USA

US authorities have foiled four bombing plots overseas since Sept. 11, but evidence grows that loosely knit terrorist cells are agitating to strike again, investigators said. Over the last month, 225 people overseas have been rounded up in 12 countries based on intelligence indicating they were involved in plotting or assisting terrorism. The FBI believes several people remain at large in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. (Related story, page 1.)

The number of people exposed to anthrax sent through the mail grew to at least 13 in three states with the addition of staffers in Senate majority leader Tom Daschle's office and a police officer and two laboratory technicians in New York. Most of those exposed have not developed the disease and are receiving medical treatment. Bush said there may be a link between the anthrax outbreaks in Florida, Nevada, and New York and the Sept. 11 attacks but police were pursuing many possibilities. Meanwhile, the White House was to ask Congress for $1.5 billion to combat bioterrorism, including boosting antibiotics supplies.

President Bush strongly rejected an offer by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban to turn over Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks, to a third country in exchange for evidence of his guilt and an end to US bombings. "We know he's guilty. Turn him over," Bush demanded, as US military strikes in Afghanistan entered their second week. (Related story, page 1.)

The Supreme Court said it will decide whether an Ohio town violates the rights of Jehovah's Witnesses by requiring permission from the mayor for door-to-door visits in neighborhoods. The religious group, which often visits neighborhoods to hand out literature and recruit believers, claims the Stratton ordinance limits their ministry. It applies to all such solicitations. The court will decide whether the restriction unconstitutionally affects the First Amendment guarantee to free exercise of religion.

Ohio drivers lost a high court appeal that asked whether police roadblocks to check for unlicensed drivers violated the Constitution's guarantee against unreasonable searches or stops. The court, without comment, declined to hear the case of two Dayton men cited for driving without licenses in 1998. Police generally need a warrant or a reason to suspect someone of a crime before detaining him. In prior rulings, the justices had allowed police to set up sobriety checkpoints and border roadblocks to intercept illegal immigrants. In both cases, the court found that benefits to public safety outweighed the inconvenience and loss of privacy.

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