USA

A US firm said it has cloned a human embryo in an experiment aimed not at creating a human being, but at mining it for stem-cell research. The announcement by Advanced Cell Technology Inc. of Worcester, Mass., drew immediate criticism from critics concerned that the step would lead to human cloning. Federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer money in the cloning of humans, but privately funded Advanced Cell Technology operates with fewer restrictions.

Three teenagers were in police custody on suspicion of planning an armed attack on their New Bedford, Mass., high school that would rival the 1999 Columbine massacre in Littleton, Colo. Police said the three, a 17-year-old and two 15-year-olds, intended to detonate explosives and then shoot teachers and students as they fled. Reports said they intended to take their own lives when police arrived. An investigation into the plan was launched last month after a student told a teacher of rumors that such an assault was being planned. A letter outlining the plan was later found by a janitor. The students are to be arraigned today.

Navajo Code Talkers, who played a significant role in the defeat of Japanese forces during World War II, were honored in a ceremony at Window Rock, Ariz., that many supporters said was long overdue. More than 300 Congressional Silver Medals were presented to surviving veterans (above), who carried and decoded messages throughout the Pacific. The 29 men who created the code were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal earlier this year.

Hundreds of passengers were forced to evacuate all four concourses at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for three hours after a National Guardsman noticed that a metal detector was unplugged. About 100 aircraft were delayed or otherwise affected and a TWA flight already in the air was called back, an airport spokesman said. The metal detector at a checkpoint operated by Alaska Airlines reportedly was without electricity for about 15 minutes.

Tornadoes spawned by a powerful storm system killed at least nine people and injured almost 200 others in Arkansas and Mississippi. Part of a line of thunderstorms spanning the Ohio and Mississippi valleys from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, the twisters destroyed or damaged buildings, downed power lines, and sent frightened residents scurrying for shelter. Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) declared a state of emergency in eight counties where the greatest damage occurred.

Warning of difficult times ahead, President Bush in his weekly radio address reminded Americans they have much to be thankful for and urged them to take heart from their response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Bush reiterated that the country's war against terrorism would not be quickly or easily won and reaffirmed its commitment to prevail.

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