Nation in Brief

Officials restrict trucks near Capitol

Federal officials last week ordered a ban on commercial truck traffic on key streets around the Capitol and its office buildings after warnings that another terrorist attack could come.

The move came Oct. 10 as the FBI issued new information that an attack of terrorism on the United States could occur within several days.

District law enforcement personnel spent much of last week learning how to inspect trucks and other vehicles for bombs or possible biological weapons.

Police said they are on high alert for terrorists posing as truck drivers. In the last week and a half, Metropolitan Police stopped 700 trucks to check driver’s licenses and cargo manifests.

Cheney remains in secure location

Vice President Dick Cheney last weekend remained in a secure location where he has spent much of his time since the United States began air strikes on Afghanistan Oct. 7.

The White House said Cheney is away from the president for security reasons and as a precautionary measure in the event of another terrorist attack.

“It’s a reflection of the times that we’re living in,” White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters. “It’s also a reflection of the importance of making certain that all security arrangements are considered.”

Fleischer said Cheney is in close contact with the president and given repeated updates on the U.S. retaliation in Afghanistan.

House names first female whip

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took the highest post ever held by a woman in Congress last week when House Democrats named her Minority Whip.

The San Francisco lawmaker defeated Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in the 118-95 vote.

Pelosi will replace Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.), who will give up his Whip post Jan. 15 to run for governor.

The new Whip said she did not run on the basis of her gender, yet acknowledged it may have been a factor in the race. If the 61-year-old proceeds as expected, she could become the next Speaker of the House if Democrats win a majority in the next congressional election.

She is well known for her support of AIDS-related causes and defense of abortion rights.

Washington area offers discounts, free Metro

Businesses offered discounts and Metro riders boarded for free last weekend, as the city launched an aggressive campaign to regain visitors and money.

Residents and visitors were invited to join in the “Be Inspired” weekend, sponsored by dozens of local organizations and businesses. Metrorail offered free rides all weekend on its busses and trains while museums, restaurants and music venues offered promotions to attract visitors.

In Maryland, officials declared Oct. 13-14 “Family Fun Weekend” and offered discounted admission at theme parks and hot-air balloon rides in Baltimore.

The city saw a sharp decline in tourism after the Sept. 11 attacks, adding to an already weak economy.

-Zeb Eckert

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