USA

Six men were indicted on charges of conspiring to assist Al Qaeda by federal courts in two cities. In Seattle, Muslim activist James Ujaama was charged with trying to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Ujaama has repeatedly denied links to terrorism. In Detroit, five men were charged with running a sleeper cell and plotting attacks in the US, Turkey, and Jordan. Four of the men were detained shortly after Sept. 11. Federal officials said more indictments were planned in a crackdown on US residents who allegedly diverted millions to terrorist organizations.

North Korea deserves to be labeled with Iraq and Iran as part of President Bush's "axis of evil," Undersecretary of State John Bolton said Thursday in Seoul. The administration's top arms-control negotiator said North Korea is "armed to the teeth," has a "robust" bioweapons program, is a leading exporter of missile technology to Syria, Libya, and Iran, and must cease those activities if it wants to improve ties with the US. Analysts said South Korea and Japan are worried that such rhetoric may reverse recent progress in relations with the reclusive communist state.

The US economy slowed in the second quarter, growing at a 1.1 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department reported. The gross domestic product figure was in line with analysts' expectations, but well below the 5.0 percent pace between January and March. Another economic indicator, new claims for jobless benefits, rose by 8,000 last week to 403,000, the Labor Department said. It passed the 400,000 mark for the first time since early July.

WorldCom's ex-chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, was indicted for securities fraud and other charges by a federal court in New York. Former director of accounting Buford Yates Jr. also was named in the alleged conspiracy to inflate earnings. Prosecutors indicated they were near plea deals with three other executives. WorldCom's $104 billion bankruptcy filing is the largest in US history.

Nearing the end of a month-long working vacation at his Texas ranch, Bush was to promote education reform and call for closing the achievement gap in a speech to returning students at a school in Little Rock, Ark. He also was attending fundraisers in Arkansas and at an earlier stop in Oklahoma City for Republican candidates for Senate and governor.

An America West jetliner skidded off the runway at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport after its nose gear collapsed. Five people were slightly injured as the 159 passengers and crew evacuated the Airbus 320, which flew in from Houston. Federal investigators are looking into the incident.

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