In Seattle, federal law enforcement authorities are investigating a possible connection between two defunct mosques and the Al Qaeda terrorist network. Ferroz Abbassi, a British Taliban fighter held at Guantamo Bay, has provided US investigators with a crucial link between the Seattle mosques and Islamic radicals in London who support Osama bin Laden, the Seattle Times reported, citing government sources. Federal agents have identified six core members of the terrorist group, the paper said.
Fueled by near-daily reports of corporate wrongdoing, the bearish stock market is putting other sectors of the US economy at risk, analysts warn. Last week, the dollar fell to a two-year low against the euro and a nine-month low against the yen. In speech Saturday, President Bush said that restoring confidence in business leaders is "the greatest need for the economy."
In related news, embattled Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Harvey Pitt said he would not resign, despite criticism that he has been a lax regulator. Critical lawmakers claim that Pitt's former ties to the accounting industry creates too much potential for a conflict of interest. Thus far, Bush has stood behind the SEC chairman.
Democrats are stepping up an election year effort to raise voter concerns about Social Security. As the tumbling stock market continued to decimate investment accounts and retirement plans, Democratic leaders from the House and Senate held a news conference Friday to call on Republicans to "end their push to privatize" Social Security. Leading Republicans claim that Social Security reform is not on the agenda for this year and that Democrats are simply trying to scare older Americans in an attempt to win votes.
The Defense Department unveiled its "Defense Planning Guidance" for 2004-2009, a document that denotes a shift toward a strategic policy of "unwarned" preemptive strikes on rogue nations and terrorist targets. The report is part of a Pentagon plan to replace a Cold War-era strategy of readiness to fight two major theater wars at the same time with a more complex approach aimed at dominating on several fronts.
Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh, who died Saturday in Boston, gained international prominence with his 1941 photograph of a glowering Winston Churchill, a portrait that epitomized for millions Britain's determination to defeat Hitler. Other famous Karsh subjects included Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nikita Kruschev, and writer Ernest Hemingway.