Security Concerns Close Airports

The Sept. 11 terror attacks had a profound impact on the United States, and the effects are still rippling across American society in large and small ways. Here is a periodic wrap-up of some of them.

Temporary Shutdowns at JFK, 2 Other Airports

L O S A N G E L E S, Nov. 1 —

The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily closed one concourse at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport because security personnel were not properly responding to screening alarms that went off during passenger screening.

It also took action at airports in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday and in Manchester, N.H., this morning for similar reasons.

The shutdown at JFK affected five American Airlines flights. The entire concourse was cleared and checked by bomb-sniffing dogs. Passengers were being rescreened and the concourse was reopened.

The closures come after Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta on Tuesday scolded the airlines for the job they are doing in screening passengers at airports, and as President Bush lobbied members of Congress to allow the federal government to take over responsibility for the screening, but contract out the work.

"An unacceptable number of deficiencies continue to occur," Mineta said. "The result is a growing lack of confidence and increasing criticism of the actions taken by the FAA."

Federal security screeners at airports have been used before, in Europe and Israel, but with limited success. Most of those countries use private security companies, under strict government oversight.


F-16s Escort Passenger Jet to Detroit

D E T R O I T, Nov. 1 — A Northwest Airlines passenger plane that took off from Washington was diverted to Detroit today under U.S. military jet escort after its pilot reported a security problem.

FBI spokesman Terry Booth said the incident was triggered by "a note threatening a bomb" that a passenger discovered in a magazine tucked into one of the Airbus A320's seats.

He would not disclose the exact contents of the note, but said police using bomb-sniffing dogs had searched the aircraft shortly after it touched down at Metro Airport at 10:16 a.m. EST. No sign of explosives were found.

Northwest spokeswoman Kathy Peach said Flight 191, with 73 passengers and five crew members, was en route from Washington's Reagan National Airport to Minneapolis when the note was found in an on-flight magazine.

The pilot told flight controllers he was diverting the flight to Detroit as a precautionary measure, Peach said.

The spokeswoman said the pilot was not aware that his call to controllers prompted the military to dispatch two F-16s to accompany the plane on its approach to Detroit.

"It's not something we requested," Peach said.

U.S. military jets have been dispatched as escorts to airliners reporting difficulties several times since the Sept. 11 hijack attacks in New York and Washington.


Sikhs Forced to Remove Turbans

Nov. 1 —

Followers of the Sikh faith say they have been unfairly singled out for elaborate security checks at airports.

And that includes sometimes being forced to remove their turbans, an integral part of their religious identity.

Some say racial profiling at airports has been part of a backlash against people of Middle Eastern appearance since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims because they also wear turbans.

The Sikh Communications Council says for Sikhs, the removal of a turban is as intrusive as a strip search.

The Federal Aviation Administration says if a handheld metal detector locates an object in religious headgear, the situation must be resolved.

An FAA spokesman says people should not be asked to remove head coverings if nothing has been detected.

—The Associated Press

Administrative Costs Eat into Afghan Child Fund

W A S H I N G T O N, Nov. 1 — A dollar donation to the $1 fund for Afghan children is really about 90 cents — after administrative costs are figured in.

Red Cross Senior Vice President Bill Blaul says the expense of processing the donations — including scanning the letters for anthrax — costs about a dime or so per dollar.

But he says that's a nominal charge because most of the donations have $5, $10 or $50.

Blaul says so far the Red Cross has raised $541 million for the victims and families of September's terrorist attacks.

He also insists that absolutely none of that money is being used to finance other Red Cross activities.

Blaul says since the attacks, the Red Cross has helped 25,000 families with various forms of cash assistance.

—The Associated Press

Feds Produce Handbook on Coping With Terrorism

W A S H I N G T O N, Nov. 1 —

The Justice Department is offering up a handbook to help Americans deal with trauma from terror attacks.

The handbook, "Coping After Terrorism," was released today by the the DOJ's Office for Victims of Crime. It was based on input from terrorism victims as well as mental health, crisis counseling, and victim assistance professionals.

"The raw emotions that victims of terrorism experience can be simply overwhelming," said the office's director, John W. Gillis.

The guide outlines different reactions victims of terrorism have, such as fear, guilt, anger, depression, loneliness, isolation and panic. For each, the handbook offers explanations of why victims might feel that way, so they can understand and cope.

It also describes common physical symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, nausea and sleeplessness.

The handbook is being sent to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Others can get the pamphlet through the Web or by calling (800) 627-6872.


Berkeley, Calif., Feels Sting of Opposing War

B E R K E L E Y, Calif., Nov. 1 —

The cost of free speech may be going up in Berkeley.

This left-leaning city with a proud history of snubbing companies with questionable political ties is now the target of a threatened boycott over its stance on the war against terrorism.

In the two weeks since the City Council passed a resolution urging the government to stop bombing Afghanistan "as soon as possible," hundreds of people have called and sent e-mail vowing to boycott stores and restaurants.

"It feels awful," said Mayor Shirley Dean, who was among the four council members who did not vote for the resolution.

Dean points to the nearly 900 e-mails and letters forwarded to the council this week, the overwhelming majority of which are negative. One writer vowed to "never, I repeat never, buy so much as a bottle of water from your city again."

Brij Misra, general manager of the Radisson Hotel Berkeley Marina, said he lost a banquet because organizers were angry about the vote.

"We need to think locally before we act globally," Misra said.

The vote in question came Oct. 16 when five of the more liberal council members urged the government to "break the cycle of violence" and end the roots of oppression that "tend to drive some people to acts of terrorism."

The four other members abstained. The council also condemned the Sept. 11 attacks, grieved the mass murder of thousands of people that day and acknowledged the heroic response.

Council members who voted for the resolution have accused Dean and business leaders of inadvertently stoking talk of a boycott.

"The largest publicity about a boycott has come from the mayor appearing on national television and talking about it," said Councilman Kriss Worthington.

Business owners already feeling the sting of the dot-com downturn say the timing couldn't be worse.

Lee Jester, owner of the furniture store, The Craftsman Home, said, "I wish the City Council would just concern itself on city matters."

—The Associated Press