2A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 5, 2005
Egypt suspected of nuclear tests NEWS IN BRIEF
VIENNA, Austria (AP) - The U.N. atomic watch-
dog agency has found evidence of secret nuclear
experiments in Egypt that could be used in weapons
programs, diplomats said yesterday.
The diplomats told The Associated Press that most
of the work was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s,
but said the International Atomic Energy Agency also
was looking at evidence suggesting some work was
performed as recently as a year ago.
Egypt's government rejected claims it is or has been
pursuing a weapons program, saying its nuclear pro-
gram is for peaceful purposes.
"A few months ago we denied these kinds of claims
and we do so again," Egyptian government spokesman
Magdy Rady said. "Nothing about our nuclear pro-
gram is secret, and there is nothing that is not known
to the IAEA."
But one of the diplomats said the Egyptians "tried
to produce various components of uranium" without
declaring it to the IAEA, as they were bound to under the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The products included
several pounds of uranium metal and uranium tetrafluo-
ride - a precursor to uranium hexafluoride gas, the dip-
lomat said on condition of anonymity.
Uranium metal can be processed into plutonium,
while uranium hexafluoride can be enriched into
weapons-grade uranium - both for use in the core of
The diplomat said the Vienna-based IAEA had not
yet drawn a conclusion about the scope and purpose of
the experiments. But the work appeared to have been
sporadic, involved small amounts of material and
lacked a particular focus, the diplomat said.
That, he said, indicated that the work was not
directly geared toward creating a full-scale program
to make nuclear weapons.
The U.N.s atomic watchdog agency claims
Egypt coducted secret nuclear tests in the
90s and as recently as last year
The diplomat said that Egypt's program was not
"It's not like Iran, where there was a clear plan to
produce" uranium hexafluoride, the gas that turns into
enriched uranium when spun in centrifuges, he said.
He also warned against comparisons to South Korea,
which conducted larger-scale plutonium and uranium
experiments in 1982 and 2000 without reporting them
to the agency.
Iran, which the United States accuses of hav-
ing nuclear weapons ambitions, developed a full-
fledged uranium enrichment program over nearly
two decades of clandestine activity revealed only
in mid 2002. Iran says it plans to enrich only to
levels used to generate nuclear fuel and not to
In Vienna, IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky
said the agency would not comment on the revela-
tions about Egypt.
Cairo has denied in the past it is trying to develop a
nuclear weapons program.
The country appeared to turn away from the pur-
suit of such a program decades ago. The Soviet Union
and China reportedly rebuffed its requests for nuclear
arms in the 1960s, and by the 1970s, Egypt gave up the
idea of building a plutonium production reactor and
anything to offer at this point except what we've said all
along, which is, we expect all nations to cooperate with
the International Atomic Energy Agency," White House
spokesman Scott McClellan said. "We're sure they will
look into this matter and I would just point out that Egypt
is a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty."
Egypt runs small-scale nuclear programs for medi-
cal and research purposes, and Rady said the IAEA is
monitoring that program.
"Nothing about our nuclear program is secret and
there is nothing that is not known to the IAEA," he
said. "We don't have a secret program for energy. All
our program is known."
Plans were floated as recently as 2002 to build the
country's first nuclear power reactor. But no construc-
tion date has been announced, and the pro-government
Al-Ahram Weekly reported late last year that the plant
site near the coastal town of Al-Dabaa might be sold to
make way for tourism development.
Yesterday's revelations come two months after diplo-
mats told the AP that the IAEA had discovered pluto-
nium particles near an Egyptian nuclear facility.
Back then, Egypt's foreign and energy ministers
rejected the reports - but the diplomat again verified
them yesterday, adding that the agency has not been
able to determine if those traces were evidence of a
secret weapons program or simply the byproduct of
Governor, five U.S. soldiers killed
The governor of the Baghdad region, known for cooperating closely with
American troops, was assassinated along with six bodyguards as he drove to
work yesterday in yet another bloody day of insurgent attacks that exposed
grave security flaws in Iraq with elections less than a month away.
Other assaults yesterday killed five American troops as well as 10 Iraqi com-
mandos, bringing the death toll in the last three days to more than 70. Despite
the violence, which U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces have been helpless to
prevent, American and Iraqi leaders insist the Jan. 30 vote would go forward.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan acknowledged security "chal-
lenges" in Iraq but said the election timetable would not be changed.
"For much of the country, the situation is secure enough to move forward
on holding elections," McClellan said. "There are a few areas that we're
continuing to work to improve the security situation, so those areas will be
able to have as full a participation as possible in elections."
In places like Fallujah, which was bombed to ruins in a U.S.-led campaign
in November, and the northern city of Mosul, there has been little headway
in preparing for the vote.
Court upholds charges against dictator
Chile's Supreme Court upheld the indictment and house arrest of for-
mer dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet yesterday for nine kidnappings and
one homicide allegedly committed during a long regime marked by human
The court's 3-2 vote cleared the way for Pinochet to be tried on the latest
human rights abuse charges stemming from his 1973-1990 rule.
"The sentence that has been appealed has been confirmed," court secre-
tary Carlos Meneses said, referring to Pinochet's appeal.
Retired Gen. Luis Cortes, a Pinochet associate, said "what this situation is
doing is to accelerate the death of a man who was President of Chile."
Restrictions placed to protect children
Fearing child-trafficking gangs will exploit the chaos of the tsunami disas-
ter, Indonesia has placed restrictions on youngsters leaving the country,
ordered police commanders to be on the lookout for trafficking and posted
special guards in refugee camps.
UNICEF and other child welfare groups warn that the gangs may well be whisking
orphaned children into trafficking networks, selling them into forced labor or even
sexual slavery in wealthier neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.
Such trafficking, if confirmed, would vastly deepen the suffering of chil-
dren already struck hard by the Dec. 26 massive earthquake and tsunami.
According to estimates in Indonesia, 35,000 children on Sumatra island's
Aceh province lost one or both parents to the disaster.
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip
Abbas denounces Israel for recent killings
Palestinian presidential candidate Mahmoud Abbas denounced Israel as
the "Zionist enemy" yesterday - his harshest language yet on the campaign
trail - after Israeli tank shells slammed into a strawberry patch, killing
seven Palestinians, many of them children.
Israel insisted its shells hit militants who were firing mortar rounds at
Israeli targets, but relatives and witnesses said the dead were children and
teenagers, and a senior army commander apologized for civilian casualties.
It was the bloodiest strike in Gaza in three months.
Abbas's rhetoric has grown increasingly hard-line during a four-day cam-
paign swing through Gaza, as he reached out to younger, more militant
Palestinians ahead of Sunday's election.
"We've seen the reports
and I don't think we have
The new Congress convened for the first time yesterday. Members
approved ethics standards opposed by House Democrats.
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Major-
ity Republicans flexed their muscles
at the dawn of a new Congress yes-
terday, approving ethics standards
opposed by House Democrats and
threatening to change Senate rules
if needed to force votes on President
Bush's court appointees.
"In this Congress, big plans will stir
men's blood," pledged Rep. Dennis
Hastert of Illinois, re-elected speaker.
He vowed to spend the next two years
pursuing key elements of Bush's ambi-
tious second-term agenda.
He mentioned Social Security, includ-
ing Bush's call to allow individuals to
invest a portion of their payroll taxes on
their own, as well as energy and trans-
portation bills and a measure to crack
down on lawsuits.
Hastert will preside over a House
majority bigger by three as a result of
the Nov. 2 elections. Senate Majority
Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee leads a
group of 55 Republicans - four more
than the GOP had in the old Congress.
The opening gavels fell at noon - the
hour commanded by the Constitution -
for a day of pomp and controversy.
Hastert administered the oath of
office to 41 new House members as well
as the veterans. Across the Capitol, Vice
President Dick Cheney swore in the 34
senators elected on Nov. 2. Among them
were seven GOP freshmen who helped
expand the GOP majority and leave
Democrats with their smallest represen-
tation in seven decades.
House Democrats criticized the GOP
ethics rules in the first partisan fight of
the Congress, but Republicans prevailed
on a vote of 220-195.
Democratic prospects in the dispute
diminished markedly following a series
of concessions blessed by Hastert and
Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Mon-
"The proposed changes are destructive
and unethical," evidence of Republican
arrogance and pettiness, charged Demo-
cratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
"In this Congress,
big plans will stir
- Rep. Dennis Hastert
Rep. Louise Slaughter, (D-N.Y.), look-
ing across the House floor to the Repub-
licans, said, "The lesson we have today
is you have the power and you break the
rules and you can change them."
Specifically, the Democrats focused fire
on a proposal to require a majority vote of
the ethics panel for any complaint to be
pursued. Membership of the panel con-
sists of equal numbers of Republicans and
Democrats, meaning that lawmakers of
either party could unify and block action.
Current rules provide for an auto-
matic investigation of a complaint
unless the full committee decides on an
alternative approach. That procedure, in
effect since 1997, replaced a different
requirement for a majority vote that had
been in effect for many years.
DeLay said the Democratic criti-
cism was the first of what will become
"countless personal attacks against the
integrity of the majority and ultimately
against the House."
In the Senate, Frist announced he would
seek confirmation in February of "one of
the president's very capable, qualified and
experienced judicial nominees."
Bush recently renominated 20 can-
didates for the federal bench, many of
whose confirmations were blocked by
Democrats in the previous Congress.
"I seek cooperation, not confronta-
tion," Frist said. "Cooperation simply
means voting judicial nominees brought
to the floor up or down." He said that
if Democrats don't filibuster judicial
nominees "it will then be unnecessary
to change Senate procedures."
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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