Terror threat closes Baltimore tunnels

BALTIMORE - A sketchy threat to blow up vehicles full of explosives prompted authorities Tuesday to close one of the busy tunnels underneath Baltimore's harbor and partially shut down the other. One person who may have been connected to the threat was arrested on immigration charges, a law enforcement official said.

Traffic was allowed to resume by early afternoon after being diverted for nearly two hours, but the FBI continued to investigate.

The four-lane Baltimore Harbor Tunnel was closed around midday, and the eight-lane Fort McHenry Tunnel was reduced to one lane in each direction. The tunnels, both about 1.4 miles long, carry traffic between Washington and the Philadelphia and New York City areas.

Wilma upgraded to hurricane status

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Wilma strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday on a path that could threaten storm-battered Florida, tying the record for the most hurricanes to form in an Atlantic season.

Wilma is the 12th hurricane of the season, the same number reached in 1969, the highest since record-keeping began in 1851. At 2 p.m., Wilma had top sustained winds near 80 mph, or 6 mph above the threshold for a hurricane.

Long-range forecasts show Wilma could hit western Cuba or Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula before heading into the Gulf of Mexico by Friday.

Massachusetts city evacuated as dam's condition worsens

TAUNTON, Mass. - Authorities relieved pressure on a damaged wooden dam Tuesday as the water level fell in the rain-swollen Mill River, but an evacuation order remained in effect, and schools and highways were closed amid fears of flooding.

Mayor Robert Nunes said the 173-year-old Whittenton Pond Dam took a turn for the worse around 2 a.m. But the dam continued to hold as authorities adjusted the flow between it and a second dam upstream.

Taunton, a city of nearly 50,000 people, has received 111D2 inches of rain this month, including more than 7 inches from Friday through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Hikes on college tuition moderate, but borrowing up

Price increases at colleges and universities moderated somewhat this year, but students who need financial aid are still relying increasingly on loans to pay for higher education, according to figures released Tuesday by the College Board.

The average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year college hit $5,491 this year, up 7.1 percent from 2004-2005, according to the annual survey by the nonprofit group. That was the smallest percentage increase since 2001-2002.

Prices at two-year public colleges rose 5.4 percent to $2,191, while at private schools they rose 5.9 percent to $21,235.

Many had access to property where attorney's wife slain

MARTINEZ, Calif. - Despite fearing for their safety, criminal defense lawyer Daniel Horowitz and his wife allowed easy access to the sprawling hillside compound they were building - even posting a note on the gate that explained how to open it.

The number of people with access to the property - where contractors, neighbors and others came and went - could complicate the investigation into the killing of Pamela Vitale, whose body was found by Horowitz in their home's entryway over the weekend. An autopsy revealed Vitale, 52, was beaten to death.

Calif. storms trigger mudslides, power outages

LOS ANGELES - A spectacular series of thunderstorms rolled through Southern California, bringing walnut-sized hail and bursts of heavy rain that triggered mudslides and shut down the main highway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

At least one death was blamed on the storms. A gasoline tanker crashed and caught fire on Interstate 5 north of downtown Los Angeles, killing the driver, police said.

About 140,000 customers in Southern California lost power, utilities said.

Questionnaire: Miers supported ban on abortion

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers pledged support in 1989 for a constitutional amendment banning abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, according to material given to the Senate on Tuesday.

As a candidate for the Dallas city council, Miers also signaled support for the overall agenda of Texans United for Life - agreeing she would support legislation restricting abortions if the Supreme Court ruled that states could ban abortions and would participate in ''pro-life rallies and special events.''

- From wire reports