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U.S.

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Associated Press
Twisted steel beams from the devastated World Trade Center site in New York are displayed in the museum area at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.
briefs

Policy allowing knives on planes delayed

– Federal officials say they’re delaying a policy that would allow passengers to carry small knives, bats and other sports equipment onto airliners.

The Transportation Security Administration said Monday that the policy change has been delayed to accommodate feedback from an advisory committee made up of aviation industry, consumer and law enforcement officials.

TSA screeners confiscate about 2,000 small folding knives from passengers every day.

The policy was to go into effect Thursday. The TSA’s statement said the delay was temporary, but no new date for implementation was provided.

Bush Library features relic from 9/11 attacks

A tour of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum begins in a bright area representing his early domestic agenda, but with one turn, visitors find themselves in a darkened room surrounded by chilling reminders of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

This contrast, symbolizing Bush’s abrupt shift in priorities less than eight months into his first term, is among the most poignant exhibits at a museum being dedicated this week that also chronicles the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the Florida recount and various other historical events.

Bush told The AP last week that he wanted to make sure the part of the museum devoted to 9/11 was powerful enough to remind visitors of how much the world changed that day.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which includes the library and museum along with Bush’s policy institute, will be dedicated Thursday on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. It will open to the public on May 1.

No ricin found in home of poisoned-letter suspect

Defense lawyers for a man accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge say investigators’ failure to find any ricin means the government should release their client.

That lack of physical evidence could loom large as a detention and preliminary hearing continues Tuesday morning.

FBI agent Brandon Grant told the court Tuesday that searches of Paul Kevin Curtis’ vehicle and house in Corinth, Miss., have found no ricin. A search of Curtis’ computers has found no evidence he researched making the poison.

NYC pushes raising age to buy cigarettes to 21

No one under 21 would be able to buy cigarettes in New York City under a proposal unveiled Monday to make the city the most populous place in America to set the minimum age that high.

Extending a decade of moves to crack down on smoking in the nation’s largest city, the measure aims to stop young people from developing a habit that remains the leading preventable cause of death, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said as she announced the plan. Eighty percent of the city’s smokers started lighting up before they were 21, officials say.

But it may face questions about its effectiveness and fairness. A retailers’ representative suggested the measure would simply drive younger smokers to neighboring communities or corner-store cigarette sellers instead of city stores, while a smokers’ rights advocate called it “government paternalism at its worst.”

World

More than 100 killed in rash of fighting in Syria

Six days of fighting in a Damascus suburb has killed more than a hundred people and possibly many more, activists said Monday, in what the government also acknowledged may be a dramatic spike in the rising death toll in Syria.

The reports came as President Bashar Assad’s forces pressed on with a major offensive against rebels closing in on parts of the Syrian capital, and while government troops moved to encircle the contested town of Qusair near the Lebanese border.

EU drops sanctions against Myanmar

The European Union on Monday dropped its political and economic sanctions against Myanmar to support the country’s “remarkable process” of democratic reforms, while warning that the southeast Asian nation must curb recent outbursts of ethnic violence.

The widely expected EU decision lifts all sanctions except for the sale of arms and equipment that can be used for internal repression.

The economic sanctions were suspended last April for one year after the country’s military rulers handed over power to a civilian government that launched democratic reforms.

11 civilians taken captive by Taliban in Afghanistan

The Taliban took 11 civilians prisoner, including eight Turks and a Russian, after their cargo helicopter made an emergency landing in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Monday, in the first large scale capture of foreigners there in nearly six years.

The crisis began Sunday when the civilian transport aircraft was forced down in strong winds and heavy rain in the village of Dahra Mangal in the Azra district of Logar province, southeast of Kabul, District Governor Hamidullah Hamid told The AP.

Taliban fighters then captured everyone aboard the helicopter and took them away, Hamid said.

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