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News Briefs

New York City Heads Toward ‘Economic Calamity’


New York City’s economy will need more than $100 billion over the next two years to recover from the World Trade Center attacks, according to a preliminary study released Thursday by City Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

The estimate, which significantly exceeds earlier projections, comes on the heels of news that New York City’s municipal government alone is likely to face a $4 billion budget deficit later this year. And it confirms a growing perception that the nation’s largest city is facing an “economic calamity,” Hevesi said.

So far, President Bush and congressional leaders have earmarked a little more than $20 billion for combined recovery costs in New York City, the Washington D.C., area, where the Pentagon was attacked, and in southwestern Pennsylvania, where one of four planes hijacked on Sept. 11 crashed.

“Clearly, this is not enough for New York City,” Hevesi said. “What the president and Congress have committed is just a down payment on what it will take to ensure that the terrorists don’t succeed in destroying not just the two towers, but also America’s and the world’s financial capitol.”

Lawmakers Prepare To Revamp Spy Services


Faced with a calamitous failure of U.S. intelligence, Congress is beginning to consider how to revamp and reinvigorate the nation’s spy services in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Both sides of the aisle appear determined to upgrade the capability and reach of the nation’s 13 known intelligence agencies, and their estimated $30 billion annual budget -- the true figure is classified -- is likely to rise sharply.

The House Intelligence Committee has taken the lead in the debate. In a provocative report issued this week, the panel argued that the CIA and other intelligence agencies -- which were created during the Cold War to spy on the Soviet military and other major threats -- are ill-equipped to penetrate the shadowy world of transnational terrorism and religious fanaticism as personified by Osama bin Laden.

Koizumi Seeks to Ease Concerns With China And South Korea Visits


Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plans to visit China and South Korea in the coming days in an effort to allay fears that his nation is becoming more militaristic as it gears up to support a U.S.-led strike against terrorism.

Koizumi also hopes to repair the damage caused by a controversial textbook’s treatment of World War II and his own visit to a war memorial, which together put relations with Japan’s two neighbors on their worst footing in years.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Koizumi expects to meet with Chinese President Jiang Zemin on Monday and with South Korean President Kim Dae Jung on Oct. 15.

Beijing and Seoul rebuffed a similar summit offer from Koizumi a few months ago. The earlier cold-shoulder treatment raised fears that the prime minister might be snubbed at the summit of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Shanghai, China, later this month, analysts said.

They wanted to clear the air before APEC, said Hirokazu Matsumoto, an independent foreign relations expert.