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Reversing its opposition to guns in the cockpit, the Bush administration is planning a small-scale test program of arming commercial pilots, reports said. In May, Transportation Department undersecretary John Magaw said pilots would not be allowed to carry guns, arguing it was their responsibility to control the aircraft while trained law-enforcement officials protected them. But the House in July voted 310-113 to arm pilots, prompting the White House to rethink its position.

President Bush has decided to take his case for regime change in Iraq to the permanent members of the UN Security Council, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. He said Bush will begin making calls Friday to the leaders of Britain, France, Russia, and China with what he believes is "sufficient evidence" on Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction to justify ousting its leader, Saddam Hussein. On Sept. 12, Bush is expected to raise the issue in a speech to the UN General Assembly.

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Friday, for only the second time in history, Congress will hold a joint session away from its seat of power. In a display of solidarity with New Yorkers as the one-year anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks nears, the legislators will gather at Federal Hall in Manhattan, where the first president, George Washington, took his oath of office. The hour-long session is expected to be largely symbolic.

In what has been called the fullest picture yet of the financial impact of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, a new report estimated the devastation may total $95 billion and may have cost New York 83,000 jobs. In a 58-page analysis, city Comptroller William Thompson estimated that $21.8 billion will be needed just to replace buildings. While $21.4 billion in federal aid has been set aside, only $2.7 billion has so far been released.

The productivity of US companies grew at its most sluggish pace in a year during the second quarter, the Labor Department reported. Output per hour of work rose at an annual rate of 1.5 percent. While that was better than the 1.1 percent estimated a month ago, it marked a significant slowdown from the 8.6 percent growth rate of the first quarter.

The Oakland A's set an American League record by winning their 20th straight game. But victory didn't come easily: They blew an 11-run lead before beating the Kansas City Royals in their last at-bat Wednesday night, 12-11.


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