President Bush said the United States government was doing everything it could to make sure that it's safe to fly -- even as the Department of Transportation announced that it would not be able to meet the January deadline to screen all checked baggage.
"We're doing everything we can to meet the deadline. And we're doing everything we can to make sure that the American people feel safe," Bush said during a Rose Garden event with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said the lack of adequate bomb detection equipment and dogs, and a shortage of workers are obstacles to meeting the three-month deadline.
"The question about bomb detection equipment is probably the most vexing and serious one we're facing. The law says that we have to start screening baggage in 60 days. There aren't enough people," Mineta told an aviation conference on Tuesday.
Mineta's comments came as the president urged the American public to resume its normal activities -- such as flying on commercial passenger jets -- particularly during the usually high-travel holiday season. The president and his wife, first lady Laura Bush, have even taped tourism ads to nudge travelers back to flights.
Last week, Bush signed into law sweeping aviation legislation that placed the security of the nation's airports under government control. The new law requires that within 60 days everything placed on board a passenger aircraft must be screened for explosives.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing several Kentucky counties to force them to take down displays of the Ten Commandments.
The ACLU filed four such lawsuits on Tuesday and said more suits could be expected in the next few months. More than two dozen Kentucky counties reportedly have the Old Testament rules posted.
The lawsuits were against Garrard, Mercer, Rowan and Grayson counties for Ten Commandments displays at the county courthouses. Also cited was a display at the public hospital in Garrard County.
"It's not a small measure of irony that these four governments, among others, are seeking to impose their religious views on the nation at the same time the nation is fighting those overseas who would impose their religious views on others," said David Friedman, ACLU general counsel.
The Florida religious group Liberty Counsel has offered to represent the counties against the suits.
This is the second time in three years the ACLU has gone after displays of the commandments in public buildings in Kentucky. The earlier suits against displays in Harlan County schools and the courthouses in Pulaski and McCreary counties resulted in federal court decisions ordering the displays removed
A federal judge also ruled plans to erect a Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds unconstitutional. The cases are on appeal.
The U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from establishing a religion, and the ACLU contends posting the commandments in public buildings violates that prohibition.
MECHANICAL HEART SETBACK
Doctors in Houston say the sixth recipient of the AbioCor artificial heart device died of uncontrolled bleeding during implant surgery Tuesday.
Although the mechanical heart worked well during the operation, the male patient died during surgery when his blood failed to clot, according to Dr. O.H. Frazier, who led the implant team from the Texas Heart Institute and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital. They said the condition was "related to the patient's previous cardiac surgery and longstanding heart failure which required blood thinning treatment in addition to the usual heart failure medications."
Frazier said the surgical team spent 20 hours in the operating room attempting to control the severe bleeding.
"This patient knew he had no other hope than this clinical trial. He was suffering from chronic heart failure and was not a candidate for a heart transplant," the surgeon said. "He was a man of courage, well liked and committed to participating in the clinical trial. Those of us who have come to know this person are truly saddened by this loss."
The patient was not identified to protect the family's privacy.
The five other patients who have received the AbioCor device have survived. Robert Tools, who received the first device July 2, suffered a stroke Nov. 11, which left him paralyzed on his right side. He has been treated recently for some bleeding in the brain.
Researchers say a large group of Peruvian mummies -- entombed as long as 1,000 years ago in sheer cliff caves -- shows signs of having suffered from tuberculosis and arthritis.
The mummies come from an ancient Peruvian warrior culture called the Chachapoyans. They left no written records, so most of what is known about them comes through Incan writings, where the Chachapoyans were called "cloud warriors." It is thought that the Incans eventually assimilated the Chachapoyans.
The mummies were removed from their mountain-side dwellings in 1996 by mule train to avert damage from looters who initially discovered the bodies.
Scientists hauled a 100-pound portable X-ray machine up to the 10,000-foot-high village of Leymebamba, Peru -- where the mummies are now housed -- and X-rayed the bodies.
"The X-rays provide us with a window into the past," said Gerald J. Conlogue, co-director of the Bioanthropology Research Institute of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.
For example, arthritis was common in relatively young men and women, suggesting that both sexes performed heavy manual labor, he said.
Out of 188 complete mummies, 22, or 12 percent, showed traces of arthritis in their spines, he told UPI. The same number had bone fractures caused by chronic infection with the bacteria that causes tuberculosis or bone lesions resembling those made by tuberculosis. Another 9, or 5 percent, had softer-than-normal bones in the spine, suggesting malnutrition.