Al-Qaida may have used tunnels in Pakistan

WANA, Pakistan

Top al-Qaida terrorists may have escaped a siege by thousands of
Pakistani soldiers through several secret tunnels leading from mud
fortresses to a dry mountain stream near the border with
Afghanistan, a security chief said yesterday.

The longest tunnel found so far was more than a mile long and
led from the homes of two local men — Nek Mohammed and Sharif
Khan — to a stream near the frontier, said Brig. Mahmood
Shah, head of security for Pakistan’s tribal regions.

“There is a possibility that the tunnel may have been used
at the start of the operation,” Shah told journalists in
Peshawar, the provincial capital. He said the tunnels began at the
homes in the village of Kaloosha and led in the direction of a
mountain range that straddles the border.

Three senior officials have told AP that they believe al-Qaida
No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri may have been at the site, though the
government has repeatedly said it does not know who is inside.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Thursday that a
“high-value” target was likely involved.

The militants may have used the tunnel to escape during the
disastrous first day of the operation on Mar. 16, when at least 15
soldiers were killed in fierce fighting.


High court hears case on right to anonymity


Do you have to tell the police your name? Depending on how the
Supreme Court rules, the answer could be the difference between
arrest and freedom.

The justices heard arguments yesterday in a first-of-its kind
case that asks whether people can be punished for refusing to
identify themselves.

The court took up the appeal of a Nevada cattle rancher who was
arrested after he told a deputy that he had done nothing wrong and
didn’t have to reveal his name or show an ID during an
encounter on a rural highway four years ago.

Larry “Dudley” Hiibel, 59, was prosecuted, based on
his silence, and finds himself at the center of a major privacy
rights battle.

“I would do it all over again,” Hiibel, dressed in
cowboy hat, boots and a bolo tie, said outside the court.
“That’s one of our fundamental rights as American
citizens, to remain silent.”

The case will clarify police powers in the post-Sept. 11 era,
determining if officials can demand to see identification whenever
they deem it necessary.


Bush to ease controls on mercury cleanup


Concluding that technology to significantly cut mercury
pollution isn’t available, the Bush administration is leaning
toward stretching out a cleanup until 2018 and letting some power
plants buy their way out of reducing their emissions.

High doses of mercury can cause neurological damage, prompting
the government to warn last week that some fish in which the toxic
chemical accumulates can pose a hazard to children and to women who
are pregnant or nursing.

Three months ago the Environmental Protection Agency offered two
options for reducing the 48 annual tons of mercury emitted from
1,100 coal-burning power plants, the largest pollution source. One
favored reliance on short-term technology; the other on long-term
market forces through which companies could buy rights to continue
polluting from companies doing more than required.


Antidepressants may increase suicide risk


Doctors who prescribe some popular antidepressants should
monitor their patients closely for warning signs of suicide,
especially when they first start the pills or change a dose, the
government warned yesterday.

The Food and Drug Administration asked makers of 10 drugs to add
or strengthen suicide-related warnings on their labels.

The agency insists it’s not yet clear whether the drugs
actually spur suicide on occasion, or whether the underlying mental
illness is to blame. But FDA bowed to pressure from anguished
families who, at an emotional meeting last month, blamed the pills
for their loved ones’ suicides and pleaded for better


Nichols prosecutor says he hated govt


Terry Nichols went on trial for his life yesterday in the
Oklahoma City bombing and was alternately portrayed as an eager
participant in the attack and a fall guy in a conspiracy wider than
the government has acknowledged.

Nichols hated the U.S. government and worked hand-in-hand with
Timothy McVeigh in assembling and detonating the “huge,
monstrous bomb,” prosecutor Lou Keel said during opening
statements in the state murder trial, recalling the explosion that
killed 168 civilians — including many children — in the
spring of 1995. McVeigh was executed in 2001.

“These two were partners, and their business was
terrorism,” Keel said.


— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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