September 28, 2001 05:43 PM

• New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said on Friday that it could take “anywhere from nine months to one year” to clean up the wreckage around the World Trade Center, citing the complexity in removing structures “that have been driven into the ground” once surface debris is carted away.

• The official number of people missing in the still-smoldering rubble has dropped to 5,960 from nearly 6,400. Giuliani said the number was lowered after a review of victim lists compiled primarily from missing person’s reports and information from foreign consulates following the Sept. 11 attack.

• A seasoned New York author and fireman will write the first book-length account of the wreckage and rescue at the World Trade Center. Dennis Smith, 61, who wrote the best-selling 1972 diary of life in a South Bronx firehouse, “Report From Engine Co. 82,” will now pen “Report From Ground Zero,” which Viking will publish next March. Smith has been working alongside colleagues at the WTC site since the attacks.

• Taking no chances, two F-16 fighters scrambled on Thursday to escort an Air Canada jetliner back to Los Angeles after a disturbance erupted on board — over a passenger smoking in a toilet.

• With the U.S. aviation industry plunged into chaos following the hijack strikes, President Bush went to Chicago on Thursday to urge travelers to “get on the airplanes, get on about the business of America.”

• But even as the president announced the deployment of National Guard troops at U.S. airports, more armed “air marshals” in the skies and better security for airline cockpits, U.S. officials said a new directive authorized the military to shoot down any commercial airliner deemed a threat to a population center.

• The United States has activated more than 16,300 part-time military personnel in what has become its biggest mobilization since the 1991 Gulf War.

• At the United Nations, Security Council members raced to meet a self-imposed Monday deadline to adopt an U.S.-initiated resolution that would freeze the financial assets of terrorism suspects and take other measures to expand the U.N. role in fighting clandestine networks.

• A new Defense of Freedom Medal will go to civilian Pentagon workers injured or killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, and U.S. military personnel will be awarded Purple Hearts, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday.

• Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday that the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who claims he was invited by the Taliban to visit Afghanistan and help negotiate peace, would probably solve nothing by making such a visit, because the U.S. had nothing to negotiate. The administration on Thursday stressed it would not negotiate with the Taliban about the release of bin Laden and said that the Taliban’s invitation to Jackson could be a delaying tactic.

• Canadian policeman Jamie Symington, 35, of Halifax, took his own tracking dog to the wreckage of the World Trade Center shortly after the attack and reportedly found a survivor. Yet he has been suspended for going to the site without the knowledge of his superiors, who learned of his deed by watching TV, Reuters reported on Wednesday. In reaction to the public outcry over the suspension, a rep for the department said, “It is not as simple as it may seem. We have very good reasons, and the situation is complex in its nature.”

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