Terrorists May Pose as Vagrants, Memo Warns

Asking for increased vigilance since the London bombings, the U.S. government has warned that terrorists may pose as vagrants to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations to plot attacks.

"It is crucial that police, fire and emergency medical personnel take notice of their surroundings, and be aware of 'vagrants' who seem out of place or unfamiliar," said the message, distributed via e-mail to some federal employees by the U.S. attorney's office.

It is based on a State Department report issued last week. The warning is similar to one issued by the FBI before July 4, 2004; it said terrorists may attempt surveillance disguised as homeless people, shoe shiners, street vendors or street sweepers.

The e-mail emphasizes that there is no threat of an attack and that it is intended to be "informative, not alarming."

Court Will Not Revisit

Eminent-Domain Ruling

The Supreme Court, given a chance to revisit a heavily criticized ruling, refused to reconsider its decision giving local governments more power to seize people's homes for economic development.

So contentious was the court's 5 to 4 ruling in the eminent-domain case earlier this year that some critics launched a campaign to seize Justice David H. Souter's farmhouse in New Hampshire to build a luxury hotel. Others singled out Justice Stephen G. Breyer's vacation home in the same state for use as a park.

Souter and Breyer voted on the prevailing side. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who did not, sharply criticized her colleagues at the time. She wrote in dissent that the ruling favored the well-heeled over the less fortunate.

Legislators in 25 states are considering changing their eminent-domain laws to soften the impact.

Justices did not comment in refusing to reconsider the case, which had been expected because requests for a reconsideration of rulings are rarely granted.

Three More Detainees Released From Cuba

Three more prisoners from the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been released to their home countries, the Pentagon announced. A military tribunal found that two of them should no longer be considered enemy combatants; one was released to Yemen, the other to Tajikistan. A separate military panel recommended the third for release to Iran. Releases total 245, and 505 detainees remain.

-- From News Services