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Obama Signals Intent To Join Democratic Presidential Race

By Jeff Zeleny
THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON

Two years after arriving in Washington, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois made clear on Tuesday his intention to enter the Democratic presidential race, creating a fundraising committee while preparing to open a full-fledged campaign next month to become the nation’s first black president.

The announcement by Obama, his aides said, removed any doubt about his candidacy and ended weeks of speculation — fueled, in part, by the senator himself — that sent ripples through the ranks of other Democrats eyeing the presidential nomination. He said he would formally declare his intention to run on Feb. 10 in Springfield, Ill., the home of Abraham Lincoln.

Obama, 45, became the sixth Democrat to enter the prospective field. He is the only major candidate, at least among those from the Senate, who is not on record voting about whether to go to war with Iraq; when that vote was taken, he was in the Illinois Legislature, where he was a vocal opponent of the invasion.

“One thing that I’m convinced of,” Obama said Tuesday evening as he left the Capitol, “is that people want something new.”

Russia Warns Citizens
Of Possible Security Threat

By C.J. Chivers
THE NEW YORK TIMES MOSCOW

Russian intelligence officials placed the country on an unusual high alert on Tuesday night, appealing to citizens for vigilance and saying that the government had been informed by “foreign partners” of a possible terrorist act.

The warning was at once detailed and vague. Issued at the end of a 9 p.m. national news broadcast, it said that the National Anti-Terrorist Committee was checking information about a possible attack on public ground transportation or subway systems, but it did not specify in what city an attack was feared, or when.

It also did not identify the “foreign partners” who had provided the information.

The National Anti-Terrorist Committee is led by Nikolai P. Patrushev, the director of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, Russia’s domestic successor to the KGB.

The broadcast said Patrushev had ordered “anti-terrorist forces and resources to a state of increased readiness and to carry out preventive measures.”

An unidentified anti-terrorist official also urged that “the population take this information seriously, raise their degree of vigilance, render necessary assistance to law enforcement structures and, in the event of coming across what appear to be suspicious signs, to notify security and law enforcement agencies immediately,” according to Interfax.