Taliban members” assets ordered frozen

UNITED NATIONS

The United Nations yesterday ordered a global freeze on assets held by every member of the former Taliban government in Afghanistan, vastly expanding the list of individuals and organizations whose holdings are blocked after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The new list names 152 Taliban officials, beginning with Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, and ending with senior officials in government ministries from the education department to zoning.

It also includes accounts of Afghan-related businesses, including one held at a Citibank in New Delhi, India.

The list, which incorporates many of the names made public by the Bush administration as part of its anti-terrorism campaign, was adopted by the Security Council committee enforcing binding U.N. resolutions requiring all nations to comply with the freeze order.

The Bush administration has been trying to get countries to respond to the lists it has made public so far.

A Saudi charity appears on the new Security Council list as well as the entire al-Barakaat financial network, a Somali-based money transferring network with operations in north America that President Bush has said was used by al-Qaida.

University of Texas done fighting Hopwood

AUSTIN, Texas

After years of appeals, the University of Texas said yesterday that it is finished fighting its landmark court battle over affirmative action.

The decision effectively ends the case named for Cheryl Hopwood and three other whites who sued the university”s law school in 1992, saying they were denied admission because of a policy that gave preferential treatment to less-qualified Hispanic and black applicants.

The lawsuit wound up before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 1996 rejected the university”s contention that it should be allowed to consider race in admissions.

The so-called Hopwood ruling didn”t block the school from using race as a factor in admissions, but prompted public colleges and universities in Texas to drop affirmative action policies.

The ruling was allowed to stand in 1996 by the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear another challenge by the university in June.

The school could have appealed the 5th Circuit”s decision ordering it to pay legal fees, but university President Larry Faulkner said that wouldn”t happen.

Hostages released by Muslim rebels

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines

Muslim rebels released dozens of hostages today in exchange for safe passage through Philippine military forces that have besieged them for more than 24 hours.

They had released 21 hostages earlier. Then, after enduring a series of assaults by war planes, helicopter gunships and infantry, and wading through all-night negotiations, about 250 heavily armed rebels loyal to renegade Muslim region Gov. Nur Misuari began boarding trucks that were to take them to safety.

They left behind the hostages, estimated earlier at 40 to 60 people, and government negotiators took custody of them at around 1:30 p.m. today.

Government negotiator Abraham Iribani said the rebels would be allowed to leave the southern city of Zamboanga and go to neighboring Zamboanga del Sur province.

Accomplice charged for massacre plot

BOSTON

A 17-year-old girl who authorities say agreed to take part in a Columbine-style massacre at her school but spilled the secret by warning her favorite teacher that the woman was in danger was charged yesterday with conspiracy to commit murder.

Amy Lee Bowman, who pleaded innocent, is the fourth teen-ager charged in what authorities say was a plan to smuggle guns under black trenchcoats into the school and emerge from a bathroom shooting to kill.

Three other students brothers Eric McKeehan, 17, and Michael McKeehan, 15 and Steven Jones, 15 were charged earlier in the plot to kill “thugs, preps and faculty” at New Bedford High School. They pleaded innocent Monday to conspiracy to commit murder, possession of ammunition and other charges.

Harvard molecular biologist still missing

MEMPHIS, Tenn.

Harvard molecular biologist Don Wiley was last seen leaving a banquet in Memphis just before midnight on Nov. 15. His rental car was found a few hours later, abandoned on a Mississippi River bridge with the keys in the ignition and the tank full of gas.

His family does not believe he committed suicide and police say there is no evidence that the 57-year-old married father of four with no known financial or domestic problems was kidnapped or killed.

But the disappearance in this time of war and anthrax attacks has attracted the attention of the FBI. Wiley is an expert on how the human immune system fights off infections and had recently investigated such dangerous viruses as AIDS, Ebola, herpes and influenza.

Investigators are reviewing all possibilities to what might have happened.

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