USA

Former WorldCom chief financial officer Scott Sullivan and ex-controller David Myers were being held by the FBI in New York after surrendering for their roles in the company's $3.85 billion accounting scandal. WorldCom, which filed for the world's largest bankruptcy in early July, has been charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company's failure has rocked confidence in corporate America and in the stock market.

President Bush met with King Abdullah of Jordan, assuring him that despite the administration's commitment to a regime change in Iraq, the US would consult with its allies before making a military move to oust Saddam Hussein from power. But he said Abdullah "will find out I haven't changed my mind." The monarch, in turn, praised Bush's efforts to help establish a Palestinian state and asked the president to continue to work for peace in the region.

A federal judge ruled that Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters held in Cuba do not have a right to US court hearings. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said Wed-nesday that the 600 men held at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay technically are not in the US and therefore do not fall under the jurisdiction of federal courts. The ruling, which affects two Britons, an Australian, and 12 Kuwaitis, is the first signifigant legal support for the Bush administration's detainment policy in the war on terrorism.

Law-enforcement agents in New Jersey were searching for fugititive Muhamed El Atriss, an Egyptian businessman suspected of selling fake identification to two of the Sept. 11 hijackers. Agents raided the suspect's home and business Wednesday after he had fled. El Atriss faces 28 criminal charges, among them the manufacture and distribution of fraudulent documents.

Two teenage girls were kidnapped at gunpoint early Thursday morning in the Quartz Hill area of Lancaster, Calif. Police were searching for the the missing girls and for the suspect, described as a man probably in his 30s with a Hispanic accent, as the Monitor went to press.

July's selloff of stocks by anxious investors marked the fourth consecutive month of falling share prices, reports said. The last time equities plummeted so precipitously was more than 20 years ago. Meanwhile, reports issued Thursday indicated manufacturing slipped in July to barely above the Institute for Supply Management's closely watched index for contraction. It measured manufacturing activity last month at 50.5, down from 56.2 in June. An index above 50 signifies growth; below that shows contraction.

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