Washington, D.C.: Attacks lower trade deficit
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed by a record amount in September, but for all the wrong reasons growing economic weakness at home and huge insurance payments as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the trade gap shrank by 31 percent to $18.7 billion, the smallest imbalance in 2 1/2 years.
The decline in the deficit reflected a huge 14 percent drop in imports of goods and services, which offset an 8.5 percent decline in U.S. exports.
The big drop in imports occurred primarily because of an estimated $11 billion in claims foreign insurance firms will pay for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In the government's accounting system, those payments worked to lower service imports and were treated as if all the payments were made in one month.
New York City: Leaders call for new agency to oversee WTC cleanup
A group of elected officials has urged the city to create an agency to oversee the environmental cleanup of the World Trade Center site.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields said Monday that the numerous agencies working at the site have made it difficult to obtain reliable information about environmental safety conditions.
"We are concerned that the cleanup process up to date is not being administered in a uniform way, that some areas are being properly decontaminated and others are not being cleaned at all," said Nadler.
The Democrats also released a report showing that the air in lower Manhattan has tested positive for dangerous levels of asbestos and other toxins.