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News Briefs

9/11 Commission Subpoenas New York City Records

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- WASHINGTON

The federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks announced on Thursday that it had issued a subpoena to New York City for a variety of police tapes and other material related to the attacks. The panel said the city’s refusal to hand over the material had “significantly impeded the commission’s investigation.”

The 10-member commission said the subpoena required the city to turn over tapes and transcripts of emergency 911 calls made that day, as well as transcripts of hundreds of interviews of firefighters that were conducted after the terrorist attacks.

Aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said he intended to challenge the subpoena, raising the prospect of a lengthy court battle with the independent commission.

A statement issued by City Hall said that the mayor was “dismayed” by the subpoena and that the city had offered to share material with the commission after it was edited to remove the “intensely emotional statements of people who lost their lives or whose lives were in jeopardy” on Sept. 11.

The subpoena was the third issued by the commission, known formally as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

Benefits Added to Medicare Bill As Democrats Cry Foul

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- WASHINGTON

House and Senate negotiators finished work on a far-reaching overhaul of Medicare on Thursday, expanding benefits to build support for the legislation to the very end. Democrats shut out of the negotiations denounced the process as illegitimate and said the measure would leave millions of elderly people worse off.

The measure, tentatively scheduled for a vote on the House floor on Friday, offers outpatient drug coverage for the first time to 40 million elderly and disabled people. The Senate is expected to begin debate on Saturday, and Republican strategists in both chambers said they were optimistic that the huge bill would be passed soon.

After negotiators discovered this week that they had money to spare, $5 billion over 10 years, they acted Thursday to make the drug benefit slightly more generous. The deductible to be paid by a beneficiary, originally $275 a year, was reduced to $250. The negotiators decided weeks ago that Medicare would cover 75 percent of drug costs up to $2,200 a year. At the last minute, they decided to raise that figure to $2,250.

Republicans and two Democrats involved in the negotiations hailed completion of the bill as a major achievement that would fulfill their promise to update Medicare, add drug benefits and motivate elderly people to enroll in private health plans.

Jackson Turns Himself In On Child Molesting Charges

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.

Michael Jackson, with his hands cuffed behind his back, was led into the county jail here Thursday afternoon and booked on charges of molesting a child, beginning what promises to be a huge legal spectacle.

As Jackson was being photographed and fingerprinted inside the Inmate Reception Center at the Santa Barbara County Jail, his lawyer, Mark Geragos, stepped before a small forest of microphones and called the charges against the entertainer “a big lie.”