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UAE withdraws recognition of the Taliban

bin Laden
Only Saudi Arabia and Pakistan retain diplomatic ties to the Taliban.  

(CNN) -- The United Arab Emirates has cut diplomatic ties with Afghanistan, reducing support for the hard-line Taliban rulers.

This means that only two countries, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, retain diplomatic relations with the Taliban. Pakistan has since said it will not sever diplomatic relations.

The official Emirates News Agency on Saturday quoted an unidentified foreign ministry official as saying that the UAE has tried to convince the Taliban in recent days to hand over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden.

The official said that the cuts to relations would take effect immediately.

Meanwhile, Taliban forces claim to have shot down an unmanned spyplane in Northern Afghanistan, the Taliban consul-general in Peshawar, Pakistan, told CNN.

However later reports from Reuters news agency stated that the aircraft shot down was actually a helicopter belonging to the opposition Northern Alliance, which has been engaged in a long-running civil war with the Taliban.

Latest developments

• Stars of television, film and music reached out to touch the hearts of millions Friday night in an effort to help those harmed by the terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Actors, including Tom Hanks, George Clooney and Julia Roberts told stories of heroes, some of whom lost their lives helping others escape the flames and crumbling concrete. The stars also appealed for donations to help the families of the victims. (Full story)

• Trading on Wall Street on Friday ended its worst week since the Great Depression and a survey of economists found they believed the nation has been pushed into a true economic recession.

• In Washington, Congress Friday passed a measure for a $15 billion financial aid package to help the crippled airline industry and set up a government compensation fund for victims to help deter lawsuits. The House approved the measure late Friday night, 356-54, following the lead of the Senate, which passed the package earlier in the day, 96-1. The measure gives the nation's airlines $5 billion in immediate cash assistance and $10 billion in loan guarantees in an effort to keep several major carriers from collapsing.

• The FBI now believes suspected hijacker Abdul Aziz Alomari -- one of the men aboard American Airlines flight 11 that struck the north tower of the World Trade Center -- played a "key leadership role" in the attacks on the nation's symbols of wealth and power, law enforcement sources tell CNN.

• U.S. law enforcement authorities want to extradite a Yemeni man being held in Toronto, Canada. Officials say he was carrying three false Yemeni passports aboard a flight from Germany to Chicago, Illinois, that was diverted to Canada on the day of the suicide hijackings.

• FBI agents investigating connections to last week's terrorist attacks executed federal and state search warrants in northern Kentucky and detained 25 people Friday on potential immigration violations.

• The final toll from the attacks that caused the World Trade Center to collapse into a pile of rubble may not be known for some time, Mayor Rudy Giuliani told reporters Friday. An estimated 6,333 people are missing.

• The White House and Afghanistan's ruling Taliban reiterated opposing positions on Friday -- the Taliban flatly refusing the U.S. demand to turn over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. The standoff occurs against the backdrop of a U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf.

Did the president make a clear and decisive case for prolonged war against terrorism?

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The Taliban delivered their response to U.S. President Bush's demands through their Ambassador to Pakistan (September 21)

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U.S. President George W. Bush speaks to Congress and the people on the government's response to recent terrorist attacks (part 1) (September 20)

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• The Pentagon has a second deployment order in the works that will add additional support aircraft to the package of warplanes already ordered to move to forward bases in the Persian Gulf and Central Asia.

• Three men and one woman were arrested in London and the West Midlands, England, on Friday by anti-terrorist branch officers in connection with last week's attacks on the World Trade Center, the Scotland Yard said. (Full story)

• New York primary elections will be held across the state Tuesday, Gov. George Pataki told reporters Friday. Voting was halted when terrorists turned the twin towers of the World Trade Center into rubble shortly after the polls opened on September 11.

• Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiazuan to discuss ways they can work together on combating terrorism, before Tang went to the White House for a meeting with President Bush. (Full story)

• A federal judge in Detroit, Michigan, denied bond Friday for three men arrested this week in connection with the investigation into the terrorist attacks. FBI agents found material with Arabic notations about an "American base in Turkey" and an "American foreign minister" in the men's apartment. They are charged with identity fraud and misuse of visas (Full story).

• In at least five incidents this week, men of Arab descent were removed from U.S. domestic flights because members of the flight crew considered them threats to security, according to airlines, crew members or the affected passengers. (Full story)

• The U.S. government urged undocumented immigrants Friday to report any friends or family missing in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks without fear that their immigration status will be investigated. (Full story)

• Northwest Airlines said Friday it will cut 10,000 jobs and reduce scheduled service by 20 percent, becoming the latest major carrier to announce sharp cutbacks after last week's terrorist attacks. (Full story)

• Stocks closed down Friday, capping one of the worst weeks ever for Wall Street, as the Dow fell more than 136 points and the Nasdaq declined about 47 points as a patriotic rally never materialized. (Full story)

• The Taliban said Friday they want comprehensive proof and evidence that bin Laden is connected to the attacks in New York and Washington, in which more than 6,000 people are feared dead. (Full story)

• Shoring up support from fellow Western hemisphere countries, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell accepted a declaration of solidarity Friday from the 34-member Organization of American States.

• After U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller toured the destroyed World Trade Center, Ashcroft announced the Justice Department would release $10 million from a community policing fund to help New York police pay extra costs.

• The United States will soon present a "thoughtful presentation of the case so far" against bin Laden to Pakistan, a senior Western diplomat said Friday. The diplomat also said the United States is expected to soon lift some sanctions against both Pakistan and India. (Full story)

• Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, appointed by President Bush as the head of the newly created Cabinet post of the Office of Homeland Security, said he would resign his current job October 5. Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker will take over as governor of Pennsylvania in a transition Ridge predicted will be "seamless." (Profile)

• The White House and leaders of both parties in the House agreed early Friday morning on a $15 billion bailout of the airline industry that includes $5 billion in direct aid, $10 billion in loan guarantees, and much of the liability and insurance protection the industry sought. The comprehensive bill will likely reach the House floor sometime Friday and the Senate floor shortly afterward. (Full story)

• The number of missing and presumed dead at New York's World Trade Center wreckage has climbed to 6,333, said Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He said other countries had added names of their citizens who were in the complex. He warned that the number could fluctuate because both companies and families could list names. The mayor said the number of injured was now 6,291. (In-depth report)

• The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday it has started a massive relief operation to accommodate thousands of Afghans fleeing their homeland. This weekend, UNHCR begins the deployment of 25 emergency staffers to Pakistan, where they will join more than 150 of the existing staff.

• Federal authorities issued temporary restrictions Thursday that prohibit pilots from flying near professional or collegiate sporting events or any other major open-air assembly of people.

• In perhaps the most cooperative broadcasting effort ever, at least 27 television networks and dozens of radio stations will air the live special "America: A Tribute to Heroes" Friday. The show is a star-studded benefit for victims of last week's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. (Full story)

• The Pentagon's initial call-up of reservists includes 29 units from 24 states. This week's force deployment includes B-52 bombers, B-1 bombers, KC-135 refueling tankers and other support aircraft, according to Pentagon sources; (Fact sheet)

• The Pentagon announced Friday it has invoked the "Feed and Forage Act" to handle costs resulting from the attacks. The act allows the military to spend in excess of available appropriations for clothing, subsistence, fuel, quarters, transportation and medical supplies, according to a Pentagon release.

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