USA

President Bush will meet with his National Security Council and Homeland Security teams Tuesday in Washington as he continues a postvacation series of strategy sessions. On Monday, after a shorter than usual stay at his Texas ranch, he met with his defense policy team, had lunch with experts on Iraq, and was briefed on the latest international issues by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Howard Dean, national chairman of the Democratic Party, said that defeated incumbent Joseph Lieberman should drop out of Connecticut's US Senate race instead of running as an independent in a three-way battle. Meanwhile, comments by Lieberman and Vice President Cheney about the antiwar stance of Ned Lamont, who defeated Lieberman in last week's state primary, roiled the political waters. In separate interviews, they suggested that Lamont's primary win could be a source of encouragement to terrorists. Lamont said his critics "were wrong to use that attack."

A district court magistrate in Caro, Mich., has scheduled a pretrial hearing Friday for three men of Middle Eastern descent who were arrested late last week for collecting or providing materials for terrorist acts and surveillance of a vulnerable target. The defendants, all from Texas, had purchased 80 cellphones and had about 1,000 altogether in a van. Prosecutors say they think the men were targeting the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas.

The average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline has hit a record $3.025, according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 service stations nationwide. This is about a cent higher than the price three weeks ago.

The Transportation Security Administration said that airline passengers may carry on board up to 4 ounces of liquid nonprescription medicine. Easing the ban on liquids carried on planes is among the adjustments the TSA continues to make since last week's foiled terrorist plot involving airplanes bound from Britain to the US. All passengers must now remove their shoes for security checks. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said screeners need more training to look for makeshift detonation devices.

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