown Los Angeles arena. Two of Perry's former top political advisers fled Newt Gingrich's troubled presidential campaign last week, and Perry's scheduled trips to Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans could raise his national profile.


NEW HAMPSHIRE: Romney joining in debate

Mitt Romney's political backyard is the most promising terrain in his second bid for the Republican presidential nomination. It's also the most perilous. The former governor from neighboring Massachusetts is putting more emphasis on the Granite State, which holds the nation's first primary, than he did four years ago. He'll be in Manchester on Monday night for a seven-candidate debate.

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