USA

A predawn blast shattered windows of the British Consulate in midtown Manhattan Thursday but caused no injuries, according to spokesmen for the New York Police Department. Although the explosion of two small improvised devices in or near a concrete flower box occurred as British voters were going to polls for a general election to choose their new government, investigators said they had no evidence linking the two events. Voters, however, had been warned that terrorists might target the election in various ways.

Only two days into the sentencing phase of Pfc. Lynndie England, the Army reservist who admitted to abusing Iraqi prisoners, the judge at her court-martial declared a mistrial Wednesday at Fort Hood, Texas. The surprise development grew out of testimony by Pvt. Charles Graner, the reputed ringleader of the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison, who said that England's actions in degrading inmates were a legitimate procedure. The case now will be sent back to the military's convening authority, which will restart the process.

The Marine Corps said a corporal who was videotaped shooting an apparently unarmed and seriously wounded Iraqi in a Fallujah mosque last year will not face a court-martial. A review of an enhanced video established that the marine's act, which he described as self- defense, was consistent with combat rules of engagement. It occurred as US and Iraqi forces were rooting out terrorists who had used the city as a haven.

Plans to replace the World Trade Center with the Freedom Tower, a 1,776-foot office building, must be redesigned to address security concerns, city officials announced Wednesday. The original design, which was unveiled in 2003 after a lengthy competition, will be reworked so the building can be placed farther from the street, where truck bombs pose a potential threat. The change could delay the 2009 completion date for the project by up to a year.

The Bush administration said it is seriously considering reviving 30-year Treasury bonds , which the government stopped selling in 2001, the last year it ran a budget surplus. Issuing new bonds could help to address a projected record $427 billion budget deficit this year.

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