A federal magistrate in Boston ordered a suspected suicide bomber who allegedly attempted to down an American Airlines jetliner held in federal custody. The suspect, identified in court as Richard Reid, made his initial court appearance Monday morning, charged with intimidation and interfering with flight attendants. He was arrested Saturday after trying to detonate a C4-type plastic explosive hidden in his shoes on a flight from Paris to Miami. A detention hearing was set for Friday, at which prosecutors will have to show why Reid should remain in federal custody.

In related developments:

• The Federal Aviation Administration issued a directive to airlines and airport authorities requiring new specific actions to step up security. One measure: screening of shoes for explosives (above, at Boston's Logan Airport).

• Authorities in Sri Lanka denied the suspect's claim to be a national of that country, saying US and French authorities have confirmed he is not. He was travelling on a British passport.

• French police reportedly detained the man at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport last Friday because he was acting suspiciously. They are investigating how he was allowed to board a flight the following day.

The number of death sentences carried out in the US has fallen for the second year in a row - something unseen since capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976. The Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center reported a drop of 22 percent this year, with 66 people being executed. Executions fell 13 percent last year.

Hispanic community leaders in Utah were threatening a state-wide labor strike during the first two days of the Winter Olympics over the arrest of 69 Salt Lake City airport workers accused of using false papers to get jobs requiring security passes. The Hispanic Advisory Council has demanded that the workers, many of them jailed since the Dec. 11 arrests, be paid wages owed to them by 13 different employers. Most of the 69 were undocumented Latin American immigrants.

The massive around-the-clock recovery and clean-up effort at the World Trade Center in New York continued unabated, in spite of Christmas celebrations. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) said many workers volunteered, "understanding the fact that there is still a situation where time is of the essence in trying to recover as many human remains as possible." Religious services were held for the workers at the site and special holiday meals were provided.

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