The Home Front: Latest Developments
• During a rally at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, President Bush called on U.S. governors to mobilize the National Guard to help boost security at the nation’s airports until tighter measures can be secured. “One of the government’s goals is to restore confidence in the airline industry,” Bush said. “We must address the issue of airline safety in a smart and constructive way.”
• The president has proposed a $500 million fund to protect cockpits, asking airlines to fortify cockpit doors, restrict their being opened during flights and keeping the cockpit crew aware of activity in the cabin.
• The members of the Armed Forces who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will receive the Purple Heart military decoration, announced Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday. Additionally, civilian employees of the Department of Defense who were killed or wounded in the attacks will receive a new honor, the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.
• The government has said that new jobless claims have risen to their highest levels since 1992, reflecting the ravaging economic aftermath the country has been faced with since the Sept. 11 attacks.
• Amid widespread fear that terrorists could wage a bio-terrorist attack against the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga., has put its network of public health officials on heightened alert. Some of the preventive methods they’ve put into place are calling for 40 million more doses of the smallpox vaccine. But, the government has assured that these are preventive measures, not an imminent threat.
• Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said on Wednesday that he’s exploring the possibility of getting the three mayoral candidates to agree to an extension of his term for two or three months. He said that it would be be an effort to “maintain the unity that exists in the city,” adding, “it’s my obligation to try to maintain it.”
• 10 people who were seeking to fraudulently obtain commercial trucking licenses allowing the transport of hazardous materials have been arrested in the Seattle, Detroit and Kansas City areas. Whether there’s any link to a terrorist plot, said Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden, “It’s too early to tell if there’s any connection.”
• Testifying before Congress on Wednesday, insurers assured that they will be able to pay claims (numbered in the billions) stemming from the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, but warned that if more terrorist attacks occur, the government would have to intervene financially. The Chubb Corp. Chairman and CEO, Dean O’Hare, called on Congress to form an insurance pool specific to terrorism, like the one formed in the United Kingdom after attacks there due to confict with Northern Ireland.
• The death toll from the World Trade Center attack rose by 13 people on Wednesday, to 300 confirmed dead, 232 of them positively identified. The number of people missing remained at 6,347.