President Bush said that the legislation he signed Tuesday authorizing tough interrogation and prosecution of terrorist suspects is "fair, lawful, and necessary." The law protects detainees from blatant abuses during questioning, but does not require that any of them be granted legal counsel and prevents them from challenging their detentions in federal courts.

A record 22.2 percent drop in gasoline prices last month contributed to the largest falloff in wholesale prices in more than three years, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The 1.3 percent dip in September was nearly double the decline analysts had predicted. Meanwhile, in a sign of a slowing economy, September's industrial output sank by 0.6 percent, the Federal Reserve said.

Despite government calls for a 30-year prison sentence, civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart on Monday received only 28 months for conspiracy to aid terrorist organizations, among other crimes. A Manhattan court judge said there was ample evidence that she had smuggled messages to her client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who's in prison for plotting to blow up five New York buildings. At the same time, however, he cited Stewart's three decades of dedication to poor and unpopular clients as the cause of his leniency. Prosecutors are considering an appeal.

The 6.7-magnitude earthquake that hit Hawaii Sunday occurred when a 36-square-mile plate slipped about one yard off the coast of the "Big Island," University of Hawaii seismologist Cecily Wolfe said Monday. No tsunami threat was produced because the shift happened at such great depth, about 20 miles below the ocean floor.

As much as 10 inches of rain fell in the Houston-Galveston area of southeast Texas Monday, causing widespread flooding, numerous road closings, and killing four people.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, whose financial matters have come under scrutiny recently, said Monday that he would amend his ethics report to Congress to more fully account for a $1.1 million Las Vegas land deal. He also said he would reimburse his campaign $3,300 for donations used for staff Christmas bonuses.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has emerged as the leading bidder to buy a 100-superstore chain in China for about $1 billion, according to The Financial Times.

Scientists unearthed a 154-pound meteorite Monday in Kansas with new ground-penetrating radar technology that might someday be used on Mars. The discovery, made four feet below a meteorite-strewn wheat field in Greensburg, marked the first time the equipment had successfully located a meteorite in heavy soil.

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