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New Orleans Levees to Be 'Stronger and Safer'

A top U.S. official says the levee system that failed in New Orleans earlier this year will be rebuilt "stronger and safer than ever before".

But the federal head of reconstruction efforts, Donald Powell Thursday stopped short of saying the new, reinforced levees would withstand a hurricane stronger than Katrina, which triggered the levee failure in August. Katrina was a Category Three storm, on a scale that reaches a devastating Category Five.

At the same White House news conference, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said it is time for his city's residents to return home. He said the city now has the three things needed to lure residents and businesses back - tax incentives, money for new housing and reconstruction, and the new levee system, set to be completed before the beginning of next year's hurricane season.