USA

The Supreme Court returns today from summer recess to begin its 2001-2002 term. The justices will decide on such issues as executing the mentally retarded, online child pornography, affirmative-action programs, and using public money to pay for students at failing schools to attend religious private schools. The justices will hear arguments and issue orders on some 2,000 cases that piled up over the past three months. (Story, page 1.)

US forces moved more troops, planes, and other assets within striking distance of Afghanistan, where the ruling Taliban protects the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks, Saudi exile Osama bin Laden. The Marine Corps planned to mobilize 191 more reservists and the Navy 250 more, bringing the number activated so far to at least 16,600. An additional 5,000 National Guardsmen were being trained for security duty at commercial airports following President Bush's request that states keep them in place until long-term, tighter security measures are implemented.

The economy came to a virtual standstill in the second quarter, as gross domestic product, the combined output of goods and services, grew at an annual rate of 0.3 percent, the Commerce Department reported. Analysts said the news means the US likely was pushed into a recession after the Sept. 11 attacks, which have caused billions of dollars in lost business and tens of thousands of layoffs.

Bush was to name retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing as the new US director for combating terrorism, with his mission to fall under the National Security Council.

Fresh terrorist attacks are likely and the risk of such strikes could increase following any military action in the US war on terrorism, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Sunday on CBS's "Face The Nation." He said the FBI is pursuing more than 100,000 leads and had detained at least 480 people, as agents narrowed their search for those behind the attacks. In Germany, authorities arrested three Muslims suspected of plotting attacks in that country.

The cost of cleanup and rebuilding following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center will be almost $40 billion, officials in New York estimated. Clearing the estimated 1.2 million tons of rubble will cost $7 billion alone and could take up to a year, they said.

Thousands of antiwar demonstrators marched through Washington Saturday dressed as doves and waving signs. Larger protests had been planned to oppose policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but the financial meetings were canceled. A peace rally in San Francisco, meanwhile, drew close to 5,000 people. Above, demonstrators gather at Freedom Plaza in Washington.

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