Washington: U.N. Security Council endorses interim government
The United Nations Security Council endorsed Afghanistan's new interim government Thursday but delayed consideration of the issue that humanitarian groups consider most urgent: the deployment of international security forces to safeguard distribution of emergency aid.
The day-old Afghan power-sharing accord showed its first signs of fraying as a powerful warlord and several leading clerics condemned the composition of the new government, which is to take over from the northern alliance in the Afghan capital, Kabul, Dec. 22.
Such declarations only underscored the uncertain security situation that persists across Afghanistan and is severely hampering the distribution of emergency food and shelter materials.
Washington: Civil rights official sworn in
President Bush's appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights was sworn in Thursday night, over heated objections of the chairwoman, in time for the panel's regular monthly meeting today.
A District of Columbia judge swore in Cleveland lawyer Peter Kirsanow in the evening, with Bush's top lawyer, Alberto Gonzales, looking on.
Gonzales had held out hope for reaching an understanding with commission chairwoman Mary Frances Berry that would allow Kirsanow to be seated for today's meeting of the panel that monitors civil rights enforcement, another administration official said.
Washington: Ports pressed to up security
Amid growing concern about the vulnerability of U.S. ports to terrorist attacks, the Bush administration and members of Congress pressed for new, stronger measures Thursday to safeguard the waterfront from expanding the Coast Guard's authority to check ships to requiring background checks of tens of thousands of port workers.
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta proposed a number of steps to tighten security at the nation's 361 ports, but several lawmakers want to go much further.
Congress is soon expected to take up legislation that would, among other things, extend to ports some of the post-Sept. 11 measures put into place to protect air transportation.