USA

Concerned that terrorists may be plotting an imminent attack on the USor American interests in Yemen, the FBI issued the fourth, and most detailed, alert since Sept. 11. Officials identified Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeei, a Saudi-born Yemeni national whose whereabouts are not known, as one of several possible attackers, but named no specific targets. The warning was based on what the FBI deemed credible, but uncorroborated, information from detainees in Afghanistan and at the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay got an earful at a Senate committee hearing into the energy giant's collapse. As expected, Lay cited his right not to incriminate himself by answering questions. But Sen. John McCain, (R) of Arizona regretted that Lay refused to explain "how you ... failed so completely to fulfill your responsibilities." In prepared testimony, William Powers, an Enron director and dean of the University of Texas Law School, said Lay bore "significant responsibility" for approving partnerships used to hide $500 million in Enron debts and for failing to implement procedures to prevent such abuses. (Related story, page 1.)

It turned out to be a hoax, but a bomb threat during the heightened state of alert prompted police to temporarily close New York's biggest bus terminal during morning rush hour. A spokesman for the Port Authority Bus Terminal said a man showed police what he claimed was a bomb. It turned out to be a cell phone taped with wires. The man is under arrest.

The first trial related to the Sept. 11 attacks was to begin in a federal court in Arizona as the Monitor went to press. Faisal al Salmi is not accused of participating in the attacks but is charged with making false statements to the FBI about whether he knew Hani Hanjour, believed to have been one of the hijackers who crashed a jet into the Pentagon. Al Salmi has pleaded innocent.

Figure skating once again was the focus of controversy at the Winter Olympics. Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze won the gold medal in the pairs competition, narrowly edging out Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier (above, reacting to lower-than expected scores) in a decision criticized by commentators and booed by fans in Salt Lake City. In other events, US athletes swept all three medals in the men's halfpipe in snowboarding. (Related story, page 9; opinion, page 11.)

"The Lord of the Rings"led the Oscar nominations race with 13 - among them best picture and best director. "A Beautiful Mind" and "Moulin Rouge" drew eight nominations apiece from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The winners will be announced March 24.

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