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News Briefs

President to Visit New York City


President Bush plans to visit New York City Friday to view the ruined World Trade Center towers and, he said, to “thank and hug and cry with” survivors and rescue workers.

During a telephone call Thursday, Bush accepted an invitation from New York Gov. George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to come to the city.

“I can’t tell you how sad I am, and America is, for the people of New York City and the tri-state area,” he said during the conversation.

He said he looks forward to personally thanking the people there who “made a huge display, for the world to see, of the compassion of America and the bravery of America.”

Bush told Pataki and Giuliani that he would begin the trip after a service at the National Cathedral on what he has declared a national day of prayer and remembrance.

Buildings Nearby Trade Centre Show Signs of Structural Instability


As rescue workers furiously dug for survivors Thursday, they toiled in the shadow of structurally unstable buildings shattered by the collapsing twin towers.

The Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management confirmed Thursday that World Trade Center buildings 7 and 5 and the Marriott Hotel have been destroyed. But more than 10 buildings forming a ring around the World Trade Center complex have also sustained heavy damage, including the Millennium Hotel, One Liberty Plaza, and Three Financial Center. Thursday afternoon, rescue workers were temporarily repositioned away from the latter two buildings out of fears that they would collapse.

Paul Wein, press secretary for the New York City Department of Buildings, said teams of workers were scrambling to ensure the stability of buildings surrounding the epicenter as quickly as possible.

John Filson, manager of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program in Reston, Va., said the World Trade Center’s foundations were based in granite bedrock, “which is about as solid a rock as you can get.”

The three heavily damaged buildings of the World Financial Center, however, were built on 14 acres of landfill in Battery Park City, some of which came from dredging for the World Trade Center’s construction.

Nevertheless, Filson and other seismologists and civil engineers agreed that the instability of buildings around the World Trade Center likely resulted from fire and falling debris instead of the relatively small seismic impact of the collapsing twin towers. Although not familiar with the specific damage to the surrounding buildings, Filson said debris spreading out from the collapse could have destabilized them by damaging the lode-bearing members of their frames.