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In brief for Aug. 9, 2006

'Katrina event' plan all wet? A plan floated by New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin in July to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster with a three-day series of special events--including a charity jewel auction at Harrah's Casino and a talent search--has drawn some criticism from residents who say they need funding and attention dedicated to rebuilding stricken areas. The proposed event schedule also includes a prayer breakfast, a "procession" in the tradition of a jazz funeral and a televised concert featuring Grammy Award winner Wynton Marsalis ...

Passport e-date could be at risk Electronic passports now being rolled out by the U.S. and other countries are vulnerable to criminals cloning embedded security data and using the data to create fake passports. A German security expert made the claim last weekend at Defcon in Las Vegas, which bills itself as the "largest underground hacking event in the world," according to an Associated Press report. The U.S. State Department plans to begin using the radio frequency identification technology in passports in October ...

Gaza siege doesn't spoil wedding gala Despite the pain of economic sanctions and military strife, some 200 couples held a mass wedding reception in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports. With the costs of hosting a wedding celebration beyond the grasp of most engaged couples in Gaza, where the unemployment rate is 40 percent, mass celebrations have become more common.

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