Archive for Saturday, February 23, 2002


February 23, 2002


BEIJING: Bush's remarks on tolerance edited out of China speech

The Chinese government responded to President Bush's call for religious tolerance Friday by promptly editing out his remarks on freedom and faith in its transcript of a speech that Bush delivered on live national television.

Before the U.S. leader had even boarded Air Force One Friday afternoon to return to Washington, China's state-controlled media put out their version of the address he had given that morning to an audience of university students.

Almost half the speech  large chunks extolling American liberty and urging China to relax its political and religious restrictions  was simply hacked out in the transcript released by the official New China News Agency.

ATlanta: Suspicious package tested for anthrax at Army post

Civilian workers at U.S. Army Reserve Command headquarters found a bag containing white powder Friday, and initial field tests indicated anthrax, officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was conducting further tests. Security on the post was increased and the building was locked down for five hours, but the 200 people inside were later allowed to leave.

Initial tests that indicate anthrax often can be inaccurate. "Those field tests have a lot of false positives," said Lisa Swenarski, a CDC spokeswoman. Conclusive tests could take up to 24 hours.

The five civilians who found the packet and two civilians from the fire department who responded showered at the fort, said Col. Guy Shields, a fort spokesman.

Italy: Court convicts suspected head of bin Laden group

An Italian court convicted the suspected head of Osama bin Laden's European arm, handing down the first guilty verdict in Europe tied to the al-Qaida network since the Sept. 11 attacks.

But the judge on Friday gave him a reduced, five-year sentence on charges not directly related to terrorism, under a relatively lenient Italian law in place before Sept. 11.

Essid Sami Ben Khemais, a Tunisian known as "the Saber," was convicted on charges he intended to obtain and transport arms, explosives and chemicals. He was acquitted of actually possessing the weapons.

Three other Tunisians who were tried with him were convicted on similar charges.

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