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December 31, 2001
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On the Home Front
Bush Upset His Agent
Was Booted From Plane
Also: DNA Raises Number of Identified WTC Victims; WTC Attacks Makes Deadly Year for Cops, and an 'Osama Dead or Alive' Party
From Wire Reports

President Bush is upset that an Arab-American Secret Service agent was kicked off a plane; DNA helps identify World Trade Center victims, and a North Carolina hotel wants to hold an "Osama Dead or Alive" party.

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Bush Upset Agent Was Kicked Off Plane

Dec. 28 — President Bush was upset that an Arab-American Secret Service agent was kicked off a commercial airline, and he'll be "madder than heck" if it was because of the agent's ethnicity, Bush said today.

The agent, who is assigned to protect the president, was scheduled to fly on an American Airlines flight from Baltimore to Texas on Christmas Day to take up duties at the president's ranch in Crawford.

A spokesman for the airline said the agent was removed at the pilot's request because of "inconsistencies" in the paperwork he filed that is required of all federal agents flying on commercial airlines.

He said religion and ethnicity had nothing to do with the agent's removal, and apologized for any inconvenience it may have caused him.

The agent was allowed to fly on Wednesday to Texas, where the president is spending two weeks.

"I talked to the man this morning," Bush said. "I told him how proud I was that he was by my side. He's here on the ranch, and he's guarding me. And of course, I was [upset]."

A Washington-based advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, known as CAIR, says the agent believes he was denied his flight because of racial and religious profiling.

The group sent a letter to American Airlines demanding an explanation of its rules on racial discrimination and an apology.

"There's an inquiry going on as to specifically what took place," Bush said. But if he was treated that way because of his ethnicity, that's — that will make me madder than heck."

WTC Attacks Make Police Deaths Highest in 30 Years

N E W Y O R K, Dec. 28 — The fall of the World Trade Center made 2001 the deadliest year for law enforcement in almost three decades.

About 230 federal, state and local officers were killed in the line of duty this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Seventy-one of them lost their lives after terrorists rammed planes into the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and caused them to collapse.

"The incredible bravery and selfless sacrifice our officers displayed that day was no different than every other day of the year in communities across America," said Craig Floyd, chairman of the Memorial Fund.

The death toll for law enforcement officers is the highest since 1974, which was the deadliest year ever for police. About 270 police were killed in 1974.

The early 1970s saw high death rates because police departments were not yet equipped with bulletproof vests and violent crime was soaring.

The New York City Police Department bore the brunt of the casualties in 2001, losing 23 officers.

By state, New Jersey suffered the most deaths, losing 41 officers. Next came New York with 31, Texas with 20 and California with 12.

The Associated Press

DNA Raises Number of Identified WTC Victims

N E W Y O R K, Dec. 28 — The number of identified World Trade Center victims has sharply increased in the past two weeks because of the increased use of DNA tests and the finding of more intact bodies, officials said.

The city medical examiner's office identified 58 victims from Dec. 17 to Thursday. The office has been identifying as many as 14 to 16 victims daily.

"As the DNA results come back, we can expect more of this," said Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the city medical examiner's office. As of Thursday, 94 victims had been identified by matching the genetic profile of human remains with DNA samples taken from items owned or worn by victims, she said.

Before mid-December, the number of new identifications each day was generally in the single digits — sometimes only one or two.

Borakove also said 12 intact bodies had been recovered from below ground zero since Dec. 21. Authorities had speculated that bodies of those who perished in the center's underground areas, rather than in the 110-story twin towers, would be more likely to be relatively intact.

Recovery teams had begun exploring subterranean levels of the trade center for the first time in early December.

In all, 248 intact bodies have been recovered at the site, Borakove said Thursday. The medical examiner's office had 12,011 body parts on hand, each one catalogued for eventual DNA comparison.

On Thursday, the city's number of dead and missing in the Sept. 11 attack on the trade center, including those on the two hijacked jetliners, stood at 2,939.

The Associated Press

Hotel Promises 'Osama Dead or Alive' Party

H E N D E R S O N V I L L E, N.C., Dec. 28 — A North Carolina motel owner is promising an Osama "Dead or Alive Party."

Melton Harrell, owner of the Best Western Hendersonville Inn, says he'll offer the motel's 100 rooms at no charge if alleged terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is killed or captured.

He'll also offer free food, drink and entertainment for whoever shows up.

Harrell insists his "Dead or Alive Party" isn't some sort of gimmick.

"This may be the greatest cause to celebrate in my lifetime," Harrell said, "or at least in my memory, and we felt like this is the best way to share it with the most people."

The Associated Press
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