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News Briefs

Critics Want Full Report Of 9/11 Panel


The Bush administration came under pressure on Thursday to make public the full classified version of a report from the 9/11 commission that is critical of the government’s failure to heed aviation threats before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Former members of the commission, victims’ families, open-government advocates and a leading Democrat called on the Bush administration to release the entire report on aviation problems surrounding the attacks.

The commission completed the report in August. The administration blocked its efforts to release the report, commission members said.

The administration delivered a declassified version of the report to the National Archives two weeks ago with numerous deletions of material it considered too sensitive for the public to see.

McCain, Lieberman Reintroduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Bill


Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman announced Thursday they were reintroducing their bill to curb greenhouse gas emissions after a similar measure failed in the last Congress.

Meeting with reporters in the Capitol, the Republican from Arizona and Democrat from Connecticut shared the podium with a bipartisan group from both houses, stressing that concern over global warming is growing and that it crossed party lines and geographic regions.

“This is one of the toughest tests for political leadership,” Lieberman said. “The need is more urgent, the case is more clear than ever, and as we begin this battle today, we know there are special interests who will try to stop it, but we are beginning with a sense of commitment and optimism.”

The McCain-Lieberman “Climate Stewardship Bill” would require that U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases -- in particular, carbon dioxide, a product of combustion -- be no more in 2010 than they were in 2000. The law would apply to industry and transportation, including cars, but not to homes or farms. Companies that achieve greater reductions would be able to trade their credits in the open market, creating economic incentives to invent new technologies, the senators said.

Mecca Pilgrims May Be Spreading Polio, Experts Fear


Polio apparently reached Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holy city, just before the annual pilgrimage by 2 million Muslims last month, and World Health Organization officials now fear that the disease may be spreading around the world, carried by returning pilgrims.

In crowded nations with spotty vaccination coverage like Bangladesh and Indonesia, “there could be substantial consequences,” Dr. Bruce Aylward, coordinator of the health organization’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative, said in an interview from Geneva.

“This is a crucial point,” he added. “We’re staring at the whites of the eyes of this thing.”

A spokesman at the Saudi Embassy in Washington said his country had feared the arrival of polio this year and started vaccinating 800,000 people in September, hoping to head it off before the height of the hajj, or pilgrimage, in late January.