2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 8, 2005
U.S. official: Korea sent
atomic arms to Libya
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Stung by the
lapses of intelligence on Iraq's weapons pro-
grams, a top U.S. diplomat insisted yesterday that
Washington has concrete evidence North Korean
nuclear material went to Libya's since-shuttered
atomic arms operation.
He warned that North Korea's cash-strapped
communist regime could still be a risk for a further
spread of atomic arms technology and materials.
Christopher Hill, the main U.S. envoy on the
North Korea nuclear standoff, told The Associated
Press that even though Libya got the nuclear mate-
rial from a Pakistani black market nuclear network,
the North Koreans must have known where their
material would end up.
Hill, U.S. ambassador to South Korea who
leaves next week to become assistant secretary
of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said
there is "physical evidence that the material
that arrived in Libya had started its journey" in
North Korea. He said the evidence was "beyond
my reasonable doubt."
It was the strongest on-the-record claim by a U.S.
official that such evidence exists.
For months, U.S. officials have stopped short of
saying publicly they had physical evidence about a
North Korea-Libya link. That raised questions about
Washington's case, especially after the intelligence
failures on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Hill did not say what the evidence was or where
it came from. But Libya agreed with the U.S. and
British governments in late 2003 to shut down its
programs to develop atomic and chemical weapons
and allowed in outside inspectors.
Officials from the International Atomic Ener-
gy Agency have said that Libya obtained nuclear
material from Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan.
The U.N. agency said yesterday its inspectors
are still interviewing Libyans about the atomic
weapons work, but all Libya's nuclear equipment
has been destroyed or dismantled and removed
from the country.
Asked about Hill's comments linking the
material in Libya to North Korea, Melissa Flem-
ing, a spokeswoman for the IAEA in Vienna,
Austria, said: "It's a possibility, but it's difficult
for us to verify because we no longer have any
inspectors there" in North Korea.
In Washington, a State Department official who
tracks dangerous weapons said the Libyans did not
necessarily know the origin of the material.
Attempts to reach officials in Libya for comment
were not successful.
Hill wouldn't go so far as to say U.S. intel-
ligence had proof of direct contact or payments
between Libya and North Korea. But he said the
Pyonyang regime, which claims to have nuclear
weapons and has been struggling with years of
food shortages, might not be done pitching its
atomic wares around the world.
BAGHDAD (AP) - Cementing Iraq's first democratic
government in 50 years, one of Saddam's Hussein's most
implacable enemies took his oath as president yesterday
and quickly named another longtime foe of the ousted
dictator to the powerful post of prime minister.
The new government's main task will be to draft a per-
manent constitution and lay the groundwork for elections
in December, although some worry that the two months
of political wrangling taken up in forming the leadership
hasn't left enough time.
The swearing-in ceremony came just two days short of
the second anniversary of Baghdad's fall to U.S.-led forc-
es and underlined the growing power and cooperation of
the Shiite Arab majority and Kurdish minority - groups
that were long oppressed by Saddam's regime.
There were stumbles, though.
After his inaugural speech, interim President Jalal
Talabani, a Kurd, walked off the stage, and members of
the National Assembly and onlookers began to disperse
and television feeds were cut.
Talabani came back about 10 minutes later and had
to shout to a dwindling crowd that the President's Coun-
cil - Talabani and his two vice presidents - had, as
expected, selected Shiite Arab leader Ibrahim al-Jaafari
as interim prime minister.
Senior Kurdish official Barham Saleh blamed the mis-
step on miscommunication, saying lawmakers didn't real-
ize the ceremony hadn't ended with Talabani's speech.
Some Shiite lawmakers felt snubbed.
"We hope that they forgot," said Abbas Hassan Mousa
al-Bayati, a top member of al-Jafaari's Shiite-dominated
United Iraqi Alliance. "This happened because of bad
Al-Jaafari didn't seem upset, telling reporters after-
ward: "This day represents a democratic process and a
"I'm faced with a big responsibility, and I pray to
God that everyone will work hand-in-hand and that
their efforts will lead to progress and development," he
Some Iraqis have expressed concern about al-Jaafari's
close ties to the Islamic government in Iran and his work
for the conservative Islamic Dawa Party, which has
called for the implementation of Islamic law. But law-
makers didn't express any reservations yesterday.
Al-Jaafari said women will play a bigger role in his
government, and he promised to fight the violence of the
"There are two kinds of terrorism: terrorism from
inside Iraq - and these are criminals, some of them with
ties to the former regime - and the other is the terrorism
exported from abroad," he said.
Iraq's new leaders were longtime foes of Saddam, who
watched a videotape of Talabani's election Wednesday
but was not expected to be shown Thursday's ceremony.
Al-Jaafari spent more than two decades in exile help-
ing to lead anti-Saddam opposition forces among Shiite
Arabs, while Talabani was one of the most influential
leaders in the resistance of ethnic Kurds to Saddam as
well as Arab domination.
Sliiite Arabs and Kurds have worked together in put-
ting the government together, and Talabani - whose
post is largely ceremonial - reached out yesterday to
Sunni Arabs, who are believed to make up the backbone
of the insurgency and were the dominant group under
"It is time for our Sunni brothers to participate in the
democratic march," the president said.
Lawmakers have appointed Sunni Arabs to several top
posts in an effort to build a broad-based government, but
prominent Sunni Arab groups have distanced themselves
from the new administration.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Republi-
can leaders are considering whether to seek
Democratic support for Social Security leg-
islation without the personal accounts sought
by President Bush, aiming to restore them
later, officials said yesterday.
Any such move would mark a tactical shift
and could anger the White House, which is in
the midst of an intensive 60-day campaign to
sell Bush's approach to the public.
The internal discussions among top Senate
Republicans come at a time when the drive to
overhaul Social Security - the centerpiece of
Bush's agenda - appears stalled. Democrats
routinely attack his proposed accounts as priva-
tization, and adamantly resist the idea of includ-
ing them in any legislation designed to shore up
the program's finances.
With public opinion polls showing modest
support at best for Bush's plan, Republicans have
yet to coalesce behind a proposal of their own.
Several officials familiar with the discus-
sions among GOP leaders said the lawmakers
are wary of creating the impression they are jet-
tisoning the centerpiece of Bush's plan.
In the end, they are determined to have
something along the lines of what the president
wants, said one official, echoing sentiments
expressed by others.
These officials spoke on condition of ano-
nymity, citing the sensitivity of the topic.
They said top Republicans discussed an
approach under which they would effectively
acquiesce in an attempt to test the waters for
Pfizer pulls painkiller from market
The blockbuster painkiller Bextra was yanked off the market yesterday, and the
government ordered that 19 other popular prescription competitors -- from Cele-
brex to Mobic to high-dose naproxen - carry tough new warnings that they, too,
may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The warnings encompass an entire class of anti-inflammatory medicines called
NSAIDs that are the backbone of U.S. pain treatment, not just newer versions of the
painkillers initially suspected when the heart concerns made headlines last fall.
The warnings - in black boxes, the strongest the Food and Drug Administra-
tion can order - are likely to cause confusion because they won't tell patients and
doctors which of these prescription drugs is a safer choice.
In addition, the FDA will make over-the-counter NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-
inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen bear stronger
reminders to take only low doses for a few days at a time to avoid the same risks of
high-dose, long-term use.
Worried patients immediately began calling doctors and pain groups to ask what
drug they should take. The FDA advised patients to ask which painkiller is best
suited to their personal health risks, and then take the lowest dose possible.
Pope considered retirement at age 80
Pope John Paul II, weighed down by illness and age, considered resigning
as he turned 80 in 2000, according to his last will and testament published
yesterday. The pope also wrote of tormented times for himself and the church
and left instructions for his notes to be burned.
The document, written in several entries over 22 years, provides extraordi-
nary insight into the pope's thinking in the twilight of his life as he reflected
about death and his legacy, and as he prayed for the "necessary strength" to
continue his mission.
"The times in which we live are unutterably difficult and disturbed," he
wrote in 1980, according to the official Vatican translation from Polish. "The
path of the church has also become difficult and tense . .. both for the faithful
and for pastors."
John Paul's funeral Friday promised to be one of the largest Western reli-
gious gatherings of modern times, conducted with the pomp of an ancient
liturgy and attended by royalty, political power brokers and multitudes of the
Isreal will not destroy Gaza Strip houses
Israel will transfer Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians intact,
the defense minister decided yesterday, reversing an earlier plan to destroy all
homes during this summer's withdrawal.
The decision, which would need Cabinet approval, was made in a meeting with
top Israeli security officials. Deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim said internation-
al reaction and environmental concerns led Mofaz to change his earlier decision to
knock down the homes.
"Taking all those things into account, the defense minister made a recommenda-
tion not to destroy the private houses," Boim told Army Radio.
The question of what to do with the hundreds of red-roofed houses scattered
throughout Gaza in 21 settlements has vexed the Israeli government for months.
Bomb attack kills 2 tourists in historic bazaar
An explosion apparently set off by a bomber on a motorcycle hit a tour group
shopping in a historic bazaar yesterday, killing at least two people and wounding
20 - the first attack targeting foreign tourists in the Egyptian capital in more
than seven years.
The dead included a French woman, and 11 Egyptians and nine foreigners
were wounded, said Brig. Gen. Nabil al-Azabihead of security in Cairo. He said
the second person killed may have been the bomber.
Many of the wounded had severe wounds from nails packed in the bomb, doc-
tors said. Among the wounded foreigners were three Americans, four French,
and a Turk, the Interior Ministry said.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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