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News Briefs

Congress Headed Toward Giving Bush What He Wants on Iraq


Congressional opposition to authorizing a potential military attack on Iraq is crumbling, but leading lawmakers are making a last-ditch effort to narrow the focus of a White House-requested resolution that would grant the administration wide latitude in dealing with Baghdad.

White House officials and congressional leaders are meeting to discuss possible changes to temper the far-reaching powers the president asked for in a draft resolution sent to Congress last week.

Meanwhile, the administration turned up the heat on the international community on the eve of introducing a formal resolution at the United Nations to force Iraq to surrender its weapons of mass destruction.

Bush, during a trip to New Jersey, warned the United Nations that it risks being seen as “nothing but a debating society” if it does not pass a tough resolution on disarming Iraq.

Gore Challenges Bush On Iraq Policy


Former Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore Monday issued a broad and blistering critique of George W. Bush’s Iraq policy, branding it politically divisive to the nation and the world and potentially destabilizing.

In his first major speech on Iraq before a group of top business and civic leaders in San Francisco, Gore said Bush’s new policy of pre-emptively acting against nations that threaten the United States opens a door to “a string of military engagements against a succession of sovereign states: Syria, Libya, North Korea, Iran, etc.”

“If other nations assert the same right then the rule of law will quickly be replaced by the reign of fear,” Gore told the Commonwealth Club.

Gore said Bush has “squandered” world sympathy toward the United States in the wake of last year’s terrorist attacks and converted it into a wave of anti-American sentiment.

The White House has politicized the issue in a divisive play to the Republican right, Gore asserted. He said Bush has been “publicly taunting Democrats” about the consequences of next week’s likely vote in Congress on a resolution authorizing military action against Iraq as the Republican Party has rolled out “prepackaged advertising” meant to “focus on war.”

Adelphia’s Founder, 4 Others Indicted on Fraud Charges


The Rigas family created “a towering facade of false success” for Adelphia Communications and “lined their pockets with shareholder dollars,” a federal prosecutor said Monday in filing a 24-count fraud indictment that seeks to recover $2.5 billion.

The action came two months after the family members were arrested at their apartment and accused of running the nation’s sixth-biggest cable TV company like a “personal piggy bank.”

The charges were filed Monday in Manhattan federal court against John Rigas, 77, who is the company founder and recently ousted chairman, two of his sons and two other former Adelphia executives.

Based on the conspiracy, wire fraud and bank fraud counts, including 16 new securities fraud charges not included in the original complaint, a judge could theoretically put each in jail for up to 250 years and fine each $19.5 million. Arraignment is set for Oct. 2 before Judge Leonard B. Sand.

“The defendants used many of the most sophisticated tricks in the corporate fraud playbook,” said U.S. Attorney James Comey. He called the alleged scheme “one of the most elaborate and extensive corporate frauds in United States history.”