Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002


October 20, 2002


Washington, D.C.: Bush promotes 401(k) protections

President Bush said Saturday that his administration was acting to protect investments of the 40 million Americans who have put $1.5 trillion into 401(k) retirement savings accounts.

"Turbulence in the markets reminds us that every investment carries some risk," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Yet American workers also have rights that must be respected and enforced."

The $1.5 trillion in the hugely popular 401(k) accounts "is real money for real workers, and we must do all we can to help make sure it's there for them when they retire."

Bush announced that the Labor Department will begin enforcing retirement plan protections Monday that Congress approved this year as part of a bill to overhaul corporate accounting practices. Under terms of the new regulations, 401(k) participants will be given 30 days' notice before being locked out of buying or selling in their accounts when administrative changes are ordered.

California: FBI director pays due to U.S. Muslims

A delicate balance must be struck to protect the United States from another terrorist attack without violating the civil rights of Muslims here, FBI Director Robert Mueller said Friday.

Mueller said that as head of the nation's lead agency handling counterterrorism, he struggles to find that balance.

"The overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country and around the world are peaceful, law-abiding citizens. A small number of Muslims, however, are members of radical fundamentalist sects sworn to the destruction of the United States," he said in a speech at Stanford University. "This presents a dilemma for those charged with protecting against the next attack."

Since the terror attacks, there have been a series of federal actions, laws and new regulations that have drawn criticism from some civil rights activists.

"Our nation does not have an unblemished record protecting Constitutional freedoms during times of crisis," he noted.

Boston: USS Constitution spat nears settlement

The USS Constitution will likely stay open to the public after the U.S. Navy and National Park Service worked Saturday to settle disagreements over security at the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat.

The ship's commanding officer and park service managers plan to meet today and resolve the issue for good, said Sean Hennessey, spokesman for the National Park Service.

The ship would then open as scheduled Monday, its 205th birthday.

On Friday, the Navy said a simmering dispute over funding for post-Sept. 11 security would close the ship indefinitely. But the weekend meetings apparently headed off that possibility.

The Navy pays the park service for security at the ship's dock, historic Charlestown Naval Yard, a national park. The ship was closed after last year's terror attacks and reopened with more security two months later.

Washington, D.C.: Candidate swears, 'It's no big deal'

Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate Steve Largent found himself on the defensive, after he swore at a reporter in a televised interview.

The former House member swore at a reporter for asking where he was during the Sept. 11 attacks. "That's (expletive) ... all this stuff about, you know, where were you on 9-11," he said, complaining that it wasn't relevant to his campaign. As has been widely reported, the Republican had been hunting in Idaho.

Gary Richardson, an Independent running for the office, quickly put up a television ad featuring a clip of the burning World Trade Center, a country singer crooning "where were you when the world stopped turning" and a narrator who observes, "We'll never forget where we were." The ad then jumps to a clip of Largent swearing, before the announcer recounts how he had been "out of touch while Congress was in session."

Largent's spokesman said, "It's regrettable and it's too bad that it happened. But are we staying up all night doing damage control? No."

Washington, D.C.: Army dispatches helicopters to Kuwait

An Army task force of Apache helicopters left Europe for Kuwait, continuing a slow but steady buildup of U.S. troops in anticipation of a possible invasion of Iraq.

The deployment of about 20 AH-64 Apache helicopters adds to the several thousand U.S. Army infantry soldiers already in Kuwait and provides the kind of firepower likely to lead an American ground attack into Iraq.

The last time the United States went to war against Iraq, in January 1991, the opening shots were fired from an AH-64A Apache gunship.

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