An American Airlines flight crashed in New York's Queens borough just after takeoff from Kennedy Airport, killing at least 255 passengers and crew members. The Federal Aviation Administration could not immediately confirm whether the crash was accidental. Witnesses said they believed there had been an explosion before the crash of Flight 587, an Airbus A300 en route to the Dominican Republic. A senior administration official said that no threats against airplanes had been received, and that the pilot reported no trouble before the crash. (Story, page 1.)

In response to the crash, major New York airports, tunnels, and bridges were shut down. Other flights across the US were diverted, and the UN heqdquarters was partially locked down. At least 200 firefighters and rescue workers were battling flames in as many as 12 buildings in the residential neighborhood as the Monitor went to press.

President Bush and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, were to begin their long-awaited summit in Washington, then travel to Bush's Texas ranch for two additional days of talks. Bush was hoping to overcome Russian objections to a US missile-defense system. He'll also try to strike a deal requiring mutual reduction of nuclear weapons arsenals and to develop a broader, more cooperative agenda on other issues. (Story, page 1.)

Trace amounts of anthrax were discovered in nine US Senate offices over the weekend in the same building where a letter containing the bacteria was opened Oct. 15. Police believe letters delivered to the offices in the Hart office building may have been contaminated by the anthrax-filled letter sent to Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The trace amounts posed no immediate health risk, officials said.

St. Louis Cardinals star Mark McGwire announced his retirement from baseball. The slugging first baseman began his career with the Oakland A's in 1986 and became a national phenomenon in 1998 after the Cardinals acquired him, smashing Roger Maris' 37-year-old single-season home run record. His record 70 homers stood for three years before Barry Bonds hit 73 this year.

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