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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn and Kristen Broman-Worthington / November 20, 2002



President Bush left Washington on five-day trip to Europe, with a NATO summit in the Czech Republic as his first stop. Possible military action against Iraq and the counterterrorism war are expected to dominate the Thursday-Friday gathering. Before departing, Bush told Radio Free Europe that an anti-Iraq coalition "could be formed with NATO if they choose." The summit was called to endorse expanding the 19-member alliance to include seven former communist states in Eastern Europe. Bush also plans to visit two of those - Lithuania and Romania - as well as Russia.

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Moving toward passage of a bill to create a department of homeland security, the Senate rejected an amendment by Democrats that would have removed several Republican-backed provisions favorable to businesses. The 52-47 vote fell mainly along party lines.

More than 100 employees were detained at New York's Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in a document-fraud crackdown. The sweep occurred on the deadline for federal security screeners to take control over passenger inspections at the country's 429 commercial airports, in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "Every checkpoint at every airport is staffed by the best-trained, most consistently professional screening force in aviation history," Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said Monday. By Dec. 31, airports must be able to screen checked baggage for explosives as well.

The US trade deficit shrank 0.7 percent in September to $38.03 billion, the second-highest level on record, the Commerce Department reported. The deficit was down $254 million from the previous month's all-time high, disappointing economists who had anticipated a decline of around $1 billion.

The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court said he'll appeal a federal judge's order to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from his building's rotunda. A US district court found that the 5,300-pound granite monument comes too close to promoting religion. Roy Moore, who won national attention for his fight to display a wooden plaque of the biblical Commandments in his courtroom, had the monument installed last year.

Veteran movie and TV actor James Coburn, who died in Los Angeles Monday, had a career that spanned more than five decades. Among his best-known films were "The Magnificent Seven," "The Great Escape," and "Our Man Flint." In 1999, Coburn won his only Academy Award, for best supporting actor in "Affliction."

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