Today's Developments, 9/30

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• Government officials say that fundraising for Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda has actually increased and one company  whose assets President Bush ordered frozen is still managing to raise money. Sources say the effort to collect funds for the Al Rasheed Trust are particularly aggressive in Pakistan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

• Several hundred Taliban fighters have defected to the Northern Alliance opposition in two different provinces of Afghanistan, according to Reuters.

• British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he has seen "incontrovertible" evidence linking Usama bin Laden to the terror attacks on the United States. "I have seen absolutely powerful and incontrovertible evidence of his link to the events of the 11th of September," Blair told the BBC's Breakfast With Frost program.

• Reuters reported that a Mauritanian was arrested in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, according to his mother and brother. Mouhamedou Ould Slahi is a relative of Mahfouz Ould al-Walid — a close associate of Usama bin Laden whose assets were among those ordered frozen by President Bush in the aftermath of the attacks.

• The Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan said bin Laden is under Taliban control and being hidden in Afghanistan for his own protection. Ambassador Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef added that bin Laden has as of yet not responded to the Afghan clergy's request that he and his followers leave Afghanistan.

• The International Committee of the Red Cross said that one of its trucks with medical supplies had reached Kabul on Saturday.

• Prince Sultan, defense minister of Saudi Arabia, told a Saudi newspaper that the country would not be used as a base for attacks against Arabs or Muslims. However, American military officials said that they have been discreetly assured that they will be allowed to use Saudi bases to at least coordinate military activities, if not actually launch attacks.

• Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said he would continue meeting with Israel officials despite what he called mounting Israeli "aggression," according to Reuters.

• The trial of eight foreign aid workers accused by the Taliban of preaching Christianity resumed in the Afghan capital of Kabul. The trial had been suspended for three weeks following the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States. The Afghan Supreme Court's chief justice insisted the threat of an American military assault would not influence the trial.

• The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press reported that six people had been arrested by the Taliban for distributing pro-U.S. leaflets advocating the return of exiled king Mohammed Zahir Shah, according to Reuters. The 86-year-old king was deposed in 1973 and currently lives in Rome.

• The Pope asked Roman Catholics to recite the rosary during the month of October "for peace, so that the world may be spared from the wicked plague of terrorism."

• Undersecretary of State John Bolton met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov to discuss forming an international coalition to fight terrorism.

• The Sunday Telegraph of London reported that an Iraqi defector said that Saddam Hussein's biological and chemical-weapons program was proceeding rapidly, and that a dozen robotic aircraft had been prepared as delivery vehicles. However, the defector said that Iraq's nuclear-weapons program had stalled due to lack of funding.

The Investigation:

Time magazine reported a bin Laden operative wired money to a suspected hijacker two to three days before the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

• Attorney General John Ashcroft said authorities have arrested or detained more than 480 people.

The Victims:

• The latest New York police tally of missing at the World Trade Center dropped to 5,219 and the confirmed dead rose to 314, of whom 255 have been identified. There were 8786 injured. The death toll at the Pentagon remained 189. Forty-four died in the Pennsylvania crash of a hijacked airliner.

• Former President Bill Clinton and former Sen. Bob Dole teamed up to help raise $100,000,000 in scholarships for the children and spouses of victims.


• President Bush was looking at a variety of ways to help workers and the economy in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Senior White House officials say Bush told aides to come up with an economic stimulus package that includes tax cuts for individuals or businesses and possibly for both.

• The price tag of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center will be nearly $40 billion, an early estimate of what it will cost to remove debris, pay overtime and rebuild subways and skyscrapers, officials say.

The Home Front:

• President Bush and his top security and intelligence advisers were spending the weekend discussing strategy at Camp David.

• Attorney General Ashcroft said that more terror attacks on the United States were likely, especially in the case of military retaliation for the Sept. 11 attacks. "We believe there is the likelihood of additional terrorist activity," Ashcroft told CBS' Face the Nation.

• Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said the U.S. is prepared to handle any kind of biological attack. Thompson told CBS' 60 Minutes that supplies are stockpiled and 7,000 medical personal are ready to respond.

• The Anti-Capitalist Convergence, an anarchist group based in the capital, rallied hundreds near Capitol Hill to march to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank headquarters in downtown Washington.

• The State Department has issued a "worldwide caution" to Americans overseas — citing threatening rhetoric from extremist groups and the potential for further terrorist action.

• President Bush said in his weekly radio address his administration is moving "aggressively and methodically" to disrupt and destroy terrorism. Bush also condemned the Taliban militia for giving safe haven to Usama bin Laden, but said the United States respects the people of Afghanistan.

• Estimates for reservists called to active duty are likely to rise. The Air Force now thinks it needs 20,000 reservists — 7,000 more than the initial estimate. The Coast Guard has called more than 2,700 to active duty, about 700 more than the service first estimated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report