Archive for Tuesday, March 1, 2005


March 1, 2005



Intelligence indicates Bin Laden recruiting Iraqis

New intelligence indicates that Osama bin Laden is enlisting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, his top operative in Iraq, to plan potential attacks on the United States, federal officials said Monday.

Al-Zarqawi has been involved in attacks in the Middle East. He has not been known to have set his sights on America.

The Homeland Security Department issued a classified bulletin to officials over the weekend about the intelligence, which spokesman Brian Roehrkasse described as "credible but not specific." The intelligence was obtained over the past several weeks, the officials said.

The government has no immediate plans to raise its national terror alert level, Roehrkasse said. But, he said, the intelligence "reiterates the desire by al-Qaida and its associates to target the homeland."

Bin Laden was in contact with al-Zarqawi within the past two months in an effort to enlist him in attacks, said an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


Pope has begun therapy

Pope John Paul II has begun speech and respiratory therapy following surgery to ease his latest breathing crisis, the Vatican said Monday, without indicating when he might be able to speak in public or leave the hospital.

Throat specialists, including one who attended the 84-year-old pope's operation Thursday to cut a breathing hole into the windpipe, said patients like John Paul should be able to speak normally again, although not as loudly.

But even as the Vatican's medical bulletin -- the first issued since Friday -- insisted the pontiff's recovery was proceeding uneventfully at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic hospital, Parkinson's specialists said the debilitating neurological disease may well figure in more breathing crises for the pontiff.

For the second time in less than a month, John Paul was rushed to Gemelli Thursday with breathing problems the Vatican said were caused by a narrowing of the larynx.

New Jersey

Snow storm plows along East Coast

Highway crews spread salt on roads and schools gave students an unplanned holiday Monday as a storm plowed along the East Coast with a threat of more than a foot of blowing snow.

Storm watches and warnings were posted as far north as Maine and snow coated roads as far south as North Carolina and eastern Kentucky.

"No! No, no, no! I'm ready for it to be hot out. I'm tired of the cold already," said Shajuan Carter of Irvington as she waited at Newark's Penn Station for a train into New York City.

Six to 10 inches of snow was likely in the New York City area by the time the storm lets up Tuesday morning, with 14 inches possible in northwestern New Jersey and the Poconos of northeastern Pennsylvania, and up to 2 feet in the mountains of West Virginia, the National Weather Service said. Eight inches was possible in Boston.


Fourth bird flu case confirmed

A 35-year-old woman who works as a garbage collector in Hanoi is the fourth person to be confirmed with bird flu in the past week, Vietnamese health officials said Tuesday.

The three earlier cases in the last week -- including one death -- were all from Vietnam's northern Thai Binh province. In the most recent case, the woman was the first person to be infected in Hanoi since September, health officials said.

Bird flu has killed a total of 46 people in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia since it surfaced in mass outbreaks on Asian poultry farms in 2003, then spread rapidly last year among birds across a wide swath of the region, devastating its poultry industry. Since bird flu re-emerged in Vietnam nine weeks ago, 14 people have died.

The woman was hospitalized Thursday and test results Monday showed she had the H5N1 virus, said Nguyen Duc Hien, director of the tropical disease unit at Hanoi's Bach Mai Hospital.


Brain-damaged woman's parents ask for divorce

Terri Schiavo's parents asked a judge Monday to allow the severely brain-damaged woman to divorce her husband, accusing him of adultery and not acting in his wife's best interests.

It was one of a flurry of 11 motions filed by Bob and Mary Schindler, who have less than three weeks to find a way to keep their daughter alive.

Michael Schiavo says his wife, who has spent 15 years in what doctors call a vegetative state, once told him she would never want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents have fought his efforts but Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer ruled that Schiavo can have her feeding tube removed on March 18.

The Schindlers' attorney, David Gibbs, said Greer had indicated he will not hear the divorce request and five of the other motions filed Monday, but that only means that the matters are now on their way to being appealed.

Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, called the new motions little more than an attempt to clog the case with further delays.

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