WASHINGTON

- An independent investigation into the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans is complete, and Congress will be briefed on its findings this week, the State Department said Monday.

The classified report by the Accountability Review Board will be sent to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, a day before the panel's two most senior members will testify in closed session before the House and Senate foreign-affairs committees.

An unclassified version of the report is expected to be released to the public after board chairman Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador, and Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appear at Wednesday's hearings, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Panel: Fatal fire in factory was arson

DHAKA, BANGLADESH

- A Bangladesh government committee investigating the garment -factory fire that killed 112 people last month said in its findings Monday that the blaze was sabotage, probably by someone who worked there.

But the panel said that no matter who set the fire, the owner of the factory also should be punished for the deaths because he neglected worker safety.

The factory lacked emergency exits, according to the committee, and only three floors of the eight-story building were legally built. Surviving employees said gates had been locked and managers had told them to go back to work after the fire alarm went off.

College athlete cut over racist Obama tweet

FLORENCE, ALA.

- The University of North Alabama says a walk-on football player is off the team for sending a racist tweet about President Obama.

The university said coaches made the move after Bradley Patterson described Obama with a racial slur while complaining that the president's speech about the Connecticut school massacre preempted an NFL game Sunday night.

Bradley allegedly wrote: ""Take that n----- off the tv, we wanna watch football," on his personal account, which was deleted shortly after the tweet was sent.

Mexico unveils new crime strategy

MEXICO CITY

- President Enrique Pena Nieto laid out a security strategy Monday that creates a new national force to combat organized crime and restore law to the distant corners of Mexico.

The paramilitary force will be set up with 10,000 members but may grow to 40,000 in coming years, following models like those of Spain's Civil Guard or the Italian Carabinieri.

To centralize anti-crime efforts, Pena Nieto said his government would divide the nation into five regions, each with a police-training facility. It also will set up 15 specialized federal police units to combat extortion and kidnapping.

GM's year-end gifts

DETROIT

- With Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks piling up on dealer lots, General Motors is offering deals to thin the stock.

It's matching or beating discounts from rivals Ford and Chrysler, offering up to $9,000 off remaining 2012 models and close to $4,500 off 2013s.

In brief ... * U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who used his status as one of the longest-serving and most powerful Democrats in Washington to funnel billions of dollars to his home islands, died Monday. He was 88. * 

Brazilian prosecutors say

Chevron Corp.

has offered to pay $150 million to settle two civil lawsuits stemming from an offshore oil spill in November 2011.

Apple said Monday that it sold more than 2 million iPhone 5s in China in their first three days of availability, setting a record for that market.

-Daily News wire services