USA

Fighting terrorism - at home and abroad - and restoring the economy are key goals President Bush will set out in tonight's State of the Union address, administration officials said. Bush will call on Congress to approve tax cuts, extended unemployment benefits, prescription drug coverage for Medicare patients, and a more industry-friendly energy policy, they said. The speech marks the start of Bush's second year in office. But 2002 also is a congressional election year, which could make bipartisan support hard to win. (Related stories, pages 1, 2.)

If it wants, the US is "welcome" to join the multinational peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, interim Prime Minister Hamid Karzai told NBC's "Today" show. Most Afghans would like the force to expand operations beyond the capital, Kabul, he added. As the Monitor went to press, Karzai was due at the White House for talks with Bush and other senior officials. They are expected to focus on rebuilding the shattered country and on security efforts.

To learn more details of Vice President Cheney's discussions with Enron and other energy industry representatives, the General Accounting Office said it may sue the White House. A decision is expected later this week by Congress's investigative body. Cheney said Sunday that the matter probably will end up in court. Cheney or his aides met six times with Enron representatives last year. Numerous investigations are under way into the financial dealings of the bankrupt Houston-based energy giant.

After the apparent kidnapping of one of its reporters, The Wall Street Journal appealed for his immediate release. The newspaper said Daniel Pearl (above) disappeared last Wednesday en route to an interview in Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistani and US media received email over the weekend from a group calling itself "the National Movement for Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty." It accused Pearl of being a CIA agent and claimed it was holding him under inhumane conditions to protest the treatment of Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at the US Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Journal and the CIA deny that Pearl worked for the agency.

The New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams won berths in Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. They clinched their conference championships Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively. The Rams emerged as the early heavy favorite for this weekend's game in the Louisiana Superdome, their second appearance in the contest in three years. The Patriots last played in the Super Bowl in 1998, losing to the Green Bay Packers. (Story, page 1.)

In a case that potentially could affect every farmer in the state, Vermont's Supreme Court agreed to hear a dispute between homeowners and a neighboring farmer. George and Carole Trickett of Orwell complain about the traffic, odors, and pollution from an apple orchard run by Peter Ochs.

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