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HeadlinesSeptember 25, 2001

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Group of Norwegian Academics Say Bush Should Be Awarded Nobel Peace Prize If He Avoids Sparking War

Sep 25, 2001

A group of Norwegian academics say that President George Bush should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize if he manages to catch those responsible for the attacks on the U.S. without sparking a war and causing further loss of innocent lives. The 12 university professors and other intellectuals nominated Bush in a Norwegian daily. They said their pacifist proposal was aimed to make the world think about ways of solving conflict without escalation of violence.

Bush Launches Financial Offensive Against Osama bin Laden

Sep 25, 2001

President Bush launched a financial offensive against Osama bin Laden yesterday, freezing the assets of the Saudi exile’s organization and its sympathizers, while threatening foreign banks with the same treatment if they fail to cooperate with the U.S. initiative. The order froze the assets of 27 individuals and organizations suspected of links with bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and other networks. It went further than a similar order issued by the Clinton administration, expanding the category of targeted groups to include all those “associated with designated terrorist groups.” The order also gave the Treasury Department the authority to freeze the U.S. assets and transactions of foreign banks which did not cooperate with the U.S. President Bush made it clear that European banks could be targeted, and said he recognized the country’s concerned might have to rewrite their laws to meet U.S. demands.

Bush Backs Off Admin Pledge to Quickly Release Evidence Against bin Laden

Sep 25, 2001

President Bush yesterday backed off the administration’s pledge to quickly release evidence against Osama bin Laden. He said doing so could “make the war more difficult to win.” Secretary of State General Colin Powell, standing at Bush’s side, sent an entirely different signal the day earlier, when he said the administration in the near future would be able to release a document that will describe clearly the evidence. The ruling Taliban in Afghanistan has said it would hand over Osama bin Laden if the U.S. presented credible evidence of his guilt. Other countries have also urged the U.S. to use legal mechanisms in its quest for justice rather than military force.

Saudi Arabia and UAE Sever Ties with Afghan Taliban Government

Sep 25, 2001

Saudi Arabia cut all ties with Afghanistan’s Taliban government today, saying Afghan leaders were defaming Islam by harboring and supporting terrorists. The move by one of the most influential nations in the Islamic world marks a major step forward for the United States in its effort to put pressure on and isolate the Taliban. Under intense U.S. lobbying, the United Arab Emirates shut the Afghan Embassy in Dubai and severed ties with the Taliban on Saturday, leaving Pakistan the only country to maintain diplomatic relations with the Taliban. Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization, meanwhile, issued a fiery new statement today warning Washington against attacks against either or Afghanistan. The statement read, “Wherever there are Americans and Jews, they will be targeted. We can defend ourselves. The holy warriors are fully prepared.”

WHO Warns Advances in Technology Have Made Possible Large-Scale Chemical or Biological Terrorist Attacks

Sep 25, 2001

The World Health Organization warned yesterday that new advances in technology have made it possible for terrorists to kill millions of people with chemical or biological weapons. The draft 179-page report was rushed out after calls for advice on how to combat germ warfare. The World Health Organization released the report as it emerged that an order would be issued in the U.S. today grounding all crop-dusting planes amid fears that those behind the September 11 attacks may have been plotting to use the aircraft to spray chemical or biological weapons.

Pilots’ Union Seeks Congressional Support to Arm Pilots

Sep 25, 2001

The nation’s largest commercial pilots’ union said yesterday it’ll seek support from Congress to arm pilots as a last line of defense against hijackers. The extraordinary proposal came as lawmakers and the Bush administration accelerate efforts to draft plans for expanding airport and airline security in the wake of the September 11 hijackings. A union spokesperson said, “This is a radical change for airline pilots, but it’s an indication of the threat.” He said the union envisioned a voluntary program run by federal law enforcement. Again, main U.S. pilots’ union wants members, the pilots, to carry guns.

House Approves Payment of U.N. Arrears

Sep 25, 2001

The House yesterday unanimously approved legislation that would provide $582 million to pay back dues to the United Nations — a reflection of how the political landscape has been altered by the attacks two weeks ago. For months conservatives have blocked the payment of the U.N. arrears. During a brief floor debate yesterday afternoon, followed by a voice vote, both Republicans and Democrats said the United States cannot afford to ignore the U.N.’s needs at a time when Bush administration officials are seeking a broad international coalition to support U.S. military strikes against Afghanistan. White House officials have lobbied behind the scenes for the money since the attacks.

Lawmakers Confront Ashcroft over Administration’s Proposed “Anti-Terrorism” Laws

Sep 25, 2001

The Bush administration’s urgent quest for new anti-terrorism laws bogged down in Congress yesterday as lawmakers from both parties expressed concern that the hastily prepared package could greatly expand police powers at the expense of privacy and other civil liberties. At a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee, skeptical members confronted Attorney General John Ashcroft and other senior Justice Department officials on a number of administration proposals, including one that would permit the indefinite detention, without trial, of immigrants suspected of ties to terrorist groups. They also said the administration is trying to force the package through Congress without giving lawmakers time to adequately digest proposals that could have serious unforeseen consequences for rights that Americans now take for granted. Right-wing Congressmember Bob Barr, the conservative Georgia Republican, asked, “Why is it necessary to rush this through? Does it have anything to do with the fact the department has sought many of these authorities on numerous other occasions, has been unsuccessful in obtaining them, and now seeks to take advantage of what is obviously an emergency situation to obtain authorities that it has been unable to obtain previously?” At the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, meanwhile, Ashcroft’s proposed expansion of a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs wiretapping of non-Americans inside the United States, ran into trouble not only with the Democrats and civil liberties advocates, but also with at least one Republican member of Congress.

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