USA

John Walker Lindh, captured while fighting with Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, faced a trial in a civilian court on federal charges of conspiracy to kill US nationals. If convicted, he could be sentenced to prison for life. Court records filed by the Justice Department said Lindh consciously betrayed his country. "He chose," Attorney General Ashcroft said, "to embrace fanatics, and his allegiance to those terrorists never faltered." Ashcroft said Walker waived his right to an attorney verbally and in writing during interrogation sessions. (Story, page 2; editorial, page 8.)

A day after being fired by accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP for leading an effort to destroy Enron documents, the executive in charge of auditing the failed company was to be interviewed by staffers of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. On Tuesday, Anderson said David Duncan had organized a document-destruction effort Oct. 23, shortly after he learned the Securities and Exchange Commission was asking Enron for accounting information. The Chicago-based firm also said it will relieve four partners in its Houston office, which oversaw Enron's audits, of their management duties.

Following up quickly on Andersen's revelations, a Tulsa, Okla., company sued on grounds that the auditing firm had "recklessly disregarded evidence of questionable financial transactions between Enron and its insiders." Attorneys for Samson Investment Co., which explores for and produces oil and natural gas, requested class-action status for the suit on behalf of affected companies.

Some federal tax cuts due to take effect in 2004 and beyond should be delayed so that the government can afford other priorities, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts said in Washington. Kennedy argued that to delay multiple parts of President Bush's $1.35 trillion, 10-year tax cut would free $350 billion for education and Medicare prescription drug benefits without borrowing from Social Security or other Medicare commitments. The measure cleared Congress last year with bipartisan support. (Story, page 1.)

The cable TV industry won a Supreme Court ruling in favor of federal control over the rates charged for high-speed Internet lines attached to utility poles. The justices reversed a federal appeals panel ruling last year that the Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to regulate rental rates for Internet service.

Led by a drop in energy prices, inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, edged up only 1.6 percent last year, the Labor Department said. By comparison, the index jumped 3.4 percent in 2000. In December, consumer prices fell 0.2 percent, capping a year in which inflation was at its lowest level since 1998.

Two students were wounded in the first shooting inside a New York public school in eight years. As the Monitor went to press, police had yet to make any arrests for the attack Tuesday at Martin Luther King High.

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