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News Briefs, part 1

India, Pakistan Balk at U.S. Nuclear-Reducing Plans

Los Angeles Times

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott opened talks yesterday on his first overseas trip as America's No. 2 diplomat, but India and Pakistan gave a frigid welcome to proposals he carried for reducing the danger of nuclear war between them.

Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, citing national honor, said she could never agree to constrain her country's "peaceful nuclear program," if India weren't made to do the same.

"If we are unilaterally pressed for the capping, it will be discriminatory and Pakistan will not agree to it," Bhutto was quoted by Pakistani news services as saying in Islamabad.

In New Delhi, where Talbott met with India's foreign and finance ministers, government officials all but ruled out any two-country arrangement with Pakistan for an end to fissile materials production or verification inspections.

"We've always taken the line that bilateral or regional approaches don't work," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Shiv Shankar Mukherjee said.

The impasse showed the formidable challenges facing Talbott, a former Time magazine journalist known for his expertise on Russia and superpower disarmament, as he ventures into the thicket of Indo-Pakistani relations.

"It is no coincidence that Secretary of State [Warren] Christopher would ask me to come to South Asia on my first overseas trip as deputy secretary of state," Talbott said on arrival in New Delhi Wednesday evening. "I have come here to listen and to learn first hand about India's global and regional concerns.

"But I also want to share with my hosts the Clinton administration's approach to the world, to this region and to this country with which we cherish very good relations and very high hopes for the development of our relations for the future," Talbott said.

Despite his upbeat remarks, American relations with both countries have been deteriorating in recent months. In India's case, the major cause seems to have been statements by American officials, including President Clinton, that Indian officials and the press have found insulting or insensitive.

The New York Times Shakes up Editorial Management

The Washington Post

In a high-level shake-up that surprised even senior executives, the New York Times yesterday elevated Managing Editor Joseph Lelyveld to the executive editor's job and tapped Eugene Roberts, the former editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, to fill Lelyveld's No. 2 post for three years.

The move, effective July 1, will end the eight-year reign of Executive Editor Max Frankel, who helped turn the Times into a more colorful and wide-ranging newspaper that beefed up its sports coverage and tried to plug into the youth culture with a Sunday "Styles" section.

Lelyveld, a rabbi's son who won a 1986 Pulitzer Prize for his book on South Africa, had been widely expected to move up next year, when Frankel reached the paper's mandatory retirement age of 65. But Frankel is stepping down early to become a Times Magazine columnist on communications and the media.

Lelyveld, 57, stood on the copy desk yesterday and told the staff he felt a bit like a reporter on his first big story. "I don't have a new platform," he said in an interview. "You just keep painting the battleship and keep renovating it."

An intense, admittedly shy man who has reported from around the globe, Lelyveld is the first Times editor chosen by Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who has been trying to fashion a younger image and more diverse staff for the nation's top-selling metropolitan daily.

Roberts, 61, a rumpled, mumbling man who once set his desk on fire while smoking, is the first Times outsider since World War II to be named managing editor. A Times reporter and national editor in the 1960s and early 1970s, Roberts is a revered figure in the newspaper world for his transformation of the Inquirer into a hard-charging paper that won 17 Pulitzer Prizes during his 18 years.

Gerald Boyd, an assistant managing editor since last year and the Times' senior black editor, is described by staffers as a potential managing editor who was deemed in need of further seasoning.

Lelyveld's ascension comes as the Times, despite a growing circulation that now exceeds 1.1 million, is still struggling financially after several years of depressed advertising revenues.