A number of civil libertarian groups expressed concern controversial portions of the USA Patriot Act set to expire at the end of the year appear to have won extension.
Sections of the Patriot Act, enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks were to end Dec. 31, but the Bush administration said the lessening of restrictions on investigative bodies such as the FBI was needed to keep the country safe from further attacks.
According to The New York Times U.S. House and Senate negotiators agreed to keep all 16 provisions of the Patriot Act. The newspaper said votes on the bill could come this week.
Most of the act would be put in place permanently while controversial section such as authorities' access to business and library records and the use of roving wiretaps would be extended for seven years, UPI reports.
A senior counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, however, told the compromise doesn't address the "fundamental flaws" of the Patriot Act and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said the act is a "huge step backward for civil liberties."
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building