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Panel calls for Amtrak liquidation proposal

A federal panel ordered Amtrak to come up with a liquidation plan for itself on Friday, concluding that one more year won't be enough for the national railway to end 30 years of operating deficits.

The Amtrak Reform Council voted 6-5 to declare that Amtrak will not meet a congressional deadline of Dec. 2, 2002, for covering its operating costs without government help.

The ruling does not mean immediate changes in train service. Amtrak has 90 days to draw up a liquidation plan, and the council will use that time to plan a restructuring of U.S. passenger rail.

Congress and the White House will review both plans and make a decision about the future of Amtrak and rail service.

Amtrak criticized the council's decision.

Among other issues, Amtrak questioned whether the council took into account the railway's "heightened public service role" since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Amtrak posted a cash loss of $405-million in the first eight months of fiscal 2001, $17-million more than the comparable period last year. It has consumed more than $24-billion in subsidies _ both operating and capital _ since 1971 and is receiving a $521-million federal subsidy this year.

Bush announces plans for

enhanced ties with India

WASHINGTON _ Despite criticism from India's prime minister of the way the United States has conducted the war against Afghanistan, President Bush announced Friday that he will step up economic, military and counterterrorism ties with India.

"My administration is committed to developing a fundamentally different relationship with India," Bush said after an Oval Office meeting with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Bush and Vajpayee discussed ways to enhance U.S.-India relations, including Indian contributions to the coalition against Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan's Taliban leadership. The two leaders agreed to further cooperation against terrorism, particularly cyberterrorism. India is the world's second largest software producer, after the United States.

When Bush meets with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in New York today, Fleischer said, Bush "will discuss the need for stability in the region and for a peaceful resolution between India and Pakistan."

Agencies get poor marks on computer security

WASHINGTON _ Though the government has beefed up security at its buildings since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, it still fails to protect its many vital computer networks, according to a House panel that Friday graded U.S. cybersecurity efforts.

The House Government Reform subcommittee flunked two-thirds of the government's 24 largest agencies, including the departments of Defense, Commerce, Energy, Justice and Treasury, in its "computer security report card."

The government is so poorly protected from hackers and cyberterrorists that "the vast amount of sensitive information stored on government computers could be compromised and the systems themselves be subject to . . . attack," subcommittee chairman Stephen Horn, R-Calif., said.

Horn's tough report card was reinforced by the General Accounting Office's congressional investigators, who Friday issued their own critical report.

In letter, Clinton resigns from Supreme Court bar

Former President Bill Clinton wants to resign from the Supreme Court bar, a lawyer for Clinton said in a letter to the court.

Under an agreement in January to settle complaints that he gave false testimony in the Paula Jones case, Clinton accepted a five-year suspension from the Arkansas bar and was assessed a $25,000 fine.

Under Supreme Court rules, such an action automatically leads to suspension from the Supreme Court bar. On Oct. 2, the court suspended Clinton from the bar, giving him 40 days to explain why he should not be disbarred.

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