SANAA, YEMEN -

Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen has offered to pay tens of thousands of dollars to anyone who kills the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa or an American soldier in the country.

An audio produced by the group's media arm, the al-Malahem Foundation, and posted on militant websites Saturday said that it offered three kilograms of gold worth $160,000 for killing the ambassador, Gerald Feierstein. The group said that it will pay 5 million Yemeni riyals ($23,000) to anyone who kills an American soldier inside Yemen.

It said the offer is valid for six months.

The bounties were set to "inspire and encourage our Muslim nation for jihad," the statement said.

Washington considers al Qaeda in Yemen to be the group's most dangerous branch.

Psych test for subway pusher

NEW YORK -

A woman suspected in the death of an immigrant who was pushed off a New York City subway platform has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Erika Menendez, 31, was arraigned Saturday night on a charge of murder as a hate crime. Judge Gia Morris ordered that Menendez be held without bail and be given a mental health exam.

"I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001, when they put down the Twin Towers, I've been beating them up," Menendez told police, according to the district attorney's office.

Menendez is charged in the death of Sunando Sen, who was crushed by a train in Queens on Thursday night. Friends and co-workers said Sen, a 46-year-old Indian immigrant, was Hindu.

Prez signs extension of surveillance bill

WASHINGTON - President Obama has signed into law a five-year extension of the U.S. government's authority to monitor the overseas activity of suspected foreign spies and terrorists.

The warrantless intercept program would have expired at the end of 2012 without the president's approval. The renewal bill won final passage in the Senate on Friday. Known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law allows the government to monitor overseas phone calls and emails without obtaining a court order for each intercept.

The law does not apply to Americans. When Americans are targeted for surveillance, the government must get a warrant from a special 11-judge court of U.S. district judges appointed by the Supreme Court.

Envoy warns of Syria's "full collapse"

BEIRUT - The international envoy seeking to end Syria's civil war warned Sunday that the failure of the government and the rebels to pursue a political solution could lead to the "full collapse of the Syrian state" and threaten the world's security.

Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the United Nations and the Arab League, said that as many as 100,000 people could be killed in the next year as Syria moves toward "Somalization" and rule by warlords.

Brahimi has pushed a proposal calling for an open-ended cease-fire and the formation of a transitional government to run the country until new elections can be held and a new constitution drafted.

But so far, neither the regime of President Bashar Assad nor the scores of rebels groups fighting his forces across the country have shown any interest in negotiations.

- Daily News wire services