Today's Developments, 10/21

Military Action: 

• The U.S. military campaign has crippled terrorists' bases and their ability to train in Afghanistan, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said Sunday. He denied the Taliban's claim that it shot down a U.S. helicopter. He also said he had no information on reports that at least one U.S. soldier was injured by a land mine and several soldiers may be missing. 

• Dozens of aircraft attacked key Taliban sites over the weekend, on much the same scale as Friday's mission, which involved about 100 planes bombing 15 target areas, including air defenses and ammunition- and vehicle-storage areas. 

• U.S. fighter planes on Sunday bombed targets near the Taliban's front line against the opposition Northern Alliance north of Kabul in what could be the start of a more aggressive campaign to help the alliance retake the capital. 

• Kabul residents said at least eight civilians were killed when two houses were hit by U.S. bombs that missed their mark. An AP reporter saw seven dead — three women and four children — at the scene. A doctor said 13 bodies had been brought to a hospital — all apparently from one family. The homes in the Khair Khana district of northern Kabul were several miles from an army garrison and other Taliban installations. 

• News emerged that the 10-year-old son of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar died over the weekend as a result of wounds suffered in the bombings. The report could not immediately be confirmed. 

• A senior administration official said Sunday that President Bush last month signed an order directing the CIA to destroy bin Laden and his communications, security apparatus and infrastructure. Bush also added more than $1 billion to the spy agency's war on terrorism, most of it for the new covert action. 

• Four American cargo jets dropped more than 68,000 packets of food over northern Afghanistan overnight Saturday. An Air Force spokesman said a total of about 643,000 food rations have been dropped by planes over the country since the military strikes began Oct. 7. 

• The bodies of two U.S. servicemen killed when their helicopter crashed in Pakistan while on standby to aid a commando raid in Afghanistan were flown to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The Pentagon identified the men as Private First-Class Kristofer Stonesifer, 28, of Missoula, Mt., and Specialist First-Class John Edmunds, 20, of Cheyenne, Wyo. 

• Border guards opened fire Sunday to force back a crowd of hundreds of Afghan refugees demanding to be allowed into Pakistan. About 2 million Afghan refugees are already in Pakistan. 

• A naval commander said that American jet pilots have a new target priority: Taliban troops and tanks. 


• President Bush left the APEC summit in Shanghai Sunday, having gained support for the war on terror from attending countries. Bush and other leaders called terrorism a "direct challenge" to their vision of free and open economies. 

• A Coca-Cola bottling plant in India was bombed Sunday by an outlawed leftist rebel group protesting the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. 

The Anthrax Scare: 

• A Washington, D.C., postal worker diagnosed with inhalation anthrax, the most serious form of the disease, is said to be "gravely ill," according to Washington Mayor Anthony Williams. The city's chief health official said the man was being treated with antibiotics and was expected to make a full recovery. The unidentified man works in the handling facility that processed the anthrax-tainted letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. He checked into a Fairfax, Va., hospital Friday with flu-like symptoms. He was the third person to contract inhalation anthrax. Six others have come down with the less dangerous skin form. 

• More than 2,000 D.C. postal employees will be tested for anthrax, Mayor Williams said. 

• The Center for Disease Control wants to perform its own tests on all Trenton, N.J., postal employees who were tested over the weekend for anthrax and given antibiotics. The FBI seized some mail collection boxes in the Trenton area to find the mailbox where the letters to Daschle and NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw were dropped. 

• New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the Department of Defense sent a rapid-response team to the city to expedite analysis of potential anthrax cases. 

• More traces of anthrax were found on Capitol Hill, this time on the House of Representatives side of a building that process lawmakers' mail. 

• Ernesto Blanco, a Florida man with inhaled anthrax, is "doing great," according to his stepdaughter. He has been in the hospital for 19 days with the same kind of infection that killed his co-worker, a tabloid photo editor. 


• Three men arrested last week in Alberta on charges of immigration violations may be able to provide clues in the terror attacks investigation. 

• Authorities rounded up old, invalid airport badges and gave airport workers new ones that would be harder to counterfeit. 

• Immigration officials said Mohammed Atta, the suspected leader of the hijackers, was questioned at length about his visa status upon entering the United States in January. He was eventually allowed in. 

The Home Front: 

• Sources said that President Bush last month signed a billion-dollar order authorizing the CIA to destroy Usama bin Laden and his terror network. 

• Thousands of New York police officers, firemen and rescue workers were treated to a blockbuster benefit concert featuring Mick Jagger, the Who and Paul McCartney. VH1 aired the Concert for New York live without commercial breaks. 

• The Navy's Blue Angels flying team returned to the sky for its first performance since the September eleventh attacks. The show included the so-called "Missing Man" formation to honor of those who died in the attacks. 


• Planet Hollywood filed for bankruptcy. The restaurant chain said its business had taken a hit from a drop in tourism after the terrorism attacks. 

• The head of Boeing's jetliner division said airliner production rates would be cut to 50 percent of current levels by the middle of next year. 

• Airplane engine-maker Rolls-Royce said it was cutting five thousand jobs. The company said some 3,800 of the jobs affected were in Britain.