A failure of government terror warnings to give specific information hinders the ability of local police to determine what protective measures are needed and how they should be implemented, a congressional report said Monday. The study, compiled by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, urged the Department of Homeland Security to give details about the nature, location, and timing of threats, and guidance on action to take.

Officials at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, naval base began informing almost 600 suspected terrorists held there that they may challenge their detention as "enemy combatants" before newly formed military tribunals. The notices come two weeks after the Supreme Court established the rights of detainees to question their imprisonment.

President Bush vigorously defended his decision to wage war against Iraq, saying the US is a safer place as a result. Ousting Saddam Hussein, Bush said in a speech Monday at the nuclear weapons laboratory at Oak Ridge, Tenn, helped keep the capability for producing weapons of mass destruction from "terrorists bent on acquiring them."

John Kerry's presidential campaign spent $25 million on TV ads in the last month, more than three times as much as the $7.3 million spent by Bush's campaign, according to figures compiled for The Los Angeles Times and released Monday. The Republicans, according to an inside source, are saving up to mount an advertising blitz after the four-day Democratic National Convention, which opens July 26 in Boston.

CBS and ABC plan to offer gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions via the Internet. But their publicists said Monday that only one hour per night of each convention will be carried live on television. NBC-TV previously announced similar plans consistent with the general shift to use cable, digital, radio, and the Internet for in-depth coverage of political conventions.

A series of small-plane flights over the Washington area this week will be used to gauge the capital's air-defense capabilities, the Pentagon said Monday.

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