Bush Aims to Reposition
Troops in Europe, Asia
President Bush announced plans to recall as many as 70,000 troops from Cold War-era bases in Europe and Asia, as part of a global rearrangement of forces aimed at making the military more agile in an age of unpredictable enemies.
The plan could significantly change the face of the U.S. military at home and abroad. The typical three-year tours overseas would be sharply curtailed. Administration officials hope to ease the pressures placed on military families by the need for frequent moves.
The repositioning is to unfold gradually, over seven to 10 years, and cut by one-third the 230,000 U.S. service members now stationed overseas. The largest reductions would occur in Germany, which would lose two Army divisions, and South Korea.
Bush's announcement of the plan drew mixed assessments from military analysts. It gave him a chance to talk about bringing troops home at a time when his opponent, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), has pledged to substantially reduce U.S. troop levels in Iraq. The administration plan, which will not affect the number of troops in Iraq, has been under development for many months.
Kerry did not immediately respond to Bush, but several of his allies attacked the plan vigorously.
-- Mike Allen and Josh White
Britain Charges 8 in Purported Plot to Attack IMF Building
British authorities charged eight alleged al Qaeda operatives with conspiracy to commit murder and other counts in connection with a reported plot to attack the International Monetary Fund building in Washington and other sites in New York and Newark.
One of those charged was Dhiren Barot, also known as Eisa Hindi, who is suspected of conducting surveillance of U.S. financial buildings that was detailed in computer files seized recently in Pakistan. The discovery of the computer documents led the U.S. government on Aug. 1 to raise the terrorism alert to orange, or "high risk," for the financial sectors in Washington, New York and Newark.
Barot, 32, who was reared in a Hindu home and who converted to Islam, has used other aliases, including Issa al Britani. The commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks referred to him by that name in its final report, released last month.
The eight men charged Tuesday -- all of them British citizens, according to police in London -- were among 13 detained on suspicion of terrorist activity by British authorities in raids on Aug. 3.
-- John Mintz and Kamran Khan
Rumsfeld Warns Against
Centralizing U.S. Intelligence
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned senators that moving hastily to centralize all U.S. intelligence gathering efforts under a new national director could spawn confusion while the country is at war and prevent vital information from getting to those on the battlefield.
Pledging to work with Congress to "strengthen our ability to live in this new and dangerous world," Rumsfeld said that he believes the Pentagon and the CIA have created a strong, interlocking relationship to close gaps revealed by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Adding another layer of bureaucracy, he said, could place "new barriers and filters" between the Defense Department's intelligence offices and the field commanders who rely on their information data. He added in testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee that he prefers having separate agencies that can focus on their specialties rather than a "single and preeminent national intelligence organization."
The Sept. 11 commission proposed establishing a national intelligence director to oversee the CIA as well as the intelligence offices at the Pentagon and other government agencies.
While Rumsfeld voiced general support for a national intelligence director, he did not stake out a position on what has become a central question in Washington: whether to give such a new chief authority over the budgets and personnel of the 15 intelligence agencies.
-- Josh White and Mike Allen
Key Reports Appear to Indicate
Rebounding U.S. Economy
The nation's factories cranked out more products, miners dug more minerals and builders broke ground on more homes in July, the government said in two reports that showed some rebound in economic activity last month.
Meanwhile, falling prices for apparel, toys, gasoline and other items pulled down the Labor Department's consumer price index a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in July, confirming that inflation had retreated since spurting in the spring.
Together, the figures heartened those analysts who expect the economy to gain steam in the coming months after its recent slowdown.
The economic figures did not change analysts' widespread expectation that the Federal Reserve will probably raise its benchmark short-term rate at least two more times before the end of the year, to 2 percent from its current 1.5 percent. Fed policymakers expect the economy to keep gaining strength in the coming months and believe they must raise the benchmark rate to avoid fueling inflation.
The nation's industrial production -- the output of its factories, mines and utilities -- rose 0.4 percent in July after dropping 0.5 percent in June, the Federal Reserve reported. Home builders broke ground on 8.3 percent more homes in July than in the previous month, driving housing starts to a 1.98 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual pace, up from 1.83 million in June, the Commerce Department said. The number of building permits, a sign of future construction, also jumped.
-- Nell Henderson
Google Scales Back IPO
To Meet Lower Demand
Google Inc. closed the unusual auction for its shares, after weaker-than-expected demand from investors forced it to drastically slash the price and size of its initial public offering.
While Google's $1.7 billion IPO will still rank among the biggest technology offerings ever, the difficulty the online giant experienced is a sign of the troubled times for technology companies that want to go public and attract capital.
Google's travails are going to make it even harder now for Silicon Valley firms to tap into the stock market.
Google's online search service is favored by millions of computer users around the world, who turn to it to comb through the Internet. The company profits from the ads it displays alongside its search results. Every time a computer user clicks on one of those ads, Google receives a fee.
Google reduced both the price and size of its offering by about 25 percent. The IPO price plunged from an estimated $121.50 to $85 per share, while the number of shares dropped from about 25.7 million to 19.6 million shares.
Investor enthusiasm on Thursday, the first of trading of the new stock, drove the price to $100 a share.
-- David Vise
Study Notes Statins' Benefits
For Those With Type 2 Diabetes
People suffering from the most common form of diabetes could sharply cut their risk of heart attacks and strokes by taking a cholesterol-lowering drug even if they have normal cholesterol levels, according to a major new study.
The study of more than 2,800 patients with Type 2, or adult, diabetes found that those who took the cholesterol drug Lipitor were more than a third less likely to have a heart attack, nearly half as likely to have a stroke and about a third less likely to die from any form of cardiovascular disease.
The study was ended two years early because the results were so striking.
Experts said the findings provide the most convincing evidence yet that most diabetics should consider taking the medication regardless of their cholesterol levels.
About 17 million Americans suffer from Type 2 diabetes, which has been increasing rapidly because of the rising number of people who are overweight.
-- Rob Stein