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{Friday, January 02, 2004}

British Air Again Cancels DC-Bound Flight
Fri January 2, 2004 10:07 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - British Airways Plc, Europe's biggest airline, canceled its London-Washington afternoon service on Friday, the second consecutive day the flight has been suspended for security concerns.

"It has been canceled, that was based on advice from the UK government for a security reason," said a BA spokeswoman, referring to BA 223 to the U.S. capital which had been scheduled to depart at 1505 GMT from London's Heathrow airport.

The return flight, BA 222, was also canceled, she said.

The spokeswoman said an earlier flight, BA 217, for the same destination was delayed for around two hours after a U.S. government request "for information about the flight."

The carrier's third daily service between London and Washington, BA 225, was scheduled to depart as planned at 1840 GMT, the spokeswoman said.

Britain's Department of Transport declined to comment on the nature of the security risk, having told Reuters that its intelligence came from a number of sources.

"We would not comment on where those sources come from," a department spokesman said.

British Airways canceled the BA 223 service on Thursday, a day after the same scheduled flight was detained on the tarmac at Washington's Dulles International Airport for several hours.

In boosting the U.S. security alert level last month, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda movement appeared intent on matching or outdoing the September 2001 hijacked airliner attacks that killed about 3,000 people.

The U.S. government said this week it was ordering foreign airlines to place armed sky marshals on selected flights to the United States.

Two AeroMexico flights to Los Angeles from Mexico City were canceled this week because of suspicions would-be hijackers might have booked tickets, Mexican and U.S. officials said.

U.S. officials also confirmed on Thursday that U.S. warplanes have escorted several in-bound Air France flights.

Six flights between Paris and Los Angeles were canceled last week at the urging of Washington after it raised security concerns.
posted by STEVE 7:43 AM
Brazil judge orders US citizens fingerprinted

A Brazilian judge, furious at US plans to fingerprint and photograph Brazilians entering the United States, has ordered Brazil to do the same to US citizens.

The order, set to go into effect on January 1, came after a Government office filed a complaint in federal court over the US measure aimed at millions of foreign travellers.

"Unless the court order is contested in the justice system, it will be complied with," said a spokesman for Brazil's Federal Police, the agency overseeing immigration.

Starting on January 5, citizens of countries such as Brazil who need a visa to enter the US will be fingerprinted and photographed when they pass through immigration at major US airports and seaports.

The procedure is meant to identify people who have violated immigration controls, have a criminal record or belong to groups the US government lists as "terrorist" organisations.

The checks will not be carried out against citizens of 27 nations who do not need a visa to enter the United States.

"I consider the act absolutely brutal, threatening human rights, violating human dignity, xenophobic and worthy of the worst horrors committed by the Nazis," said Federal Judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva in the court order released on Tuesday.

Brazil currently requires US citizens to have a visa when entering the country.

-- Reuters

Friday, January 02, 2004 -
Brazil copies U.S. law, fingerprints Americans
By Vivian Sequera
The Associated Press

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Police fingerprinted and photographed Americans arriving at São Paulo's airport yesterday in response to new rules requiring the same for Brazilians entering the United States.

Federal Judge Julier Sebastião da Silva ordered the measure Monday in response to the new U.S. anti-terror regulation requiring citizens from 27 nations, including Brazil, to be fingerprinted and photographed when entering America.

The U.S. anti-terror regulation takes effect Monday at all 115 airports handling international flights and 14 major seaports. It will allow instant checks on an immigrant's or visitor's criminal background.

On Wednesday, Brazil's Foreign Ministry requested that Brazilians be removed from the U.S. list, saying Brazil would consider treating U.S. citizens the same way upon their arrival.

"At first, most of the Americans were angered at having to go through all this, but they were usually more understanding once they learned that Brazilians are subjected to the same treatment in the U.S.," Wagner Castilho, press officer for the federal police in São Paulo, said of those arriving at São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport.

Brazil also requires visas for U.S. citizens, in response to a similar requirement for Brazilians entering the United States.

posted by STEVE 6:46 AM