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News Briefs

$80 Million Frozen So Far in Terrorism War, Officials Say

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- WASHINGTON

Four months into the United States’ financial war on terrorism, federal authorities have helped freeze $80 million in terrorist money worldwide, arrested at least 11 people, secured three indictments and seized more than $12.5 million, officials said Tuesday.

Their efforts have also resulted in more than 200 ongoing criminal investigations into groups and individuals suspected of financing terrorist activities since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Some of those probes focus on al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, while others target apparently unrelated terrorist organizations operating in the United States and abroad.

Of the $80 million, about $34 million has been frozen in the United States and the remaining $46 million by allies overseas.

Authorities said it was hard to quantify how much of an impact they have had on the financial lifelines relied upon by terrorists. But they said there are indications that al-Qaida is suffering greatly as a result of the crackdown.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fired

THE WASHINGTON POST -- SHANGHAI

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Tuesday sacked the most popular member of his cabinet, Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka, ending a nine-month political brawl in which Tanaka repeatedly took on the entrenched world of Japanese bureaucrats, lawmakers and company executives.

Speaking in Tokyo Tuesday night, Tanaka said Koizumi had told her she was being dismissed to keep the latest installment of the squabbles from stalling passage of the budget for the coming fiscal year.

Koizumi “asked me to agree to personnel changes,” Tanaka told a group of reporters in a televised interview. “I asked if that meant me, if I was being replaced, and he said that’s right.” There was no immediate word on who would replace Tanaka, the first woman to hold Japan’s top foreign policy job.

During her time in office, Tanaka clashed again and again with career diplomats in her foreign ministry and was known for a shoot-from-the-lip style that endeared her to voters, but also earned enemies.

Olympics Asks for 60 More Law Enforcement Officers

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- SALT LAKE CITY

In a bid to further shore up security at next month’s Winter Olympics, organizers have asked federal officials for as many as 60 added law enforcement personnel, authorities said Tuesday.

The additional officers, who would supplement a force of 10,000 police and military personnel already committed to the Games, would be deployed at transit hubs and open-air spaces

Crowds are expected to gather nightly on the mall to take in Olympic action on big-screen televisions that will be set up at either end of Main Street. The upscale mountain resort will play host to the snowboard and alpine giant slalom events during the Games, which begin Feb. 8.

Attorney General John Ashcroft, who toured the Olympic facilities two weeks ago to get an overview of the $310 million security plan, was concerned about the vulnerability of open-air parks and gathering spots that are separate from the venues used for Olympic competitions, according to an official who asked not to be identified.