Howard US visit “marginally overshadowed”

[Edition 45] CANBERRA, Thursday: Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said his US trip was a complete success, if slightly upstaged towards the middle. Mr Howard said his visit had been the subject of intense media interest, until a “small incident in New York” distracted the local press.

The Prime Minister understood the incident involved planeloads of foreigners attempting to gain illegal entry into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He supported US President George Bush’s determination to retaliate against these “queue jumpers” with the full force of the country’s military.

Initial speculation that Howard’s presence in the US capital had prompted the attacks has been treated with international scepticism. However early pictures of the smouldering Manhattan skline had momentarily suggested that the Prime Minister was throwing another of his top-level barbequeues.