Today's Developments, 9/26

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!


• The supreme leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement said he saw less likelihood of a U.S. attack since Washington had no proof that Usama bin Laden was involved and appealed to thousands of Afghans fleeing toward the border in fear of a U.S. strike to return home.

• An Iraqi Kurdish group said it had taken control of a northern Iraqi town from Islamist forces they said were linked to bin Laden.

• Thousands protested at the abandoned U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul, burning cars and tearing down the U.S. seal.

•   The United States warned its NATO allies the world faced the specter of attacks by terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction because the states that sheltered them were fast developing such arms.

• Pakistan said it would not serve as a safe haven for bin Laden or his followers if they snuck into the country from neighboring Afghanistan to escape a hunt for them. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Pakistan had no information about the whereabouts of bin Laden.

• Preliminary estimates show European Union banks have frozen close to $100 million worth of Afghan assets since July, when the EU called for a seizure of funds linked to bin Laden, an EU source said.

• Pakistani and U.S. officials reached a broad accord on a plan that includes attacks on camps in Afghanistan, senior Pakistani officials said.

• Officials from two countries have contacted Danish biotech firm Bavarian Nordic about its smallpox vaccine due to growing concern about the use of biological weapons, the company said.

• The United States and six of the world's richest nations agreed to produce a coordinated plan to freeze the assets of terrorist organizations.

• Denying ties with terrorism, two Pakistan-based Islamic groups said the U.S. decision to freeze their assets was unfair, but would not impede their operations.

• Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with German leaders and called for the complete isolation of terrorists.

• Violence continued in the Middle East even as Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to confidence-building measures. The two sides agreed to make a new bid to forge a lasting truce that could boost U.S. efforts to create a global anti-terror coalition.

• The United Nations' refugee agency called for $252 million in emergency funding for Afghan refugees fleeing the threat of U.S.-led military retaliation. Up to 1.5 million new refugees could add to some 3.5 million already in camps in Pakistan and Iran.

• Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said his country would provide no help to the United States in any attack on Afghanistan after Washington accused his country of practicing terrorism.

• Pakistan is warning the United States and its allies in the anti-terrorism coalition against taking sides in the Afghanistan conflict following Russian and Western contacts with the Northern Alliance seeking to overthrow the Taliban.

• Berlin's minister for culture, Adrienne Goehler, faced pressure to resign for calling the World Trade Center towers "phallic symbols" at a public meeting after they were destroyed.

• The Sudanese foreign minister said the United States had not asked Sudan to hand over any people wanted in connection with this month's attacks.

The Investigation:

• Authorities arrested ten people in three different states — Missouri, Michigan and Washington — on charges of fraudulently obtaining licenses to transport hazardous materials, the Justice Department said.

• A Virginia man whose name and phone number were found in a car registered to one of the 19 suspected hijackers was ordered held without bond. A prosecutor described him as an essential witness and "he may be more."

• Logan Airport — the departure airport for two of the planes hijacked — logged 531 security violations between 1991 and 2000, making it the fifth-highest number among major U.S. airports, according to The Boston Globe.

• Police detained six Algerians linked to bin Laden and to a group suspected of planning attacks on U.S. targets in Europe, the Spanish government said.

• Governments around the world were intensifying what U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill called an "economic war on terrorism." O'Neill said the United States was making inroads in its drive to block funding for suspected violent groups, including bin Laden's Al Qaeda.

The Victims:

• Hundreds of people in New York began the heartbreaking process of applying for death certificates for loved ones still missing in the smoking ruins of the World Trade Center.

• The dismantling of the last standing structure of the World Trade Center towers is a slow process for a grim reason — whenever a body part is found, crews have to stop and let officials come in to investigate further, an equipment engineer said. He adds that the efforts to recover body parts may be able to "give a family a feeling of closure."
• Death toll at trade center rises to 300; missing number remains 6,347. Death toll at Pentagon 189; Pennsylvania crash 44.

• Stocks fall after a two-day advance, with investors wary about the economy and awaiting the U.S. response to the attacks.

• Delta Air Lines announces it will cut up to 13,000 jobs, adding to more than 100,000 job cuts in the industry since the attacks.

• OPEC producers prepared to leave oil supplies unchanged at the expense of their own budgets, rather than take any blame for contributing to the world's slide into recession.

• There were indications from global markets that traders were settling down after Tuesday's modest gains on Wall Street. Asian markets were mixed amid concerns over the Japanese economy. Japan's government said Tuesday the country's debt totaled nearly $5 trillion at the end of June — the highest number since World War Two.

The Home Front:

• Rev. Jesse Jackson says he received a call from Taliban representatives Wednesday inviting him to come meet with them in Afghanistan. Jackson says he has not decided if he will accept the offer from the fundamentalist Islamic regime that has been harboring indicted terrorist Usama bin Laden.

• Bush met with Sikhs and Muslims at the White House to discuss bigotry and reinforce his message of religious tolerance.

• Bush is making airline safety a top concern following the terrorist attacks. His expected proposals will likely include more federal oversight of airport security companies, armed marshals on most, if not all, flights and making cockpit doors more secure. The House voted to divert money from Bush's missile defense program to counterterrorism efforts.

• Federal Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman says funding for future farm programs is uncertain in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

• New Yorkers still grappling with the horror of terrorism finished a mayoral primary postponed by the World Trade Center attacks, nominating Republican billionaire Michael Bloomberg and sending two Democrats, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and Public Advocate Mark Green, to a runoff.

• The White House cut back a scheduled presidential trip to Asia in October to keep Bush close to home.

• The Pentagon called more than 600 more reservists to active duty, bringing the number of Reserve and National Guard members called so far to 15,600. Bush has authorized the Pentagon to call as many as 50,000.

• The House of Representatives passed a $343 billion defense bill after diverting some money from the missile-defense program to counterterrorism efforts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.