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New York plans prayer service for victims



NEW YORK (CNN) -- A prayer service is being organized in New York for the families of victims of last Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center.

A service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Big screen televisions will show the event at other sites in the city, Mayor Rudy Giuliani said.

The program was being organized by religious leaders, police and fire departments and other organizations hit by the disaster.

"It will be mostly for the families and the people directly affected by it," he said.

At the scene of the attacks, rescue workers continued their search for victims Wednesday, but found only bodies and parts of bodies.

The number of confirmed dead reached 233, Giuliani told reporters. He said that 170 bodies had been identified.

Chirac visits the scene

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CNN's Bruce Burkhardt explains how authorities are sifting through the rubble for evidence at the World Trade Center (September 18)

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CNN's Martin Savidge visits a Manhattan fire station missing 15 firefighters following last week's tragedy (September 19)

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As the search of the wreckage continued, French President Jacques Chirac visited New York on Wednesday to express support and view the devastation from the air.

Chirac told a televised news conference that he and his country have been "terribly shocked and traumatized" by the attacks last week on the United States.

"The French population and Paris, which has also in the past been attacked -- not so strongly, but still attacked -- feels very, very close to the New York population," Chirac said.

He commended Giuliani and his staff for their efforts, and paid tribute to firefighters, police and emergency officials, many of whom died responding to the attacks.

Chirac later made an aerial tour of the disaster scene with Giuliani.

New York Gov. George Pataki also visited ground zero Wednesday with family members of the victims of the World Trade Center attacks.

Concern about hazardous materials

Work at "the Dig," the name firefighters have given to the World Trade Center site, appeared to be gaining momentum Wednesday as emergency officials worked against the clock and against the possibility that the rescue effort may be interrupted.

Fire officials said Wednesday they are concerned about hazardous materials that are beginning to surface as workers get deeper into the rubble. If the materials begin to pose a danger, officials would term the area a "hot zone" and pull back the firefighters -- turning the rescue into one of "recovery."

About 32,000 firefighters are working at the site in shifts, according to the International Association of Firefighters. Thousands more police, emergency medical technicians and volunteers are also on the scene.

These numbers include about 20,000 firefighters who came from across the country to help their New York counterparts. On Tuesday, a team of 15 Los Angeles firefighters also began manning empty fire stations under the command of the New York Fire Department.

More than 300 New York firefighters are missing in the attacks.

Return of lights, mail

Power for 1,800 customers in lower Manhattan was restored Wednesday morning, nearly eight days after the terror attacks, a Con Ed spokesman said. About 870 customers are still without power for various reasons.

Con Ed has asked customers in the area to minimize the use of electricity while work continues in lower Manhattan.

Residents and businesses served by the three post offices closed since the World Trade Center attacks have begun receiving their mail at the James A. Farley Post Office at Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street.

The lines have been stretching out the door as people wait to pick up bundles of delayed mail wrapped in rubber bands.






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