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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Bush signs air safety bill

The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, passed last week by Congress, got President Bush's signature in a Monday morning speech at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. 




Under the act, 28,000 federal employees will be hired to screen passengers and baggage in airports across the nation, while a new undersecretary of transportation for position of security will be created. 




The bill will also require that airlines reinforce cockpit doors to prevent entries by intruders and add federal marshals to more flights nationally. In addition, the bill dictates that all airports must have electronic screening equipment to inspect all baggage by the end of 2002. 




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Federal officials estimate the cost of the new security provisions will be $2.5 billion. 




House Republicans, who initially advocated giving the government the option to retain some private security screeners, compromised with Senate Democrats on the bill last week. 




\The broad support for this bill shows that our country is united in this crisis,"" Bush said in a White House statement. ""We have our political differences, but we're united to defend our country, and we're united to protect our people."" 




Rod McLean, deputy director of Dane County Regional Airport, said he believes the bill will be beneficial in standardizing the level of security at airports throughout the country. 




""We at the airport are very supportive of [the bill],"" he said. ""Overall, it has a lot of merit."" 




For now, McLean said he is uncertain of how the new legislation will affect operations at the county's airport, although he said the changes should not affect the airport's budget. 








In Afghanistan, four foreign journalists and an Afghan guide were missing and feared dead Monday following an ambush by Kalashnikov-wielding gunmen who reportedly shot them when they refused the attackers' order to march into the hills from a deserted stretch of highway about 10 miles from Puli-Estikham.  




Harry Burton, an Australian reporter for Reuters; Aziz Haidari, an Afghan-born photographer for Reuters; Julio Fuentes, a journalist from El Mundo in Madrid, and Maria Grazia Cutulli, a reporter for Corriere della Sera in Milan, Italy, apparently died in the noon incident, according to accounts from the site. The Afghan guide was not identified.  




Also in Afghanistan Monday, U.S. warplanes and Northern Alliance ground forces combined to attack Taliban positions around Kunduz, the last Taliban-held city in the north. After several days of calm, during which the alliance attempted to secure the Taliban's surrender, opposition fighters used tanks, artillery and a multiple rocket launcher to hammer the Taliban in the hills around the city. U.S. jets supported the attacks, dropping bombs on Taliban targets. But the Taliban force there still had not surrendered after being surrounded for a week.  




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