Software distributed to hack Windows
Security researchers on Tuesday detected hackers distributing software to break into computers using flaws announced last week in some versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system.
The threat from this new vulnerability -- which already has drawn stern warnings from the Homeland Security Department -- is remarkably similar to one that allowed the Blaster virus to infect hundreds of thousands of computers last month.
The discovery gives fresh impetus for tens of millions of Windows users -- inside corporations and in their homes -- to immediately apply a free repairing patch from Microsoft. Homeland Security officials have warned that attacks could result in a "significant impact" on the operation of the Internet.
Microsoft's Web site is www.microsoft.com.
Bush orders merger of anti-terror lists
Cops on the beat, airport security personnel and officials who issue U.S. travel visas would have access to a single anti-terrorist "watch list" containing more than 100,000 names under orders issued Tuesday by President Bush.
The Terrorist Screening Center, a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week operation under the FBI's lead, will merge a patchwork of a dozen existing lists currently maintained by nine different federal agencies -- but not always accessible to the officials who need them.
The CIA will provide information on individuals with ties to international terror organizations, such as al-Qaida and Hezbollah. The FBI will feed the center its data on individuals sought for domestic terror activities, such as bombing abortion clinics or torching sport-utility vehicles.
President promotes clean-air initiatives
President Bush asked Congress on Tuesday to approve his plan for reducing pollution from power plants, trying for a second day to revive legislation that has stalled for more than a year.
His task grew more complicated when three House members, including a Republican, introduced legislation they said would reduce air pollution faster than Bush's plan. It also would regulate industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, which scientists blame for global warming and which Bush does not address in his initiative.
Bush first proposed a plan he dubbed Clear Skies in February 2002, but it has gone nowhere in Congress.
Surrender offer made to defense minister
In a letter shown Tuesday to The Associated Press, a U.S. general promised to treat Saddam Hussein's fugitive defense minister with the "utmost dignity and respect" if he surrendered.
A mediator said American forces also were willing to take Sultan Hashim Ahmed's name off the 55 most-wanted list and not prosecute him.
Special treatment for Ahmed could be an effort to defuse the guerrilla-style attacks that are taking a toll on American soldiers.
Ahmed is not thought to have aided the attackers.