USA

Al Qaeda plans to send terrorists across the Mexican border for attacks on commercial and financial institutions in New York City, ABC News said Saturday, citing anonymous sources. The warning didn't say how the attacks might be carried out or when they might occur, but the city hosts the Republican convention, beginning Aug. 30, and terrorists are generally thought to be planning something between now and Election Day on Nov. 2.

In a weekend duel of presidential campaigns, President Bush's multivehicle caravan nearly crossed paths with John Kerry's in western Pennsylvania. Both candidates beat the economic drums in the job-sensitive, swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and are expected to do so midweek in Iowa. Bush defended the pace of economic recovery under his watch, but Kerry scoffed at Bush's contention that the economy had turned a corner. The president's advisers are intent on chipping away at the momentum Kerry and running mate John Edwards gained at last week's Democratic National Convention in Boston. According to the latest Newsweek Poll, conducted Thursday and Friday, the Kerry/Edwards ticket owned a 52-to-44 percent edge over the Bush/Dick Cheney team with registered voters in a two-way poll.

The White House projects that this year's federal deficit will reach a record $445 billion, exceeding last year's largest-ever deficit by $70 billion. The analysis, released Friday, came as the Commerce Department announced that the economic growth rate slowed to 3 percent this spring, well below the 3.8 percent many economists expected. High gasoline prices were cited as a contributing factor.

Either Monday or later this week President Bush is expected to issue his first orders for implementing some of the intelligence reforms recommended by the commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, government sources said. While campaigning in Canton, Ohio, the president promised to improve port and border security and "dramatically improve" intelligence-gathering capabilities. A White House task force was wrapping up its review of the commission's recommendaand was expected to report back to Bush over the weekend.

A white tiger that escaped the Cole Bros. Circus in New York was safely recaptured in the Queens section of the city Saturday, but not before it caused a multicar accident on the Jack Robinson Parkway that led to minor injuries. After the police surrounded the tiger, its trainer arrived and coaxed it back into his cage.

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