USA

CIA Director Porter Goss said that while the agency is challenged in penetrating the "sanctuary areas" where Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may be hiding, it knows "a good deal more" about them "than we're able to say publicly." In an ABC-TV interview Tuesday, Goss declined to elaborate on CIA interrogation techniques but said "What we do does not come close to torture."

In the latest sign of economic recovery from the hurricane season, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday that orders for durable goods rose 3.4 percent in October, erasing September's 2 percent decline. Orders for military aircraft and parts as well as for commercial planes contributed to the increase.

At the 10-day, 180-nation UN Climate Control Conference in Montreal, the leading American delegate said US efforts to stem climate change are "next to none in the world." Harlan Watson, senior climate negotiator for the State Department, noted that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down slightly during the Bush administration, which has spent $5 billion annually on climate-change research and technology and has vowed to cut greenhouse gases by 18 percent over the next seven years. Critics countered that the White House has dragged its feet by refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, a global treaty aimed at reducing gas emissions.

To keep terrorists off balance, the Miami police department announced Monday that it will begin a program of random, high-profile security operations. Tactics could include surrounding a bank and checking the IDs of everyone who goes in and out. While no imminent threats have been identified, Police Chief John Timoney said the city has frequently been mentioned in intelligence reports as a potential target.

Drought conditions and wind gusts hindered crews fighting grass fires that have burned more than 50,000 acres in parts of Oklahoma and Texas. The winds were part of a huge storm system that produced blizzard conditions in the central and northern Plains, where hundreds of miles of highways were closed, snow drifts reached six feet deep, and five deaths were blamed on slippery roads.

Disappointed in artistic renditions of Martin Luther King Jr., the Rocky Mount, N.C., City Council voted down plans to place a sculpted likeness of the civil rights leader in a memorial park. Money for the project will be used instead for winter heating assistance and other needs.

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