Nation in Brief

Bush decries Israeli bombings

President George W. Bush expressed outrage at the weekend’s deadly suicide bombings in Israel, the latest in a bloody struggle between Israel and the Palestinians.

Bush said the suicide bombing attacks that left 25 dead and 200 wounded were “horrific acts of murder.”

The president flew back early from Camp David to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who he was supposed to join on Monday for meetings at the White House.

Secretary of State Colin Powell called Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat Sunday and asked him to stop such attacks before they start.

Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Powell said Arafat “can’t control every single Palestinian zealot or somebody who wishes to commit suicide, but he has to exercise more of the control that we believe he has.”

The Associated Press reported Sunday afternoon that Arafat ordered the arrest and harsh punishment of dozens of Islamic militants believed to have connections to the bombings.

Final anthrax cleanup begins

Government technicians spent the weekend fumigating the offices of Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), the first government official to receive an anthrax-laden letter.

Workers pumped poisonous chlorine dioxide gas into the building to kill the anthrax, following up with a gas to counter the chlorine dioxide.

The building will not reopen Monday because other Senate offices need to be cleaned as well, the government said. Officials said the gassing process is not likely to be used in offices other than Daschle’s.

Daschle was the first member of Congress to receive an anthrax-tainted letter. An aide opened the letter on Oct. 15.

HIV testing rate remains low

Half of all people at the highest risk for HIV infection have not been tested for the virus, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released Friday.

The CDC said 54 percent of individuals at medium to high risk have not been tested and 25 percent of those who were tested were not tested the year before.

The CDC said it is imperative for people to be tested, if they believe they are at a significant risk.

The results came a day before the observance of World AIDS Day on Saturday.

Tax break ends

D.C. residents and visitors enjoying an almost two-week break on the city’s 5.75 percent sales tax will have to pay up beginning this week.

The moratorium dubbed “Tax Free DC” exempted buyers of clothes, shoes and accessories under $100 from paying the tax.

District Council member Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) sponsored the legislation.

-Zeb Eckert

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