USA

The House easily passed a White House plan for detaining and interrogating terror suspects Wednesday, and the legislation could receive the president's signature Friday, contingent on anticipated Senate approval. The bill would establish a military court system for prosecuting suspects while granting them more legal rights than before.

Natural gas producers said Thursday that a record supply of stored fuel has led to declines in wholesale prices and should mean lower heating bills for consumers this winter.

The arrival of the Mars Rover Opportunity at a large crater rim could tell "new stories about the environmental conditions long ago," a NASA mission spokesman said Wednesday. The Opportunity has been exploring Mars since 2004.

General Counsel Ann Baskins of Hewlett-Packard Co. announced her resignation Thursday. Company executives were poised to tell Congress they weren't advised that HP's spying on board members and others involved illegal tactics.

Investigators in Bailey, Colo., Thursday continued searching for a motive in Wednesday's high school hostage episode, in which a homeless gunman shot and killed himself and one student when a SWAT team moved in after a four-hour standoff. Platte Canyon High School is about 35 miles southwest of Denver and a short drive from Columbine High, the site of one of the nation's deadliest school shootings. The gunman eventually released four of the six girls held.

The 2008 Republican National Convention will be held in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the GOP announced Wednesday. Democrats had also eyed the Twin Cities, but now will choose between New York and Denver.

After several months investigating her case, Spc. Suzanne Swift of Eugene, Ore., was charged by the Army of being AWOL, and failing to ship out to Iraq for a second tour of duty. Her mother says Swift, whose case is a rallying point for the antiwar movement, couldn't continue with her police company because she'd been sexually harassed by three noncommissioned officers.

After a lengthy political debate, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. finally opened its first store inside Chicago's city limits on Wednesday. Plans for another store were abandoned when aldermen refused a zoning change.

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