Today's Developments, 10/14

Military Action:

• Joint U.S.-British air strikes continued into their second week, with a fresh round of bombing beginning Sunday night.

• The Taliban offered to discuss bin Laden's extradition to a third country if the bombing stopped and the U.S. disclosed the evidence it has against bin Laden. President Bush quickly refused the offer, which was not substantially different from previous offers.

• The U.S.-British strikes are focusing on weakening Al Qaeda and Taliban ground troops, U.S. military sources told Fox News. The sources said that targets hit include parked aircraft at Kabul airport, air defenses, the Taliban military academy, four garrisons, a training camp, and an artillery base.

• Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a call for leaders from the Northern Alliance to join the Taliban in the fight against America, and promised they would be allowed to keep their weapons, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press reported. The plea to the Taliban's bitter foes suggested that the U.S.-British air strikes are taking a heavy toll on the ruling Islamic group.

•  Taliban officials showed foreign media Sunday what they said was devastation caused by a U.S. air raid on an Afghan village. The Taliban said about 180 men, women and children were killed on Thursday in an American air strike at Karam. Reporters saw fresh graves, but were unable to confirm the number of dead.

The Washington Post reported that the U.S. and Uzbekistan have been engaged in joint covert efforts against the Taliban for more than a year. "The intensified interaction with Uzbekistan," said an Uzbek spokesman, shows the U.S. was certain about terror operations originating in Afghanistan.

• The Pentagon said an American bomb intended for a military target in Kabul went astray and hit a residential neighborhood.

• The Taliban denied persistent reports that their fighters were defecting to the Afghan opposition. The militia's information minister called the reports "baseless."


• The Taliban's foreign minister, Maulawi Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, arrived in Pakistan on Sunday, possibly indicating a division within the ruling Islamic group, the United Arab Emirates' official news agency reported.

• Kuwait decided to strip Kuwaiti citizenship from the spokesman of the Al Qaeda group, Sulaiman abu Ghaith. Following its weekly meeting, the Kuwaiti government told Reuters that the cabinet approved the draft decree in line with the citizenship law and "the needs of national interests."

• Bush, once loath to meddle in "nation building," has begun drawing up plans for an Afghan government that would succeed the Taliban, were the ruling Islamic clique to fall, U.S. officials told Reuters.

•  One person died and ten were injured as police repelled a protesting crowd trying to storm an air base near the southern Pakistani city of Jacobabad. Islamic religious groups have threatened suicide attacks on the air base, where American military personnel are believed to be operating.

• Secretary of State Colin Powell headed to India and Pakistan this weekend on his first trip abroad since the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. Powell hopes to ease tensions between the two nuclear rivals.

The Anthrax Scare:

• The New York police officer and two lab technicians who detected the anthrax at the NBC offices in Midtown Manhattan were shown to have a "miniscule" amount of anthrax spores on them, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said in a press conference Sunday afternoon. He said the three were being treated with antibiotics and had shown no signs of being infected.

• Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said on Fox News Sunday that "it certainly is an act of terrorism to send anthrax through the mail," but he stopped short of saying whether or not he believed the anthrax mailings were connected to the Sept. 11 attacks.

• Thompson said the U.S. is prepared for biological warfare, with 7,000 prepared healthcare workers, 400 tons of medical supplies and enough anthrax-fighting medicine to treat 2 million people for 60 days. 

• Five more employees of American Media, Inc. in Boca Raton, Fla., were shown to have been exposed to the virus and are now being tested for infection. If they prove to have the disease, the total number of exposed people in the company would be raised to eight, and the total number in the nation to nine. So far, only one victim has died of the disease.

• Malaysian police offered their "fullest cooperation" Sunday after a letter sent from Malaysia to a Microsoft office in Nevada was found contaminated with anthrax. The Centers for Disease Control was conducting comprehensive tests on the letter to determine whether the strain was disease-carrying or a non-threatening vaccine variety.

• Nevada health officials said that four of six Microsoft employees who may have touched the contaminated letter tested negative for anthrax. Final test results for two others exposed to the letter won't be known until Monday, said Washoe County health officer Barbara Hunt. Preliminary tests on their nasal swabs were also negative for the bacteria.

• Authorities say the anthrax that infected an NBC employee in New York apparently came from a Sept. 18 letter sent to anchor Tom Brokaw. Brokaw's assistant was diagnosed with subcutaneous (under-the-skin) anthrax, which is much less life threatening than the respiratory form that killed the Florida man. The NBC letter, postmarked in Trenton, N.J., tested positive for anthrax. Health officials say a second NBC employee had possible symptoms.

•   Eighty passengers and five crew members were held aboard a jet for three hours after it landed Saturday, because a passenger said a man had dispersed a powdery substance in the ventilation system. The substance turned out to be confetti from a greeting card.


• Attorney General John Ashcroft said on NBC's Meet the Press that terrorists involved in planning the Sept. 11 attacks are most likely still in the U.S. 

• A Florida pharmacist says suspected hijacker Mohamed Atta came to his drug store in late August for medication to treat a burning sensation on his hands.

The Home Front:

•  Many of the Sept. 11 hijackers checked out several dams and chemical plants before their last, fatal flights, law enforcement sources told Fox News. They were particularly interested in a truck-driving school in Henderson, Co., northeast of Denver, the sources said.

• A spokesman for bin Laden's Al Qaeda network has repeated threats to carry out new terror attacks.  He says Muslims in the U.S. and Britain should avoid airplanes and tall buildings. The White House dismissed the statement as "just more propaganda."

•  "We are vigilant, we are determined, the country is alert, and the great power of the American nation will be felt," Bush said in his Saturday radio address. He added that Americans should be assured that the government is taking  precautions against future terrorism.

•  The FBI said an e-mail circulating on the Internet that warns people to avoid shopping malls on Halloween is a hoax.

•   The government checked the backgrounds of airport workers in charge of screening passengers at the nation's 20 largest airports.

•   Federal aviation officials relaxed restrictions on private planes in 15 metropolitan areas.


• As of Oct. 14, 2001, 4,688 are missing at the World Trade Center site; 450 bodies have been recovered and 388 of them have been identified. The figures include those on hijacked planes: 92 people on American Flight 11 and 65 people on United Flight 175. In Washington, 189 are believed dead at the Pentagon, including the 64 people on board American Flight 77. In Pennsylvania,  44 people were killed on United Flight 93.

• The World Trade Center ruins include 309,284 tons of debris that will require 20,132 truck-trips to clear away.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.