Saying "a threat to all must be answered by all," President Bush criticized opponents of a new UN resolution on Iraq in a speech Wednesday night to the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think-tank. Removing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would "deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron" and improve prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Bush said. The office of Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, said Bush had agreed during a phone consultation with him to step up efforts at the UN Security Council to work out an Iraq plan that takes into account "the interests of the world community." Putin has spoken out against military action.

The nation's terror-alert status is being lowered to yellow, the third-highest rating, Attorney General Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretary Ridge announced jointly, noting that the threat of new attacks had eased with the end of the Muslim hajj holiday period. The alert level was raised to orange Feb. 7.

Three men of Arab descent were arrested and a fourth was indicted for allegedly using Help the Needy, a charity based in Syracuse, N.Y, to send $4 million to Iraq. Officials said it was impossible to determine how the money was used and the men did not face terrorism charges.

A "virtual march" on Washington clogged phone lines, faxes, and e-mails in Senate offices and the White House with antiwar messages Wednesday. The protest was organized by the Win Without War Coalition, which claimed more than 400,000 people registered for the campaign on its website.

In contrasting data that highlight the US's uneven economic recovery, new-home sales fell 15.1 percent in January - the worst performance in nine years - while factory orders for expensive durable goods rose 3.3 percent for the best showing since July. The data were released in separate reports by the Commerce Department.

Ending a contentious selection process for a rebuilt World Trade Center site, city and state officials in New York chose a design by Studio Daniel Libeskind of Berlin. It envisions a circle of glass towers, one with a 1,776-foot spire, around an open central area in memorial to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Fred Rogers, who died Thursday in Pittsburgh, was the host of public television's "Mister Rogers Neighborhood" from 1968 until 2000. Many stations still air repeats. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Rogers used a gentle, simple persona to teach basic social skills to preschoolers.

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