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The world at war
By Aaron Wherry
Terror alerts and anthrax anxiety continue to dominate North America's "new normalcy," while United States authorities spent much of Tuesday attempting to calm a shaken national psyche.
"America has to continue to be America," said U.S. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge Tuesday after announcing the FBI's latest national terrorist alert was based on "the convergence of information from credible sources."
Ridge asked all Americans to be on alert, but to continue going about their daily lives.
Meanwhile, officials indicated Vice-President Dick Cheney had been taken to an undisclosed and secure location to ensure the continuity of government in the event of an attack on President George W. Bush.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said Monday that the warning was issued after it was learned Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network could be plotting attacks against American interests in retaliation for U.S-led attacks in Afghanistan.
This is the second such warning issued by the U.S. government since the events of Sept. 11. The first, on Oct. 11, may have helped avert an attack, said FBI Director Robert Mueller.
"This is what has been called the 'new normalcy,'" said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "It's fair to say that, until the war on terrorism is brought to a successful conclusion, this is going to be the case in our country."
In New York, a 61-year-old woman was fighting for her life Tuesday, with the latest confirmed case of inhalation anthrax.
New York Health Commissioner Neal Cohen said the hospital worker was "struggling for her survival" and alerted other hospitals to "take precautions and share their findings with us."
No direct links with any known anthrax-tainted letters were found.
In Washington, D.C., anthrax-positive tests came back for several new buildings and facilities, resulting in a number of closures and quarantines.
To date, 16 cases of anthrax infection have been confirmed, including nine cases of inhalation anthrax resulting in three deaths and seven cases of skin anthrax.
Investigators suspect a single person, perhaps a deranged U.S. resident with a biochemistry background, may be behind the attacks.
In Afghanistan, U.S. warplanes mounted a large offensive on Taliban forces. American troops are also now operating on the ground in Northern Afghanistan, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld confirmed.
Closer to home, the Ontario government announced $9.5 million worth of new anti-terrorism measures including initiatives designed to help law enforcement agencies better investigate and handle possible chemical, biological or nuclear attacks.
with files from Associated Press and Canadian Press