USA

Executives of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have discussed a possible merger or alliance, the trade journal Automotive News reported Monday. Both companies declined comment on the report. The news comes as GM and Ford have been slashing their work forces and closing plants to reverse multibillion-dollar losses. In July, GM, Renault SA of France, and Nissan Motor Co. of Japan announced a 90-day review of an alliance among them.

America's foreign trade deficit – including goods, services, and investments – increased to the second-highest level in history, reflecting a jump in foreign oil prices. The Commerce Department reported Monday that the deficit grew to $18.4 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 2.4 percent over the first three months of the year.

A spill of toxic liquids aboard the International Space Station Monday set off fears of a fire aboard the outpost. The leak occurred near a Russian oxygen-generator, which splits water into oxygen for breathing and hydrogen that is dumped overboard. The crew said the leak was likely potassium hydroxide, an irritant that is not life threatening.

An armed man crashed his SUV into a security barricade at the US Capitol on Monday and ran into the building, before police arrested him. The man, armed with a gun, ran through the Rotunda and down a stairway into the basement, according to a security officer. He said the man appeared to be having a seizure, and was taken to the hospital.

The AP reported that one of its photographers, 35-year-old Iraqi Bilal Hussein, has been detained by the US military in Iraq since April without charges or public hearing for "imperative reasons of security." AP executives have urged the military to submit any evidence against Hussein to the Iraqi criminal justice system.

Voters in Massachusetts and Washington State will head to the polls Tuesday for their 2006 primaries. In the Bay State's gubernatorial race, Democratic front-runner Deval Patrick climbed from 22 percent in March to a 46 percent lead in the three-way primary, according to a Boston Globe/CBS4-TV poll released Sunday. Washington will choose its Senate, House, and state legislative candidates Tuesday.

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