WASHINGTON

Report cites ‘hidden’ costs in wars

The economic costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to total $1.6 trillion – roughly double the amount the White House has requested thus far, according to a new report by Democrats on Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.

The report, released yesterday, attempted to put a price tag on the two conflicts, including “hidden” costs such as interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars, lost investment, the expense of long-term health care for injured veterans and the cost of oil market disruptions.

The $1.6 trillion figure, for the period from 2002 to 2008, translates into a cost of $20,900 for a family of four, the report said. The Bush administration has requested $804 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined, the report stated.

For the Iraq war only, total economic costs were estimated at $1.3 trillion for the period from 2002 to 2008. That would cost a family of four $16,500, the report said.

VIENNA, Austria

In hope of avoiding sanctions, Iran provides plans

Iran has met a key demand of the U.N. nuclear agency by delivering blueprints that show how to mold uranium metal into the shape of warheads, diplomats said yesterday, in an apparent concession meant to stave off the threat of new U.N. sanctions.

But the diplomats said Tehran has failed to meet other requests made by the International Atomic Energy Agency in its attempts to end nearly two decades of nuclear secrecy on the part of the Islamic Republic.

The diplomats spoke to The Associated Press as IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei put the finishing touches on his latest report to the agency’s 35-nation board of governors, for consideration during a meeting that begins on Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day.

WASHINGTON

Justice Dept. to re-examine wiretapping laws

The Justice Department has reopened a long-dormant inquiry into the government’s warrantless wiretapping program, a major policy shift only days into the tenure of Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

The investigation by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility was shut down last year, after the investigators were denied security clearances. Gonzales told Congress that President Bush, not he, denied the clearances.

“We recently received the necessary security clearances and are now able to proceed with our investigation,” H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel for the OPR, wrote to Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) A copy of the letter, dated yesterday, was obtained by The Associated Press.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.

Plan would hurt rivers, critics say

A plan before the state Senate would let farms, factories and others pull enough water from some rivers and streams to reduce their flow rates significantly, environmentalists said yesterday.

The legislation’s chief sponsor said its critics were exaggerating.

The plan is contained in a package of bills that would give Michigan’s approval to a regional compact to prevent Great Lakes water from being sent to water-poor regions. All eight states adjoining the lakes must ratify the compact for it to take effect.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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