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Chip in billions to rebuild Afghanistan, U.S. urges nations

The Bush administration urged other nations Thursday to set aside qualms about instability in Afghanistan and come through on their pledge to put billions of dollars into rebuilding the war-ravaged country.

"The need is great," said Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In turn, Afghan officials pledged not to linger on foreign aid rolls. "I'm grateful for the words of assurance, and for the actions which have been taken by the United States," said Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah.

Powell met with Abdullah as the Afghan wrapped up a two-day summit in Washington, at which he and fellow ministers brainstormed with American experts on ways to put their country back together after more than 20 years of war.

House backs meeting

in New York on Sept. 6

WASHINGTON _ Congress is one step closer to coming to the Big Apple.

The House on Thursday voted to hold a special session in New York City on Sept. 6, five days before the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The visit has been scaled back from original ideas for a full-blown session to a more symbolic gathering to which each state would send at least one member from its delegation.

The measure was approved by voice vote and is expected to breeze through the Senate as well.

Pakistan holds suspect

in U.S. consulate bombing

KARACHI, Pakistan _ An antiterrorism court on Thursday ordered a man suspected of planning and financing a deadly attack on a U.S. consulate held in police custody for questioning.

Mohammed Ashraf is suspected of belonging to Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen al-Almi, an extremist group with links to the al-Qaida terror network. Two of the group's top leaders were arrested this month, and police say they have confessed to roles in the June 14 car bombing in Karachi.

Police allege Ashraf arranged preparation of the explosive-laden vehicle used in the attack, which killed at least 12 people, all Pakistanis. They also suspect him of being the group's treasurer.

DNA TESTS HANDED OVER: The United States has given Pakistan the results of DNA tests performed on a body believed to be that of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, a U.S. Embassy official said Thursday.

John Kincannon, the embassy spokesman, said the information was handed to the Pakistan Interior Ministry. An official there said the U.S. test results would be compared to those done by Pakistani doctors.

Would-be Florida

terrorist pleads guilty

FORT LAUDERDALE _ An amateur terrorist who dreamed of destroying power stations, a National Guard armory, Jewish businesses and even Mount Rushmore pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal indictment that could put him in prison for up to 20 years.

In the first major terrorism prosecution in South Florida since Sept. 11, Shueyb Mossa Jokhan of Hollywood, Fla., said, "Yes, your honor," when asked by U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas if he and a Pakistani immigrant scouted out targets in Broward and Miami-Dade counties in pursuit of their jihad, or holy war.

House would add billions

for intelligence agencies

WASHINGTON _ The House has approved a multibillion-dollar increase in intelligence spending at the same time its intelligence committee determined that gaps have developed in critical national security areas because so much emphasis is being given to the global war on terrorism.

The House late Wednesday passed the fiscal 2003 intelligence authorization bill containing an estimated $35-billion to fund spending next year for operations at the CIA, National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies. A Democratic leadership aide said the spending would be 25 percent more than the amount approved last year.

SEPT. 11 COMMISSION: The spending measure also creates an independent commission to study the Sept. 11 hijackings despite White House concerns that the panel would distract intelligence agencies trying to prevent future attacks.

The scope of the commission would be narrower than what supporters had sought, and it was unclear how much support the proposal has in the Senate, particularly in light of the Bush administration's opposition.

Pentagon about to build

more cells at Guantanamo

MIAMI _ Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has decided to again expand America's interrogation compound in Cuba, signaling that more international terror suspects are expected at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.

Pentagon officials could announce a contract to add more cells as early as today, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Barbara Burfeind, a Department of Defense spokeswoman. The Associated Press reported, quoting officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, that the contract is for construction of 200 units at the 600-cell facility. The prison population is 564.

Official: Agent suspended

for anti-Muslim graffiti

DETROIT _ A Secret Service agent has admitted he scrawled anti-Muslim statements on a prayer calendar during the home search of a man charged with smuggling bogus checks into the United States, authorities said Thursday.

The incident took place when agents searched the Dearborn home of Omar Shishani, who has pleaded innocent to bringing $12-million in forged cashiers checks on a flight from Indonesia.

Shishani's brother, Abdallah Shishani, said he and his wife found that "Islam is Evil" and "Christ is King" had been written on the prayer calendar on the refrigerator.

Jeffrey Collins, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, would not identify the agent but said he had been a Secret Service special agent for about 10 years. He was put on leave, and officials said he could be fired and face criminal charges.

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