In recognition of what the Bush administration called "truly unique and extraordinary circumstances," it reversed course and paved the way for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify publicly under oath before the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But the offer was on condition that there be no further requests for public testimony from any other White House official. President Bush and Vice President Cheney also agreed to appear jointly before all 10 commissioners, with one commision staff member present to take notes.

On their third try, Massachusetts legislators approved a proposed constitutional amendment Monday that would ban homosexual marriages while approving civil unions. To become law, the measure must be passed during the next legislative session, then approved by state voters in 2006. By mid-May, however, a ruling by the state Supreme Judicial Court calls for sanctioning same-sex marriages. Given the potential for confusion, Gov. Mitt Romney asked the court to block such marriages until the amendment process is complete.

After speaking to a juror whose behavior reportedly has roiled deliberations in the larceny and fraud trial of former Tyco International executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Schwartz, the judge denied the defense request for a mistrial and ordered jurors to begin their ninth day of work Tuesday.

Completion of a multimillion-dollar safety and security upgrade of the Statue of Liberty will allow it to reopen to the public this summer, officials said. The 151-foot statue was closed immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, although Liberty Island has remained open.

Legislation to provide long-term healthcare for emergency workers who labored at ground zero after the 2001 terrorist attacks was introduced in Congress Monday. The Remember 9/11 Health Act could provide health insurance to several thousand recovery workers who have experienced illness or injury linked to their work at the site.

Persuaded that a Justice Department investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, which killed five people, was on track and could soon unearth criticial leads, US District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington granted the government's request to postpone for six months a defamation lawsuit brought by former suspect Steven Hatfill, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Record high temperatures across southern California neared 100 degrees F., contributing to a low-level electrical emergency Monday when the state's power reserves dropped suddenly. No blackouts were expected.

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