USA

Some $700 million in aid will begin flowing to lower Manhattan businesses in about two weeks, the first direct federal assistance to them in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, New York Gov. George Pataki (R) said. Retail and service companies with fewer than 500 employees and that intend to remain in the area are eligible. The funds will allow the Empire State Development Corp. to raise the cap from $10,000 to $100,000 for most eligible businesses. Those with significant property damage can receive up to $200,000.

Outgoing New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) delivered his farewell address one block from the ruins of the World Trade Center. Giuliani (above, r.) has received widespread praise and earlier this week was named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for his response to the Sept. 11 attacks. But he was barred by term limits from seeking a third consecutive term, and his last day in City Hall will be Dec. 31.

Also in New York, a lawsuit was filed against the city demanding the return of about 900 vehicles towed from the World Trade Center neighborhood in the days after the attacks. The suit, which seeks class action status on behalf of the vehicles' owners, was brought by John Diaz, who says his 1993 Chevrolet minivan was parked blocks away from the center. He found it Sept. 11 covered in soot and with minor damage, but was forbidden to remove it. It was later moved to a landfill.

A week before filing for bankruptcy protection, Enron Corp. contributed $100,000 to Democrats after giving nearly all its prior donations this year to Republicans. The money went to the organization that aids Senate Democratic candidates, but a recently hired attorney for Enron insisted the donations were unrelated to congressional investigations now under way. He said the money was pledged months before the company's collapse and that the shift reflected the Democrats taking control of the Senate this year.

Hall of Famer Dan Issel resigned as head coach and team president of the National Basketball Association's Denver Nuggets two weeks after being suspended for making an insensitive ethnic remark to a heckler at a game earlier this month. Issel accepted a buyout from the team, although its terms were confidential.

A Japanese tourist, frustrated by long lines because of increased security at Miami's international airport, was arrested after making a remark about blowing up the plane he was due to board, authorities said. He was charged with making a false report of planting a bomb, and could face 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine if found guilty at trial.

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