Amid intense security measures, the Republican National Convention opens Monday in New York's Madison Square Garden, less than five miles from ground zero. After an eight-state campaign swing, President Bush is scheduled to arrive Thursday to accept the party's nomination. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters have descended on the city along with delegates. On Saturday, abortion-rights activists marched acrossed the Brooklyn Bridge, and a massive antiwar protest was expected Sunday. Monday's featured convention speakers are current and former New York Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani and US Sen. John McCain of Arizona .

Bush described the military service of Democratic challenger John Kerry as "more heroic" than his own during a "Today Show" segment scheduled for broadcast Monday but excerpted by NBC over the weekend. At the same time, Bush said he also had served his country and would have gone to Vietnam if his Texas Air National Guard unit had been called to active duty.

Two men arrested in New York Saturday were charged with conspiracy to blow up the Herald Square subway station. Shahawar Matin Siraj, a Pakis-tani living in Queens, and James Elshafay, an American teenager living on Staten Island, never obtained explosives, but had drawn diagrams of the station "in order to facilitate planting of explosive devices," police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. The men, who reportedly also were targeting two other Manhattan subway stations, had been under surveillance and gave the drawings to a police informant, according to the complaint. They are not thought to be connected with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, but reportedly expressed hatred for the US.

Law-enforcement officials confirmed that the Pentagon's top Iran policy analyst is the target of an FBI probe into possible espionage. The investigation centers on whether Larry Franklin passed classified material on Iran to an influential Israeli lobbying organization in Washington. If not exonerated, Franklin faces possible charges ranging from espionage to improper disclosure or mishandling of classified information.

Just hours before his scheduled departure Saturday, Secretary of State Powell canceled a trip to Greece because of concerns that his presence in Athens might disrupt the closing ceremony at the Olympic Games.

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