Today's Developments, 10/4


• Israel suspended all flights out of Tel Aviv after a Russian-bound plane exploded and crashed, sparking a new security scare. A senior U.S. military official said the plane may have been downed accidentally by a missile fired during a military exercise in Ukraine. 

• President Bush is offering $320 million in humanitarian aid for the Afghan people and neighboring states even as his administration prepares for a military campaign against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime.

• U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held talks with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday as part of his regional tour to shore up support for America's "war on terrorism."

• British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said the time was approaching for "forceful military action" against Saudi-born militant Usama bin Laden and Afghanistan's Taliban rulers.

• German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar pledged full support for Washington's war against terrorism and said they would push for more European action. 

• An envoy of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban said in published remarks that they would not hand over bin Laden, even if there was evidence to implicate him in last month's attacks on the United States.

• Pakistan became the first Muslim country to declare that U.S. evidence links bin Laden to the Sept. 11 attacks.

• Britain's armed forces — already embroiled in conflicts in Africa, the Balkans and the Gulf — would be severely overstretched by a prolonged, large-scale war in Afghanistan, military experts believe.

• U.S. military retaliation following last month's terrorist attacks on Washington and New York isn't likely for several weeks, France's defense minister said.

• NATO allies agreed to provide the United States with the complete eight-point list of assistance it requested as it prepares a military response to the attack on New York and Washington, NATO sources said.

• The U.S. military is drawing up plans to parachute food rations to thousands of displaced people in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said, warning the country's Taliban leaders not to interfere.

• Russia plans to supply Afghan anti-Taliban forces with tanks, armored vehicles and other arms worth up to $45,000,000 in the coming weeks, a Russian newspaper reported.


• FBI laboratory and forensic experts are examining about 3,000 pieces of evidence from the sites where four hijacked planes crashed, FBI Director Robert Mueller said.

• Viisage Technology Inc. said within a month it will deploy the first face-recognition system at a U.S. airport, responding to heightened demand for better security.

• British police said they had charged a 43-year-old London man with two counts of breaking the country's Terrorism Act.

• A man was arrested for allegedly trying to conceal four plastic knives in his socks as he tried to board a flight in Phoenix. The FBI said he wanted to bring them on board in case he needed to defend himself.

• Officials said the CIA had developed information about U.S. terrorist attacks about a month before Sept. 11.

• An Algerian pilot, arrested in Britain and alleged to have been a flying instructor for four of the suicide hijackers who attacked New York and Washington, is set to appear in a UK court Friday.


• Technology stocks held their gains Thursday after Dell Computer Corp. stood by its quarterly targets and kept investors' spirits high. However, blue chips fell a little as jittery investors opted to sell amid persisting worries about sliding corporate earnings. The Nasdaq rose 16.71 points to close at 1,597.52; the Dow fell 62.90 points to close at 9,060.88.

• Hurt by the drop in corporate spending as the economy slowed, technology-related companies now account for almost one-third of the profit warnings this quarter and investors see little upside ahead.

• New claims for unemployment benefits shot up last week to the highest level in nine years as layoffs from the terror attacks took their toll on the travel and tourism industries.

• President Bush wants Americans to know he hears "the cries of those who have been laid off," and told Labor Department employees he is pledging to extend unemployment benefits and provide other aid to laid off workers.

• Businesses are starting to worry that the new wartime-level security at American ports of entry will complicate and slow the global movement of goods and cost them money.


• The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to pull its last rescue team from Ground Zero by the end of the week.

The Home Front:

• Congress is working on legislation that would expand the government's powers to stem the money flow to terrorist organizations. The Senate Banking Committee plans to revise and vote today on a measure that includes new restrictions on correspondent banking.

• Pope John Paul told former President George H.W. Bush that the Vatican would join the United States in a day of prayer on Oct. 11 for the victims of the attacks on New York and Washington.

• Reagan National Airport near the nation's capital has reopened for the first time since the attacks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.