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House passes compromise antiterrorism bill

The House signed off Tuesday on a compromise $28.9-billion antiterrorism package, capping a four-month fight that saw lawmakers heed President Bush's demands to limit the bill's cost.

Half the measure's money was for the stepped-up battle against terrorism that the Pentagon and intelligence agencies have waged since the Sept. 11 attacks. Other recipients included New York's rebuilding efforts, federal aviation safety programs, local emergency agencies, allies like Afghanistan and the Philippines and a slew of home-district projects won by lawmakers.

"This is a victory for the president and for taxpayers," White House budget office spokesman Trent Duffy said of the vote. "Congress met the president's demands to do what's necessary without going overboard."

The House approved the measure by 397-32 after only an hour of debate, and Senate passage was expected today. The money is for the rest of the federal budget year that ends Sept. 30.

The bill's contents were widely popular, but Bush's request last March for a $27.1-billion version of the measure ignited an election-year battle over its proper size. The Democratic-run Senate's bill reached $31.5-billion, but with huge budget deficits making a comeback, White House officials threatened to veto anything exceeding the Republican-run House's nearly $29-billion cost.

The bill's major categories included $14.5-billion for defense and intelligence; $6.7-billion for aviation safety, the FBI and other domestic security programs; $5.5-billion for New York; and $2.1-billion for foreign aid and U.S. diplomatic programs.

New technology detects radiation at U.S. borders

Specially equipped trucks are scanning unopened shipping containers at U.S. borders for radiation emissions from so-called dirty bombs, Customs and corporate officials said Tuesday.

They are part of a battery of new equipment being dispatched to border agents to help prevent terrorists from smuggling into the country a bomb that would spread radioactive waste over populated areas, U.S. Customs Service officials say.

Twenty-four such trucks are being used in the United States, its manufacturer said. American Science and Engineering Inc. displayed one of the $2-million vehicles in Washington in part to get Congress' attention as lawmakers consider legislation to improve domestic security.

The trucks approach one end of a container, extend a giant arm, or boom, over and partway down the other side of the structure and begin the scan. The scanning truck then moves forward at 6 inches per second, as X-ray images of the contents light up a screen.

Sheridan said the 24 trucks in use are at the national borders and the ports of West Palm Beach, Boston and Long Beach, Calif.

U.S. indicts five Filipinos in kidnapping of Americans

WASHINGTON _ The Justice Department announced Tuesday the indictment of five leaders of the militant Islamic group Abu Sayyaf for kidnappings that led to the death of an American missionary in a gunbattle in the Philippines on June 7.

Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson said at a news conference that none of the men indicted were in custody and that they remained the subject of a $5-million reward. The whereabouts of the men are unknown, but American officials said one may have died in a clash last month.

That man _ identified in the indictment as Aldam Tilao, who has used the nom de guerre Abu Sabaya _ was reportedly killed in the waters off Zamboanga, in the southern Philippines. Law enforcement officials said Tilao was charged because he might be alive.

The indictment, which was originally brought in February under seal and refiled publicly on Tuesday with additional information, identified the other four men as Khadafi Abubakar Janjalani, spiritual leader of the group; Isnilon Totoni Hapilon, the second in command; Jainal Antel Sali Jr., an intelligence officer; and Hamsiraji Marusi Sali, a group leader.

American Muslim may have trained with al-Qaida

WASHINGTON _ An American Muslim activist who authorities believe may have trained at an al-Qaida terrorist camp in Afghanistan has been taken into custody, a law enforcement official said.

James Ujaama, 36, was arrested Monday night in Denver as a material witness to terrorist activity. He was flown to Virginia, where he is being held, the official told the Associated Press. The alleged terrorist activity was not related to the Sept. 11 attacks, the official said.