A nine-foot aluminum beam was left inside the engine compartment of the space shuttle Atlantis because of human error, investigators said. Damage to the craft was not expected to delay a secret military flight by Atlantis in early November.

Scores of San Jose State University students, at least 21 of whom were injured, were rescued from a burning three-story dormitory as they hung from windows of the top floor, screaming for help. Authorities said the two-alarm blaze about 6 a.m. PDT was of suspicious origin.

LaShella Lanett Allen, 18, has been charged in Pompano Beach, Fla., with child abuse for leaving pieces of crack cocaine on the coffee table of her apartment where her 14-month-old son found them, ate some and slipped into a potentially fatal coma.

State authorities grounded the barge fleet of a family-run shipping business with a history of accidents and illegal operations. One barge lost 50,000 gallons of oil Sept. 27 in the most recent of several unrelated spills that have dumped more than 1 million gallons of petroleum products into the New York harbor during the last year.

A North Carolina judge skipped his usual opening prayer for the court after a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge James McMillan said Mecklenburg County Judge Bill Constangy's prayer was tantamount to government establishing religion.Charles Rothenberg, 50, convicted of torching his son, David, then 6, in a motel room in 1983, must stay in San Quentin Prison because he violated his parole, officials said.