Blast kills 7 U.S. soldiers
An explosion Thursday at a weapons cache killed seven U.S. soldiers and wounded three more, in one of the deadliest incidents since U.S. forces deployed in Afghanistan. The U.S. Central Command also said an American soldier was missing.
An Afghan interpreter also was wounded by the 3 p.m. explosion near the city of Ghazni, 60 miles southwest of the capital, Kabul. The soldiers were working around a weapons cache when the blast happened.
Ashcroft: Bush would veto bill scaling back Patriot Act
The Bush administration intensified its defense of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act on Thursday, threatening to veto legislation in Congress that would scale back key provisions.
Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, in a letter to Senate leaders, said the changes proposed in the Security and Freedom Ensured Act, known as SAFE, would "undermine our ongoing campaign to detect and prevent catastrophic attacks."
Ashcroft said President Bush would veto the bill if it reached his desk.
The threat came a week after Bush, in his State of the Union address, urged Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act before it expires in 2005.
Disagreements cast shadow over terror convictions
Just six days after the World Trade Center crumbled, FBI agents raided an apartment and uncovered what they said was evidence of more plots, helping launch a case that would be hailed as a major victory in the war on terror.
Now, seven months after two Arab immigrants were convicted of being part of a terrorism conspiracy, investigations into the lead prosecutor in the case and the FBI's Detroit offices have intensified doubts that those convictions will hold up.
As U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen considers whether to grant the defendants a new trial, new allegations of misconduct by Assistant U.S. Atty. Richard Convertino are being investigated by the Justice Department.
Bush seeks $18 million increase for NEA budget
President Bush is proposing a big funding boost to the National Endowment for the Arts, an agency that once was a favorite target of Republicans. The money would go for a new program to give Americans an up-close look at their arts heritage.
The $18 million increase, a 15 percent increase in the NEA's funding, would be the largest in years. Last year, Congress increased the agency's funding to $122.5 million, up from $115.7 million but still well below what the agency received 25 years ago.
While federal spending on the arts has edged up slightly, cash-strapped state governments have slashed funding for theaters, museums and performance groups by nearly 25 percent.