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Washington in brief

Do-not-call list's next phase starts today

By Wire services
Published October 9, 2003

WASHINGTON - The national do-not-call list will resume accepting phone numbers Thursday from people who do not want to be bothered by telemarketers.

The Federal Trade Commission shut down new registration last week after a federal court ordered the agency to stop operating the list of more than 52-million phone numbers. But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver temporarily blocked the lower court's decision Tuesday, allowing the registry to restart.

The FTC said Wednesday that consumers can register home or cell phone numbers with the free government service by visiting the Web site or calling 1-888-382-1222, beginning today at 8 a.m.

Consumers who registered before Aug. 31 can file complaints about telemarketers at the same Internet site and toll-free number, starting Saturday at 6 p.m.

People who add new numbers have to wait three months before filing a complaint. Telemarketers calling listed numbers could face thousands of dollars in fines.

White House lawyers screen leak documents

WASHINGTON - The White House began shipping documents Wednesday to the FBI for its CIA leak investigation after screening the material, a concern for some constitutional experts who say that gives the Bush administration room to withhold information.

Some 2,000 White House employees were asked to turn over telephone records, notes, correspondence, diary entries and other information that might help the FBI learn who leaked the identity of undercover CIA operations officer Valerie Plame.

Investigators already have interviewed Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who publicly questioned Bush's claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.

"We are moving as quickly as we can to get the information to the Justice Department," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

DIPLOMAT WORKING ON BOOK: Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson is writing a memoir about his diplomatic career and the leak that exposed his wife as a CIA agent and led to a major investigation. Carroll & Graf Publishers would not say what Wilson would be paid for The Politics of Truth, due on bookshelves next spring.

Screening recommended for biological experiments

WASHINGTON - The National Institutes of Health should be given greater authority to review proposed research that could potentially be used to create biological weapons, the National Research Council says.

Currently, research supported by federal funds comes before NIH committees to determine whether it should proceed.

Under a new proposal, that authority would be expanded to cover certain types of research at all U.S. institutions, regardless of their source of funding.

The goal is to minimize the potential for terrorists or hostile nations to misuse the research, said the council.

Also . . .

HOSPITAL FOOD: Military troops hospitalized as a result of combat-related injuries would no longer be charged $8.10 a day for food under a bill that passed the House unanimously. "The troops are insulted by it," said Rep. Bill Young, R-Largo. Young inserted language into the 2004 defense spending bill that eliminated the charge for one year but said he wanted to permanently end the practice. "The food isn't that good anyway," he said.

GOP RAISES $14-MILLION: The Republican National Committee raised at least $14-million Wednesday at a gala featuring President Bush, expanding its fundraising advantage over its Democratic rival. The RNC took in a record of more than $30-million at the event last year, before a ban on corporate, union and unlimited contributions took effect.

TERROR OFFICIAL RETIRES: The FBI's top counterterrorism official, Larry Mefford, is retiring after only three months on the job.

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