USA

Jeep-mounted Stinger anti-aircraft missiles have been deployed in Washington amid concerns of a possible terrorist attack planned for this week, the Reuters news agency reported. Some units are defending the Pentagon, a target in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In New York, police briefly closed a bridge connecting the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx due to what was described as a "suspicious white truck." Meanwhile, sales of duct tape and plastic sheeting were brisk at Home Depot and other building-materials suppliers after the Homeland Security Department urged using them to safeguard homes from radiological, biological, or chemical attack.

In an escalating battle over judicial nominee Miguel Estrada, Senate Democrats vowed a filibuster to block his confirmation to a federal appeals court post. President Bush voiced irritation Tuesday at delays in confirming the conservative Hispanic attorney and chastised Democrats for what he called "shameful politics." Estrada is considered to be among Bush's top choices for the next vacancy on the US Supreme Court.

Another nomination, of William Donaldson to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, could come before the full Senate this week after clearing the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday. Donaldson, an ex-chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, has pledged to rigorously enforce corporate anti-fraud rules after the scandals at Enron, WorldCom, and other companies. He'd replace Harvey Pitt, who resigned in November.

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Presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts underwent surgery in Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital after announcing that doctors had diagnosed him with a form of cancer. Kerry characterized his condition as highly curable and insisted it would have "no impact at all" on his campaign for the 2004 Democratic nomination, although some party activists acknowledged it may be a factor in next year's primaries.

An intensive search was under way for a teenage girl who disappeared while delivering newspapers early Tuesday in rural Gering, Neb. Police said witnesses reported a gray Nissan Altima speeding away from the area where Heather Guerrero was last seen.

A Kerry blue terrier named Torums Scarf Michael took Best in Show honors at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show Tuesday night. He beat out 2,600 other entrants at the two-day competition at New York's Madison Square Garden.

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