KABUL, Afghanistan -- A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, adding to the toll in what has already been the conflict's deadliest month for Western forces. The latest deaths push the number of coalition troops killed in July to at least 55 -- 30 of them American.
Obama: 'Spirit of innovation' key to the future
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press Writer Darlene Superville, Associated Press Writer – Sat Aug 1, 11:13 am ET
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama, citing fresh evidence the recession is winding down, says the country's future economic prosperity depends on building a new, stronger foundation and recapturing the "spirit of innovation."
"Innovation has been essential to our prosperity in the past, and it will be essential to our prosperity in the future," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.
The president cited Friday's Commerce Department report showing that in the last few months the economy overall has done "measurably better than expected." He credited his $787 billion economic stimulus program for much of that progress.
"This and the other difficult but important steps that we have taken over the last six months have helped put the brakes on this recession," Obama said. He mentioned his administration's efforts to limit home foreclosures and unlock frozen credit markets to encourage lending to people and businesses, along with the mixture of tax cuts and spending included in the stimulus program.
Obama reminded the nation that full recovery will not happen overnight, but rather will take many more months.
"Even as we rescue this economy, we must work to rebuild it stronger than before," he said. "We've got to build a new foundation strong enough to withstand future economic storms and support lasting prosperity."
That means having the best-educated, highest-skilled workers in the world, a health care system that fosters innovation by holding the line on costs, building a clean energy economy and investing in research and development, Obama said.
"It is only by building a new foundation that we will once again harness that incredible generative capacity of the American people," the president said. "All it takes are the policies to tap that potential — to ignite that spark of creativity and ingenuity — which has always been at the heart of who we are and how we succeed."
Obama said he will discuss the foundation he wants when he makes a second visit to Elkhart, Ind., on Wednesday. Layoffs in the recreational vehicle industry account for much of the job loss in northern Indiana, which is struggling with an unemployment rate near 17 percent.
"For communities like Elkhart to thrive, we need to recapture that spirit of innovation that has always moved America forward," he said.
Senior administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, are likely to discuss those issues during meetings Saturday to assess administration progress at the six-month mark and plot a course ahead.
Obama was headed to Camp David for the weekend, and was not expected to participate in the sessions.
NEW YORK – The central terminal at New York's LaGuardia Airport was evacuated Saturday morning after a man entered the building with a fake bomb in a bag, police said.
The scare was over in a few hours, but it disrupted travel plans for thousands of people as flights were postponed and vehicle traffic to the airport was briefly halted. Delays also rippled across the country as airlines adjusted their schedules.
Authorities identified the man as Scott McGann, 32, of New York. He had a ticket on a United Airlines flight that was headed to Chicago, with connecting flights that would have ultimately taken him to Oakland, Calif. McGann faces charges including placing a false bomb in a transportation facility and making terroristic threats.
The trouble began shortly after 5 a.m., when McGann checked in for a flight and immediately began attracting attention because of bizarre behavior.
Police received two calls about an apparently intoxicated or suspicious passenger before he had even reached a security checkpoint, said John Kelly, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Security officials said he was "just acting crazy," Kelly said.
Authorities detained McGann when he didn't respond to questions. A search of his bag turned up an assemblage of batteries and wires that police thought was intended to look like a bomb, Kelly said.
The terminal was evacuated at around 5:30 a.m. Investigators quickly determined that the device wasn't dangerous, but travelers became inconvenienced as flights were postponed and traffic backed up outside. Passengers didn't get back in to the terminal until close to 9 a.m.
Roughly a half-dozen United flights were delayed because of the incident, airline spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said. Of the arrest, he said, "We are cooperating with authorities."
American Airlines canceled 16 departing and arriving flights. Delta Air Lines Inc. has a separate terminal from where the incident occurred, so planes continued to arrive and depart, but flights were still disrupted because traffic prevented flight crews from getting to the airport, airline spokesman Carlos Santos said.
Discount carrier AirTran Airways canceled two flights and delayed about a dozen others, spokesman Christopher White said.
"The planes that go to LaGuardia will be delayed the rest of the day I'm sure," he said.
Among the delayed fliers were 12-year-old Samantha Casady and her 10-year-old brother, Patrick, of Norwich, Conn., who were supposed to fly to Dallas at 7:15 a.m. by themselves to visit relatives.
Their mother, Colleen, said she and her husband were accompanying their children through a long security screening line when there was a commotion "and just a swarm of TSA."
Casady said she later saw a man in handcuffs, surrounded by police.
The family was initially directed to go to another security gate, but it was closed, "and a few minutes later, they evacuated the building," she said.
The evacuation also meant that Irma Quidore, of Denville, N.J., had to delay a trip to Monterrey, Mexico, for a second time with her two daughters, Sofia, 6, and Isabella, 3.
They had originally planned to fly out on Thursday, but a delay that would have forced them to miss a connecting flight prompted them to reschedule their trip for Saturday, Quidore said.
"I guess we're going to make the trip to Mexico, but a little bit late," Sofia said as she pushed her little sister in a stroller toward the terminal.
Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Amy Westfeldt in New York and AP Airlines Writer Harry R. Weber in Atlanta contributed to this report.
(This version CORRECTS number of flights canceled by American Airlines to 16.)