Friday, November 16, 2001

Ridge plan merges some federal agencies

White House Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said yesterday he was drafting an anti-terrorism plan that could lead to the merger of some federal agencies and give the National Guard a more prominent role in securing sensitive U.S. sites.

One day after the White House succeeded in scuttling a multibillion-dollar proposal by Democrats to beef up homeland security, Mr. Ridge said President Bush had asked him to “identify other immediate needs” that could be included in an emergency spending package early next year.

University of California to judge challenges

SAN FRANCISCO The University of California regents formally approved yesterday an admissions policy to judge would-be students on their personal as well as their academic records.

The policy, known as comprehensive review, was endorsed by a regents committee Wednesday and formally approved 15-4 with one abstention by the full board yesterday.

Comprehensive review, which takes into account any hardships or other challenges a student has had to overcome, is in use at most elite universities.

Scientist to attempt cloning ‘pretty soon’

LEXINGTON, Ky. The first cloned human embryos could be produced “pretty soon,” a scientist involved in an international project to clone humans, Panayotis Zavos, told Agence France-Presse yesterday.

“We will be attempting pretty soon the first nuclear transfers,” Mr. Zavos said in an interview. “As we speak, we are running now.”

He said the production of the cloned embryos would take place sometime before the end of the year, or at the start of 2002 at the latest, but would not give an exact date.

Dropout rates constant in 1990s

High school dropout rates stayed constant throughout the 1990s, despite educational investments, a report from the Department of Education said yesterday.

In 2000, 87 percent of all people ages 18 to 24 had completed high school, and some 3.8 million people ages 16 to 24 had not completed nor were in a high school program, the National Center for Education Statistics said.

Three-state drug raid leads to 144 arrests

A three-state raid by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration yesterday netted 144 arrests, $3 million in cash and nearly 2,800 kilos of cocaine and heroin.

The arrests, part of Operation Perfect Storm, culminated a 17-month undercover DEA investigation of a drug-trafficking network operating in New York, New Jersey and Florida. More than 2,700 kilos of cocaine and 17 kilos of heroin were seized.

Train crash kills two workers

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. Cleanup crews cleared the wreckage of two freight trains yesterday as investigators tried to determine the cause of the head-on crash that killed two railroad workers and injured two others.

The Canadian National trains collided about 6 a.m. in a marshy, wooded area of Oakland County, Undersheriff Thomas Quisenberry said. Two schools closed and some residents were evacuated until authorities determined no hazardous materials had leaked.

New Jersey bans immigrant licenses

NEWARK, N.J. New Jersey has stopped issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants whose visas expire within a year.

Two of the September 11 hijackers had licenses from the state.

The change, which took effect Wednesday, was prompted by a security review undertaken after the attacks, the Division of Motor Vehicles said.

Several of the 19 hijackers used fraudulently obtained driver’s licenses that helped them open bank accounts, buy airline tickets and rent cars.

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