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Entries in september 11 (17)

Monday
Sep102012

Govt. Admits Ground Zero Cancer Risk

Anthony Correia/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The World Trade Center Health Program will now provide treatment and compensation for 9/11 victims who were diagnosed with cancer after they inhaled toxic dust, program administrator Dr. John Howard announced this afternoon.

Initially, the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act -- the fund established in 2010 and named for police detective James Zadroga, who died at age 34 after working at Ground Zero -- included only a short list of illnesses that qualified for compensation. Cancer was excluded because of a lack of scientific evidence linking any form of the disease to conditions in the debris pile, even though many of the 50,000 9/11 first responders believe they got cancer -- among other illnesses -- because of their exposure to dust and other substances at Ground Zero.

"We received a petition to consider adding cancer from the New York Congressional Delegation," Howard said in a statement, adding that the WTC Health Program's Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee recommended adding dozens of cancers to the coverage list in June.

The expansion will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

The government says 2,976 people were killed when terrorists hijacked passenger jets and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Sept. 11, 2001. Passengers aboard another flight that is believed to have been destined for another Washington, D.C., target -- possibly the U.S. Capitol building or the White House -- took over the aircraft. It crashed into an open field in Shanksville, Pa.

The fire and collapse of the World Trade Center's twin towers contaminated the nearby air with particles of glass, asbestos, cement, lead, gypsum, calcium carbonate, other metal particles and other toxins.

It is believed that exposure to this dust through the lungs and skin has contributed to the asthma, gastrointestinal problems, and possibly the increased cancer risk experienced by rescue workers, especially those who were on the site immediately after the attack, when the cloud of debris dust was its thickest.

Asbestos causes lung and other types of cancer, while lead and other heavy metals can be toxic to the brain.

The Zadroga Act provides first responders with screening and treatment for health problems associated with working at Ground Zero. It also created a $4.3 billion fund to compensate affected first responders for any wage or other financial losses they incurred as a result of working at Ground Zero.

About 40,000 Sept. 11 responders and survivors receive monitoring and 20,000 get treatment for their illnesses as part of the Zadroga Act's health program.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep102012

Feds Expected to Recognize Cancer Link to 9/11 First Responders

Anthony Correia/Getty ImagesUPDATE: The World Trade Center Health Program will now provide treatment and compensation for 9/11 victims who were diagnosed with cancer after they inhaled toxic dust, program administrator Dr. John Howard announced this afternoon.

(WASHINGTON) -- The federal government may formally acknowledge that Ground Zero first responders and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods could have gotten cancer as a result of their exposure to toxic dust following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which determines which cancers are covered under a fund established to care for first responders to the attacks, may make an announcement about the issue as early as Monday. Fifty types of cancers are expected be added to a list of illnesses covered by the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

Initially, the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act — the fund established in 2010 and named for police Det. James Zadroga, who died at age 34 after working at Ground Zero — included only a short list of illnesses that qualified for compensation. Cancer was excluded because of a lack of scientific evidence linking any form of the disease to conditions in the debris pile, even though many of the 50,000 9/11 first responders believe they got cancer — among other illnesses — because of their exposure to dust and other substances at Ground Zero.

Dozens of cancers believed to be related to 9/11 exposure are expected to be added to the list of covered illnesses, the New York Post reported, citing two lawyers who represent thousands of first responders and area residents.

An estimated 3,000 people were killed when terrorists hijacked passenger jets and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Sept. 11, 2001. Passengers aboard another flight that is believed to have been destined for another Washington, D.C., target – possibly the U.S. Capitol building or the White House – took over the aircraft. It crashed into an open field in Shanksville, Pa.

The fire and collapse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers contaminated the nearby air with particles of glass, asbestos, cement, lead, gypsum, calcium carbonate, other metal particles and other toxins.

It is believed that exposure to this dust through the lungs and skin has contributed to the asthma, gastrointestinal problems, and possibly the increased cancer risk experienced by rescue workers, especially those who were on the site immediately after the attack, when the cloud of debris dust was its thickest.

The Zadroga Act provides first responders with screening and treatment for health problems associated with working at Ground Zero. It also created a $4.3 billion fund to compensate affected first responders for any wage or other financial losses they incurred as a result of working at Ground Zero.

About 40,000 Sept. 11 responders and survivors receive monitoring and 20,000 get treatment for their illnesses as part of the Zadroga Act’s health program.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb102012

9/11 Victim Identified More Than 10 Years After Attacks

ALEX FUCHS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- More than ten years after 9/11, forensics teams at the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner are still identifying human remains from the World Trade Center.  Karol Ann Keasler is the latest victim identified through retesting of fragments recovered from Ground Zero.

To date, 59 percent of victims from the 9/11 attacks have been identified.

Keasler, originally from Arizona, was engaged to be married when she went to her job as an event planner on the 89th floor of 2 World Trade Center.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep152011

Question Remains: Who Financed the 9/11 Attacks?

Robert Giroux/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11 and six months after the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, questions still remain regarding who funded the attacks that led to thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damages.

The latest legal pursuit is that of an insurance syndicate of British insurer Lloyd's, which says the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its banks and various charities should be financially responsible for the $215 million it paid in insurance settlements to 9/11 victims' families.

William Doyle's family is one of the families determined to find those who funded the attacks on 9/11. Doyle's son, Joseph, was killed in the north tower of the World Trade Center.

William Doyle says that there are "concrete facts" showing the majority of the hijackers' funding originated from Saudi Arabia. He said the government helped "shield" some of that evidence when the joint congressional committee investigating the attacks published a report in December 2002 and redacted about 28 pages.

Doyle and others believe names of Saudi financiers and companies have been removed.

Former Florida Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, former co-chair of the congressional committee, has called on the government to reopen its 9/11 investigation.

Craig Unger, journalist and author of House of Bush, House of Saud, said there is widespread reason to believe prominent Saudis were funding terrorists through Islamic charities. However, the United States-Saudi relationship is "duplicitous from both sides of the fence," in part because Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil producer and exporter.

Despite unanimous dismissals of Lloyd's nine defendants in cases in New York, the insurer's suit, filed in a federal court in Pennsylvania on Sept. 8, claims "al Qaeda would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan and execute the September 11th attacks" without the funding.

Sean Carter, an attorney with law firm Cozen O'Connor, whose client is the Lloyd's syndicate, said the lawsuit seeks recovery for amounts that were paid to settle claims brought against airlines and security companies related to Sept. 11.

The Pennsylvania lawsuit lists nine defendants, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Red Crescent Society, which is associated with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep112011

President and First Lady Visit Pentagon on Day of Remembrance

Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made a stop at the Pentagon Sunday afternoon to remember those who died there during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The visit completes their stops at every location where the United States was attacked by terrorists 10 years ago Sunday. The day of remembrance ends with a concert at the Kennedy Center, where the president will deliver remarks.

The couple spent most of their Pentagon visit meeting with families of the victims. One hundred twenty five people inside the Pentagon and 59 passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 77 were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The president laid a wreath and observed a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims. After laying the wreath, Obama crossed over a dateline on the ground there that reads “September 11, 2001 9:37 AM,” the exact moment the Pentagon was struck.

The president and first lady also made stops in New York and Pennsylvania to mark the sober anniversary.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul142011

9/11 Families, Lawmakers Aim for Largest Service Day in History

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Capitol Hill Thursday, lawmakers and family members of victims of the 9/11 tragedy came together to kick off what they hope will be the single largest day of charitable service in U.S. history. This initiative, in observance of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, aims to secure at least one million acts of service in tribute to 9/11 victims.

Senator Charles Schumer, the senior Democratic senator from New York, told the crowd that there is “no greater thing for our country than to do a day of service.” There is “no more fitting memorial,” he said.

Organizers expect this year's 9/11 Day Observance to be the single largest day of service and charitable activity in United States history, with at least one million Americans paying tribute through service.

As part of the gathering Thursday, members of Congress and family members of 9/11 victims stitched a flag that was destroyed in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11. The flag, which is on a nationwide tour to be restored, has had stitching by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kan., survivors of the shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas, by World War II veterans on the deck of the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, and by the family members of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The flag also has woven into it a piece of the flag that Abraham Lincoln was laid on when he was shot at Ford’s Theater.

Jeff Parness, a leader in the effort to restore the flag, told the assembled audience that this is “what America is all about.” He said this flag “tells the story of 9/11 but also of 9/12,” a nation able to come together and rebuild from tragedy.

When complete, the National 9/11 flag will become a part of the collection of the National September 11 Memorial Museum being built at the World Trade Center area.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul132011

'Ground Zero Mosque' Clears Legal Hurdle to Build

Protesters attend a pro-mosque rally near the proposed mosque near the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2010 in New York City. Mario Tama/Getty Images(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- The backers of the controversial "Ground Zero Mosque" have won a court fight clearing the way for them to build the mosque and community center complex two blocks from the site of the 9/11 terror attack.

In a decision that was made public Wednesday, New York State Supreme Justice Paul Feinman dismissed a lawsuit by former firefighter Timothy Brown who argued that New York City was wrong to allow the destruction of a 150-year-old building to make way for the Islamic center.

The ex-firefighter who was among those who responded to the terror attack on the World Trade Center said the old building had been struck by debris during the collapse of the twin towers and was a "living representative of the heroic structures that commemorate the events of that day."

In a 15-page decision Feinman wrote, "Mr. Brown's claim that his ability to commemorate will be injured, is not yet recognized under the law as a concrete injury that can establish standing. Such an injury, although palpable to Brown, is immeasurable by a court."

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a conservative legal group that filed the lawsuit on Brown's behalf, said they plan to appeal the ruling.

"This decision fails to give appropriate consideration to first responders and others who risked their lives and lost loved ones on Sept. 11," ACLJ attorney Brett Joshpe said in a statement.

The ACLJ "remain[s] confident that this mosque will never rise above Ground Zero."

Brown and the ACLJ were appealing a ruling last summer by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission which decided to allow a 150-year-old Park Place building to be razed to make way for the center, a project dubbed Park 51.

The cultural center's chief organizer, Feisal Abdul Raufsaid he is "certainly in agreement with the ruling."

"Tim Brown is somebody who I met more than once and we expressed our sensitivities to the issues of the 9/11 families, many of whom are our friends. We have a strong commitment make sure whatever we do meets the sensitivity of the families," Rauf told ABCNews.com.

Rauf and other organizers, who include his wife Daisy Khan and Sharif el-Gamal, plan to erect a mosque and a $150 million "architecturally iconic" complex a couple blocks from Ground Zero to "benefit the whole community." But funding remains a question.

Rauf said that the organizers are putting together a capital campaign to fund Park 51. "A lot of things are being looked at, donors, loans and how to pay it off. There's a lot of work that goes into putting it together," he said.

Rauf said organizers don't expect to break ground for another three to five years.

Project 51 has been a source of national controversy since its unveiling last May. Opponents as well as supporters demonstrated at Ground Zero in reaction to the commission's decision to allow the mosque last August. Opponents were vocal in expressing their opinion that a mosque so close to the spot where Islamic terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center represented a victory monument to the attacks.

President Obama was drawn into the controversy when he initially endorsed the mosque. "As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country," Obama said at a White House ceremony last summer that marked the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. "That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances."

But in a visit to the Gulf Coast subsequent to that comment, Obama later dialed back his public support, saying that he supported the Muslims community's right to build the mosque, but was not sure it was a good idea to build so close to Ground Zero.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

United Airlines 'Glitch' Brings Back 9/11 Flight Numbers

United Continental Airlines(WASHINGTON) -- After September 11, 2001, United Airlines retired the flight numbers of its two planes used in the attacks: Flights 93 and 175. But the airline said Wednesday that a computer glitch earlier this week allowed those numbers to be assigned to forthcoming flights.

"We regret that these flight numbers were inadvertently reinstated in our system," United said in a statement. "We have already taken steps to remove them and apologize for the error."

United says no flights labeled 93 or 175 ever took off.

In a statement, the pilots of United Airlines said that the "reinstatement of Flight Numbers 93 and 175…demonstrates an absolute and blatant disrespect of the pilots, crew and passengers who lost their lives on that date."

United maintains it was computer error -- a glitch brought upon by the company's merger with Continental Airlines -- that caused the apparent snafu.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Jubilant Crowd at Ground Zero Hails Death of Osama Bin Laden

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of people arrived at New York's Ground Zero early Monday morning, celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden with songs, cheers and champagne toasts at the very site where many of the revelers lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2011.

Waving American flags, chanting "USA" and singing patriotic songs, people in the crowd described the scene as "jubilant" and "celebratory," marking a stark contrast from the solemn mood that generally marks the site where nearly 3,000 people died in a terrorist attack and whose names are read there every year on the anniversary.

"Tonight is a great night," said Rocco Chierichella, the retired firefighter who famously handed President George W. Bush a bullhorn when he visited the smoldering wreckage of the twin towers 10 years ago.

"I can hear them all," Chierichella said of the revelers.  "Let's hear it for the U.S. Army.  Tonight is for them."

People in the crowd described it as ethnically diverse and youthful.  One woman held up an iPad serving as makeshift poster, which read "Obama: 1, Osama: 0."

Muslim women in head scarves and Muslim men in turbans and long beards carried American flags, mixinf with retired firefighters, service members in uniform and college students.

"I feel justice has been served," said a retired firefighter who became ill after responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center.  "I feel a weight off my shoulders."

Also in the crowd was Lt. Dan Choi, wearing his full dress uniform, who re-enlisted in the military after being discharged for being gay.

People in the crowd climbed trees, swung from lamposts and poured champagne from atop street signs.

Smaller but no less exuberant celebrations also erupted in New York's Time Square.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr222011

Report: Man Fired for Koran Burning Gets His Job Back

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- A New Jersey Transit employee who burned pages of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is reportedly getting his job back.

Under a settlement, the details of which were obtained by The Star-Ledger, Derek Fenton will return to his job, receive $25,000 for pain and suffering, and $331.20 in back pay for each day since his termination. The state will be required to pay the American Civil Liberties Union -- who brought on the case on Fenton’s behalf --$25,000 in legal fees.

It was his day off, and Fenton did not identify himself as an NJ Transit worker when he tore three pages from a Koran and lit them on fire last September at the site of a proposed Islamic cultural center scheduled to be built near Ground Zero in New York City.

Fenton’s actions ignited outrage -- Gov. Chris Christie at the time called the act intolerable and unacceptable -- and Fenton was eventually fired.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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