USA

The Federal Reserve was expected to lower a key interest rate for the ninth time this year to its lowest level since 1962 in an attempt to stabilize the slowing economy. The federal funds rate, the interest banks charge each other on overnight loans, was most recently lowered Sept. 17 to 3 percent, its lowest level in nine years. Following the attacks, consumer confidence has plunged and layoffs have risen to a nine-year high. Meanwhile, President Bush's chief economic adviser, Glenn Hubbard, said there's a high probability the economy will have two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, the textbook definition of a recession.

Bush was nearing consensus with Congress on a stimulus plan that aims to boost the economy without doing long-term damage. After meeting with key leaders, the president said they're pursuing a plan that encourages corporate investment and demand for US products, such as tax cuts for businesses and individuals, direct aid to the unemployed, and increased federal spend-ing. Bush was considering such Democratic demands as raising the minimum wage and ensuring health insurance and other benefits to laid off workers.

Bush authorized the reopening of Washington's Reagan National Airport tomorrow under tight security, including armed air marshals on every flight. Under new rules, the number of incoming and outgoing flights will be limited. Authorities are concerned about the airport's proximity to the White House and other key government facilities.

Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (R), who was in the spotlight during last fall's presidential election recount, announced she will run for a seat in the US House. Harris wants to replace retiring Rep. Dan Miller (R), who represents Florida's 13th congressional district that encompasses Sarasota, her hometown.

Acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift (R) was expected to remove the security chief of the state agency that runs Boston's Logan Airport, where the hijacked flights that crashed into the World Trade Center originated. Despite stricter measures since the attacks, the airport has experienced continuing security breaches under Joseph Lawless. Swift was to replace him temporarily with William Bratton, a former New York and Boston police commissioner.

Authorities reported some success in cutting off sources of terrorist funds, with $6 million in assets blocked and 50 bank accounts frozen worldwide so far. Meanwhile, the USS Kitty Hawk left Japan and headed to the Arabian Sea, becoming the fourth aircraft carrier dispatched in preparation for a likely military strike against Afghanistan.

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