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The decision to invade Iraq was made two months after 9/11, Bob Woodward alleged in his new book, "Plan of Attack," which reached stores Monday. The book is the third in recent weeks to chronicle the Bush administration's "early focus" on Iraq. Woodward, a senior editor at The Washington Post, also alleges that Vice President Cheney was a "powerful, steamrolling force" who had a "fever" for ousting Saddam Hussein and that Secretary of State Powell did not learn of the Iraq plan until after Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US was informed of it. The Bush administration quickly denied many of Woodward's claims, especially that Powell was out of the loop. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Powell was always "privy" to presidential briefings.

President Bush was to defend the Patriot Act as a valuable tool against terrorism and to call for its reauthorization in a Hershey, Pa., event Monday and again Tuesday in Buffalo, N.Y. He has been using campaign stops to tout the importance of many provisions of the act, some of which are scheduled to expire next year. The president has said that if Congress does not renew the Patriot Act, which expands the government's rights of surveillance and detention, it would show "willful blindness to a continuing threat." Critics say it allows for too much intrusion. Bush's Monday appearance in Pennsylvania, a key election swing state, was his 27th since becoming president.

A suspect in the serial killings of 12 women and girls between 1977 and 1993 around Kansas City, Mo., has been arrested by police there on 10 charges of first-degree murder and two counts of capital murder. DNA evidence led police to arrest Lorenzo Gilyard, a supervisor for a trash-collection firm.

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Five years after the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, plans for a memorial have stalled because of lack of money, reports said. Supporters of the $2.5 million monument had hoped to announce Tuesday there was enough money to begin construction, but less than one-quarter of the funds has been raised. A one-acre memorial is planned for a park, near the school, where cards and other condolences were left after the April 20, 1999, shooting spree in which students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and wounded 20 others before taking their own lives.

More than 20,000 runners left the starting line at noon Monday for the 108th edition of the Boston Marathon. But the second largest field in the race's history was confronted with the warmest weather conditions in a decade, with temperatures expected to reach the mid-80s F. The average temperature in Boston for April 19 is 57 degrees. Although analysts speculated that the heat would reduce prospects for any records, organizers said they were not worried about the weather because previous years have brought "snow, sleet, and ice." The Monitor will carry results of the race Wednesday.

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