The nine miners rescued from a flooded coal shaft met with President Bush in Pennsylvania Monday and told him about their three-day ordeal. Bush saluted the courage of the miners, volunteers, and rescuers in a televised speech intended to boost national morale. He said that the effort represented the "best of America" and claimed that the same spirit was needed to win the war on terrorism. The Walt Disney Co. has paid the miners more than $100,000 each for the rights to use their story in a movie.
A Pennsylvania judge stirred controversy by temporarily barring a woman from having an abortion. The order came in a lawsuit filed by the woman's former boyfriend, who wants her to have the child and is seeking custody. Abortion rights advocates have urged higher courts to overturn the order immediately, while fathers' rights advocates and abortion opponents praised the decision. The man claims his ex-girlfriend's mother is pressuring her to have the abortion.
In related news, Bush signed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. The measure, which was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate July 18 and a voice vote in the House in March, specifies that every infant born alive is guaranteed full rights under federal law, regardless of whether the birth was intended or was the result of an abortion. The legislation is similar to protections already in force in many states.
A widely publicized investigation of intelligence leaks from the US Congress has been blocked after Senate leaders Thomas Daschle (D) of South Dakota and minority leader Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi refused to consent to lie-detector tests for lawmakers. The FBI probe was launched after a leak from the joint House-Senate intelligence committee allowed several newspapers and at least one television network to reproduce a portion of a Sept. 10 National Security Agency intercept. The Bush administration has worked hard to contain leaks coming from Capitol Hill.
In the event of a US attack on Iraq, Bush has the power to decide on the timing of any pre-emptive release of the US's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said Monday. Abraham, who was in London to visit the Intenational Petroleum Exchange, Europe's largest energy futures market, said it was the policy of the Bush administration that national security alone would dictate the release of SPR, and that the reserves would not be used to dictate oil pricing. The administration's recent decision to fill the SPR to its 700 million barrel maximum is unrelated to a policy of removing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power, Abraham said.
Navy divers were working to position the cables needed to haul up the 120-ton gun turret of the sunken Civil War ironclad USS Monitor. On Saturday, divers were able to remove human remains found inside the turret. Sixteen Monitor sailors died Dec. 31, 1862, when the ship sank in a winter storm off Cape Hatteras, N.C. The Monitor, a Union ship, and the Confederate vessel CSS Virginia revolutionized naval warfare when they fought to a draw.