USA

The number of Americans taking anthrax-fighting antibiotics as a precaution neared 10,000, as officials found traces of the bacterium in a new location in the Senate office building where a tainted letter arrived last week. The southeast corner of the Hart Senate building was sealed off, but the rest of the building remained open. Meanwhile, most other House and Senate office buildings reopened after tests for anthrax came back negative. So far, 32 Americans have been exposed to anthrax and 13 have been infected.

Federal health officials struck a deal with Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant, to buy 100 million tablets of Cipro, the antibiotic used to ward off anthrax disease. Meanwhile, the Postal Service prepared to issue protective masks and gloves to its 800,000 workers.

A $100 billion economic stimulus package that passed 216 to 214 in the House was expected to undergo major changes in the Democratic-led Senate, where there is more support for additional spending and far less for the bill's range of business and individual tax cuts. More aid for the unemployed and up to $20 billion in spending on homeland security were gaining ground in the Senate.

It is possible that US forces may never catch Osama bin Laden, the chief suspect in the Sept 11 attacks, but his Taliban hosts in Afghanistan likely will be toppled, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told USA Today. After 19 days of airstrikes against the Taliban, Rumsfeld said it would be very difficult to capture or kill bin Laden because "he's got lots of people who support him."

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to the second-highest level since July 1992, when the US was emerging from recession, the Labor Department reported. Newly laid-off Americans filing for benefits rose by 8,000 to 504,000 last week.

A Miami jury cleared O.J. Simpson of "road rage" charges, citing lack of evidence. The former pro football star was acquitted of grabbing another man's glasses and scratching his face in the process during an argument on a Miami road.

* Remember to set your clocks back. Daylight savings time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday.

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