USA

President Bush signed an executive order freezing the assets of 27 individuals and groups linked to international terrorism, calling it a "strike on the financial foundation" of terrorists. The move also prohibits US companies from doing business with them and covers firms that may serve as fronts for terrorists. The Treasury Department also has been given the authority to freeze US financial assets of foreign banks that don't cooperate in shutting down militant groups. Bush's announcement came as New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani (R) revised the number of people missing or dead from the World Trade Center attacks upward to 6,729.

The Federal Aviation Administration extended a weekend ban on the use of crop-duster and other agricultural planes in the US because of "national security reasons." The FBI is limiting the use of such planes amid concerns that suspected terrorists might have plotted to use the aircraft for another attack, possibly chemical or biological. The FBI said the step was taken out of "an abundance of caution." Investigators reportedly found a manual on crop-dusters among the possessions of a Middle Easterner being questioned about the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mayor Guiliani, who has won high praise for his handling of the attacks on the World Trade Center, was considering ways to prolong his term in office beyond its Dec. 31 expiration. In a news conference Monday, Guiliani, a Republican, said he'll need time to decide. He could seek a change in a law that bars him from serving more than two four-year terms or he could press for a six-month extension of his current term. The city's mayoral primary is set for today.

In a reversal of last week's plunge, the Dow Jones industrial Average was up 300 points in early trading as the Monitor went to press; the Nasdaq was up 55 points. The Dow fell more than 14 percent last week, its worst point loss in history.

US Air Force B-52 and B-1 bombers and other military forces were reportedly in place at undisclosed locations overseas in support of an expected anti-terrorist strike against Saudi exile Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network, Defense Department officials said. Afghan-istan's ruling Taliban is believed to be sheltering bin Laden and his network, the prime suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks. The US also promised to answer growing demands that it deliver a written indictment against bin Laden.

Bush was to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien at the White House to address border security issues as well as Canada's role in the "war on terrorism." He is expected to receive Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi today to discuss the extent of Japan's role.

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