- The Washington Times - Friday, December 14, 2001

House approves bill on defense spending

The House overcame its objections to base closings to give final passage to a $343.3 billion defense authorization bill yesterday.

The bill includes pay raises for all service members, an increase in anti-terrorism funds and full funding of President Bush's prized missile-defense efforts, for which he is pulling out of a 29-year-old arms-control treaty with Russia.

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The bill, approved 382-40, authorizes spending by the Defense Department and military efforts of the Energy Department for the budget year that began Oct. 2. It contains a $33 billion increase from 2001 spending, up 10.6 percent.

House OKs tax-relief bill

The House passed legislation yesterday to give tax relief to families of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and provide $6.1 billion in tax breaks to help New York City recover.

Under the bill, income-tax liability would be waived for two years for families of victims of the September 11 attacks, as well as for families of victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and those affected by anthrax.

The measure would create a New York "Liberty Zone" in lower Manhattan where several business tax breaks would apply, including $15 billion in tax-exempt bonds to finance rebuilding efforts.

Judge orders Rich pardon papers

NEW YORK A federal judge yesterday ordered attorneys for Marc Rich to turn over documents withheld from a grand jury investigating President Clinton's last-minute pardon of the fugitive financier.

The documents involve efforts by Mr. Rich's attorneys to win him a pardon.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said attorney-client privilege does not protect the materials from release.

Laura Bush meets with O'Connor

First lady Laura Bush paid an unpublicized visit to the Supreme Court yesterday, part of a small group of women invited to a power lunch by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, United Press International reported.

Though the invitation was just for lunch, everything in Washington is political, and the visit will be seen in that context.

Justice O'Connor was one of five justices who stopped the Florida recount last year in Bush v. Gore.

Missile-defense rocket destroyed during test

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. A prototype booster rocket for the missile-defense system veered off course during a test yesterday and had to be blown up by remote control.

The three-stage rocket was carrying a mock missile interceptor. It went off course about 30 seconds after launch. The debris splashed into the Pacific Ocean about six miles from the base.

FBI seeks clues about anthrax letters

NEWARK, N.J. The FBI will send cards this holiday season to hundreds of thousands of New Jersey and Philadelphia residents in an effort to find those responsible for mailing four anthrax-laced letters in the Trenton area.

The cards will include a sample of the handwriting from the tainted letters and excerpts from the profile FBI analysts have developed of the anthrax mailer's likely personality traits.

They also will remind residents they can collect a reward of more than $1 million for information leading to a conviction.

Cuban spy receives life sentence

MIAMI Moments after denouncing his trial as a "propaganda show," the leader of a Cuban spy ring received a life sentence for his role in the infiltration of U.S. military bases and in the deaths of four Cuban Americans whose planes were gunned down five years ago.

Gerardo Hernandez, 36, was one of five secret agents convicted in June after a crackdown on spies operating inside the United States. The six-month trial focused on the two private planes that were shot down by Fidel Castro's government in 1996.

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