Today's Developments, 10/9

Military Action:

• NATO dispatched a flotilla of warships to the eastern Mediterranean in a show of support for the United States in its fight against terrorism, officials said.

• A leading Russian defense analyst said Russian troops were already on the ground in Afghanistan, but Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov reiterated that no Russian troops would fight in the "war on terrorism."

• Coalition forces now "essentially have air supremacy over Afghanistan," said Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Some Afghan anti-aircraft and portable surface-to-air missiles may remain, he added, but American and British forces will use tactics to keep out of range.

• The Taliban said Usama bin Laden is alive and well in Afghanistan. They said their supreme leader is also safe, but that dozens of civilians have been killed in the raids.

• A group of Taliban commanders have switched sides and closed the only road linking north and south Afghanistan, a senior opposition Northern Alliance official said.

• A senior defense official said the daylight attack on Afghanistan is part of a further effort to keep the Taliban leaders "on their toes."

• "We are determined to offer 2 million more martyrs for independence and sovereignty if need be," Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan said. He accused the United States of wanting to install a puppet government in Kabul to help U.S. companies tap the vast oil and gas resources of Central Asia.

• Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed concern over the safety of humanitarian workers in Afghanistan Tuesday after an errant U.S. missile killed four Afghans working for a U.N.-funded mine disposal group.


• In a pre-recorded video broadcast on Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television, a spokesman for  bin Laden's Al Qaeda movement vowed to continue its war of terror on America until it halts the attacks on Afghanistan and withdraws from all Muslim lands.

• British Prime Minister Tony Blair set off for the Middle East on a fresh diplomatic offensive aimed at shoring up Arab support for Washington's war against bin Laden.

• Afghanistan's ruling Taliban have accused a French reporter of spying after he was arrested Tuesday disguised in Muslim women's dress and would try him in a special court, Afghan Islamic Press said.

• Police shot dead five people in an anti-American protest in Pakistan but widespread demonstrations against the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan failed to materialize.

• Embarrassed by anti-U.S. protests, Yasser Arafat's government took two unprecedented steps: It closed Gaza City's universities to silence Islamic militants and barred foreign reporters from the Gaza Strip to prevent coverage of the events.

• Russian crash investigators said they had discovered parts similar to components of S200 missiles in the wreckage of a Russian airliner that exploded and crashed over the Black Sea Thursday.

• Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov reaffirmed Russia's opposition to contributing military forces to the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan, adding that it would be a mistake for outside powers to try to install a government in Afghanistan.

• Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri called for Muslim ministers gathering in Qatar to condemn U.S. strikes on Afghanistan, and said the United States could also target Iraq to settle old scores.

• China, trying to keep regional tensions out of its restive Muslim northwest, has put extra troops on its borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan and closed the area to foreigners.

• A 31-year-old man characterized as mentally ill was charged Tuesday with interfering with a flight crew for breaking into the cockpit of a Chicago-bound American Airlines jet Monday, causing the plane to pitch and triggering a distress call that sent military jets speeding to the scene.

• Expanding their anti-terrorist inquiry, German authorities searched an apartment in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, prosecutors said.

• French authorities have charged four alleged Islamic militants with "conspiring to carry out a terrorist act" and owning illegal weapons, a judicial source said Tuesday.

• Irish police have arrested four people in the investigation of the terror attacks on the U.S. A police spokeswoman said the arrests were made during police raids on five locations in Dublin.

• Attorney General John Ashcroft said more than 600 people have been jailed and more than 200 are still being sought in the probe into the terrorism attacks.

• National Guard troops are taking positions at bridges, tunnels and train stations across New York City. Gov. George Pataki said the move wasn't prompted by any specific threats. A poll released Tuesday by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion finds 73 percent of New Yorkers are worried about another terrorist attack. 

• Federal officials suspect foul play rather than an environmental source is at the root of two Florida anthrax cases that have left one man dead and hundreds of co-workers getting tested for the disease.


• Stock prices dipped lower in response to a Supreme Court ruling against Microsoft and profit-taking from Wall Street's recent rally.

• Nasdaq, the world's largest stock market, won its case on Tuesday against a Canadian-based group that registered four Internet domain names containing the word "Nasdaq."

The Home Front:

• The White House is moving quickly to fill positions in President Bush's counter-terrorism team. Richard Clarke has been named a special adviser on cyberspace security and retired Army General Wayne Downing has been appointed deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism.

• Members of Congress gave mixed reviews to President Bush's decision to sharply restrict the number of lawmakers who get top-security briefings on the war against terrorism.

• Only half the states have federal experts especially trained to prevent or contain bioterrorism, said a leading public health doctor who wants local officials to have better access to vaccines and information.

• A Metro subway station just outside Washington closed after an armed man sprayed a substance into the air from a pump-action bottle as he scuffled with police. Authorities apprehended the man and said they didn't believe it was a terrorist act.

• New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the city's budget for fiscal year 2002 is expected to have a gap of $1.6 billion following the disaster at the World Trade Center.

• The State Department warned American travelers to be careful. It issued a statement warning there's a possibility of "strong anti-American sentiment and retaliatory actions against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world."


• A team that uses DNA analysis to identify Bosnia's war victims will travel to New York to help work with the remains of those found in the rubble of the World Trade Center, officials said.

• New York: World Trade Center: 4,979 missing; 393 confirmed dead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.