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President Bush and his top cabinet members were meeting with a parade of world leaders to gain the widest possible support for a crackdown on terrorism. French President Jacques Chirac (above, l., with Bush) said he favored retaliation if its strategy were first agreed upon. Bush also met with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, whose country has the largest population of Muslims. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who also was to meet with Bush, said terrorism is a "challenge to the civilized community that needs to be forcefully confronted." Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was believed to be considering a trip to Washington tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Bush signed into law a $40 billion relief package, most of which will go to recovery efforts in New York, Washington, and southwestern Pennsylvania, where four hijacked planes crashed last week. He also signed a congressional resolution authorizing him to order military force against the those found to be responsible for the attacks.

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Federal authorities filed the first criminal charges arising from the terrorism investigation after finding three men in Detroit with airport diagrams and phony immigration documents in their possession. Agents, armed with new legal powers, expanded their efforts to find possible terrorist collaborators. The arrests occurred after FBI agents raided a residence looking for one of the 200 people being sought in the investigation. Four have been arrested as material witnesses so far.

The US trade deficit narrowed slightly to $28.8 billion in July as a big drop in imports of cars, oil, and other foreign products offset the biggest fall in exports on record. The Commerce Department said the July trade deficit was 0.8 percent smaller than the June imbalance of $29.1 billion.

The US won't negotiate with Afghanistan's Taliban regime to gain custody of Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in last week's attacks - or members of his network, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. Taliban leaders earlier said they were ready for talks with the US about bin Laden. The administration also ruled out presenting the UN with evidence of bin Laden's involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks, saying such a move could require revealing sensitive intelligence-gathering information. Meanwhile, a federal grand jury in New York opened an investigation into the attacks.

A Navy battle group set out from Norfolk, Va., for the Mediterranean and "points east" as the military repositioned its forces for a campaign against terrorism, Pentagon officials said. The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its wing of fighter jets leads the task force, which also includes amphibious assault ships carrying 2,000 combat Marines capable of conducting special operations.