USA

"We'll reveal the truth" about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, President Bush vowed on a visit to Qatar, defending the war amid mounting questions over the accuracy of US intelligence assessments. Regardless of whether weapons are found, "because of you, a great evil has been ended," Bush told troops at Camp As Sayliyah in the Persian Gulf state before heading back to the US - on a flight that took him over the Iraqi capital. Wrapping up his week-long foreign trip, Bush also met with Gen. Tommy Franks, the US commander, and civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer as well as with the emir of Qatar. (Related stories, pages 1, 8.)

Arguing that the Patriot Act has "weaknesses which terrorists could exploit," Attorney General Ashcroft sought expanded powers to hold suspects indefinitely before trial and to bring charges against their alleged supporters, in an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. It wasn't clear if Congress will agree. Critics of the 2001 counterterrorism law say it violates civil liberties, and a recent internal Justice Department review found "significant problems" in its treatment of foreigners detained on immigration violations.

Two top editors at The New York Times resigned, in a sign of continued upheaval following the Jayson Blair plagiarism and fraudulent reporting scandal. Saying, "This is a day that breaks my heart," publisher Arthur Sulzberger told the newsroom staff that executive editor Howell Raines and managing editor Gerald Boyd are stepping down. Both had been criticized heavily for their response to the scandal and for failing to take note of earlier concerns about Blair's writing.

Suspecting a radical environmental group's involvement, the FBI and state officials in Michigan were investigating fires that destroyed two luxury homes being built north of Detroit. Graffiti reading "Elf" and "stop sprawl" were found on equipment after the Wednesday blazes. The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) has claimed responsibility for two previous fires that gutted homes in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Authorities in Los Angeles seized pipe bombs, barrels of jet fuel, and semi-automatic weapons in a raid described as averting a "significant" attack. The arsenal and a note outlining plans to destroy an unspecified building were found in storage units rented by John Noster (above), currently in jail for vehicle theft. Noster "was definitely planning on targeting a structure," said Sgt. John Demooy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

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