Assets of Liberia's Ex-Leader Frozen
President Bush yesterday froze the assets of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, his family and top aides, accusing them of undermining the country's transition to democracy.
The sanctions target the property of 28 people close to Taylor, including his wife, ex-wives and children. Washington accused Taylor and his associates of unlawfully depleting Liberia's resources and removing funds and property from the country.
In an executive order, Bush said these actions have "undermined Liberia's transition to democracy and the orderly development of its political, administrative, and economic institutions."
Bush's executive order also prohibits the direct or indirect importation into the United States of any "round log or timber product" from Liberia. Bush said that "the illicit trade in round logs and timber products is linked to the proliferation of and trafficking in illegal arms, which perpetuate the Liberian conflict and fuel and exacerbate other conflicts throughout West Africa."
Needs of Disabled in Disasters Cited
President Bush has signed an executive order directing federal agencies to address the safety and security needs of people with disabilities in national emergency preparedness efforts.
Bush called on federal agencies to consider "the unique needs" of employees and clients with disabilities in their planning for such emergencies as acts of terrorism, earthquakes and hurricanes.
The executive order, signed on Thursday, establishes an interagency coordinating council to oversee the implementation of the policy. The council will be chaired by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
Congress Cites Genocide in Sudan
Congress has passed a resolution declaring that genocide is occurring in Sudan. Backers hope the measure will pressure the international community to protect Africans in the Darfur region from marauding Arab militias.
In a rare show of bipartisan agreement, the House on Thursday passed the measure in a unanimous vote, and the Senate then approved it by a voice vote. Both votes were the chambers' last acts before Congress adjourned for a six-week summer recess.
The United Nations has not called the Darfur situation genocide, a declaration that would force it to take action.
Ethics Panel Extends Probe of DeLay
The House ethics committee will spend 45 more days reviewing the allegations against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose fundraising activities and use of federal resources have been questioned, the panel announced yesterday.
The extension could push a decision on whether to investigate the charges filed by Rep. Chris Bell (D-Tex.) to around Labor Day, when the fall election campaigns shift into high gear. DeLay has dismissed the complaint as frivolous.
-- From News Services and Staff Reports