USA

Lebanese authorities found maps and bombing plans on the personal computer of an Al-Qaeda loyalist accused of plotting to attack New York train tunnels. Meanwhile, a US official said that the suspect, Assem Hammoud, had visited the country at least once, in a trip to California six years ago. The official said Hammoud had a visa and was believed to have been visiting family or friends. Hammoudand two other suspects have been in Lebanese custody since April. Five suspects remain at large.

A four-story building collapsed in Manhattan Monday morning after an apparent gas explosion, causing at least eight injuries, followed by a frantic rescue operation. The gas leak may have been the result of a suicide attempt, New York Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta told reporters on the scene. In addition five passers-by and two firefighters were injured, Scoppetta said. The White House anounced that the collapse was not related to an act of terrorism.

The same court that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage ruled Monday that a proposed constitutional amendment to ban future same-sex marriages can be placed on the ballot, if approved by the Legislature. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Judicial Court said the state constitution does not bar citizen initiatives from making prospective changes to the constitution, even if thatoverrides a prior court decision.

State workers in New Jersey returned to work on Monday after a weeklong government shutdown that temporarily halted most state services and closed Atlantic City's 12 casinos for three days. The shutdown that began after the state failed to come up with a balanced budget on July 1, as mandated by the state's Constitution ended Saturdau after lawmakers passed a compromise $30.6 billion spending plan that boosted the sales tax from 6 to 7 percent.

A group of Internet gurus, political junkies, and foes of Sen. Hillary Rodham (D) Clinton of New York is pushing for the presidential candidacy of Condoleezza Rice even though she has said on repeated occassions that she has no desire to become president. She has declined, however, invitations to rule out a presidential bid in 2008.

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