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The US is losing the technology war to better-funded rogue groups, the head of the federal agency responsible for early detection of terrorism declared. Gen. Mike Hayden, director of the National Security Agency, alleged that Osama bin Laden, for example, was able to orchestrate the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa because he has better communications technology and equipment. Hayden was interviewed for a broadcast tonight of CBS's "60 Minutes II."

A coalition of 14 groups across the political spectrum presented a "privacy pledge" to federal officials that calls for consumers to have the right to remove or correct personal information held by online companies. It also would allow individuals to sue if their personal data were used improperly - a provision strongly opposed by industry groups. The coalition of privacy advocates includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, and the United Auto Workers Union.

A situation that made headlines for the doubts it cast on the capital punishment system drew to a close, as Earl Washington Jr. walked out of a Virginia prison after spending 9-1/2 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. Washington, who is considered mentally retarded, confessed to a 1982 rape and murder, although there was little concrete evidence to link him to the crime. DNA tests showed he was wrongly convicted. Washington, however, still has six months of parole to serve on an unrelated assault conviction.

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The search-and-rescue operation for nine people missing from a Japanese fishing boat that was struck by a US submarine was turning up only life rafts and debris. As a result, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, along with relatives of the missing, asked the US to raise the ship. A spokesman for the Navy said it has such ability, but the equipment was not yet in place near Hawaii. Meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice, US national security adviser, pledged on TV news shows a "transparent" investigation of the Friday incident. (Story, page 7.)

Demand for machine tools, often considered a key economic indicator because of the clues it provides about the pace of manufacturing in the US, rose 21.8 percent in December, two industry groups reported. But the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association and the Association for Manufacturing Technology said that demand for all of last year was just 0.8 percent higher than in 1999. The groups concluded that most manufacturers purchased equipment during the economic expansion of the 1990s and are now holding steady.

No one was hurt by three small explosive devices found in Philadelphia suburbs over the weekend, but concern mounted that a serial pipe-bomb maker is at work. Police were investigating whether the explosives were related to 15 incidents reported in the area over the past year. Although authorities said they have few concrete leads, they don't think the devices are the work of teen pranksters.

A surprise fourth-quarter comeback topped off the 50th anniversary of the NBA All-Star Game Sunday. The Eastern Conference stars, led by Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers, pulled out a 111-110 victory after being down 21 points.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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