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Wall Street showed signs of stabilizing in early trading, a day after its reopening sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting 684 points - its biggest one-day point drop in history. The Dow fell to below 9,000 for the first time in more than two years, while the Nasdaq lost 115 points, closing at 1,579.55.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld raised doubts about whether the surrender of Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon, would be enough to avert a US-led military campaign against terrorism. Taliban leaders in Afghanistan were considering a Pakistani plan for the extradition of bin Laden to a third country. But Rumsfeld called the problem "much bigger than bin Laden" and said even if he were captured, bin Laden's Al Qaeda network would still try to plan terrorist attacks.

The Bush administration asked Congress to approve new anti-terrorism laws that include quickly expanding the FBI's wiretapping authority, imposing stronger penalties on those who harbor or finance terrorists, and increasing punishments of terrorists themselves. Ashcroft said he hopes Congress will pass the measures this week. Meanwhile, authorities said they're following 47,000 potential leads and have detained 49 people for questioning.

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Hundreds of armed, plainclothes federal agents are to begin flying on domestic commercial airliners to guard against hijackings, Attorney General Ashcroft said. He said many of the agents will come from the Justice Department and will augment the Federal Air Marshal Program, a covert effort by the Federal Aviation Administration that puts armed guards on planes.

The FBI is investigating 41 attacks against Arab-Americans that have occurred nationwide after the terrorist attacks. The latest: an Egyptian-born store owner in Los Angeles, who was killed in a robbery attempt. Members of the Sikh religious community also have been targeted because they're mistaken for Muslims. President Bush, speaking from the Washington Islamic Center (below), denounced such attacks, saying those who "intimidate fellow citizens ... represent the worst of humankind."

Consumer inflation edged up by 0.1 percent in August as lower prices for gasoline, tobacco, and air fares helped to blunt higher costs for medical care, the Labor Department reported. Its Consumer Price Index came after consumer prices had plummeted 0.3 percent in July, the biggest drop in 15 years.

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