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Archive for Thursday, December 6, 2001

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December 6, 2001

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Washington, D.C.: Leahy anthrax letter opened

Scientists opened the anthrax-laced letter sent to Sen. Patrick Leahy Wednesday, government officials said. The FBI hopes tests on the envelope and its contents will help track down the killer.

The opening had been delayed for more than two weeks while technicians at the Army's biodefense lab in Fort Detrick, Md., worked out a method to retrieve all the anthrax inside.

Examining the contents of the envelope will be a lengthy process, taking weeks, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Five people have died of anthrax exposure since October.

Washington, D.C.: Missing foreigners tracked

The names of more than 300,000 foreigners who disappeared after being ordered deported will be entered in a crime database so police can help track them down, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said Wednesday.

By entering their names in the National Crime Information Center database, the missing deportees might be identified by officers in traffic stops or other identity checks, INS Commissioner James Ziglar told the House Government Reform subcommittee on criminal justice.

The INS has come under heavy criticism since the terrorist attacks for its failure to better track those who enter the country. The agency said it does not know the whereabouts of 314,000 foreigners who were ordered deported.

Washington, D.C.: Post-attacks security may cost states $4 billion

Security and public health demands could cost states up to $4 billion this year, governors estimated Wednesday as hundreds of state lawmakers gathered to develop new approaches for terrorism and its fallout.

"Bioterrorism, public health, airport service ultimately, it's going to cost us all," said Alaska state Rep. Pete Kott, who came cross-country to get ideas to protect the state capitol in Juneau and the Alaska oil pipeline. "We're all going to pay."

The National Governors Assn., in a preliminary estimate that it said could grow, figured states would have to spend $1 billion to protect airports, bridges, power plants and other critical infrastructure. Another $3 billion would go to public health and law enforcement needs.

Governors were seeking at least $3 billion from Congress to help.

Pakistan: Refugees to be expelled

Pakistan said Wednesday it would round up Afghans living in its cities and move them to refugee camps to make it easier to send them back to Afghanistan when peace returns.

After 22 years of war in Afghanistan, about 3 million Afghans live in Pakistan, but only 1.2 million of them are in refugee camps.

Gen. Rashid Quereshi, the spokesman of Pakistan's military-led government, gave no details of the move to uproot Afghans from cities. But the move was likely to create chaos in the country's Afghan community. Quereshi said details would be announced soon, but gave no deadline.

"Pakistan has borne the refugee burden for too long," Quereshi said.

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