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World Briefs I

Kaczynski's Deal Blocks State Murder Charges Against Him

Washington Post

Taking a swipe at the U.S. Justice Department for negotiating with the Unabomber, Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully said Tuesday she cannot prosecute Theodore Kaczynski on state murder charges, though she'd like to.

After last week's plea bargain between Kaczynski and the federal government, state and local authorities said it was unlikely under California law that state charges could be pursued, but wanted time to research the matter.

On Tuesday, Scully said her analysis showed that a person convicted in another jurisdiction cannot be prosecuted for the same crimes in California.

The plea bargain, in which Kaczynski pleaded guilty to a 10-count indictment in Sacramento and a three-count indictment in New Jersey, saves him from the death penalty. He faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced May 15.

"One who kills with such malice, planning and cold premeditation should face a jury to determine the penalty he should suffer," Scully said.

World Health Organization Nominates Norwegian

The Washington Post

The World Health Organization on Tuesday nominated Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former prime minister of Norway, to be the next director general of the agency, which is headquartered in Geneva.

If Brundtland, a 58-year-old physician, is elected by the WHO's full membership in May, she will become the first woman to head the organization. Of the original seven candidates for the position, she was viewed as the one most likely to reform the organization.

A senior U.S. government official, monitoring the nomination in Geneva, said many members of the WHO professional staff emerged from their offices and cheered when Brundtland's nomination was announced.

The WHO provides technical expertise to many countries; helps track disease outbreaks; coordinates global projects, such as the current effort to eradicate polio; and helps direct aid agencies' donations to high-priority health problems. In recent years, however, many experts have come to believe the organization was failing to use its prestige and power to better the lives of the world's neediest people.

The United States currently does not have a seat on the WHO executive board. Two weeks ago, however, it announced that it favored Brundtland.

Clinton Proposes New Inspection System for Bio-Weapons

The Washington Post

Prompted by fresh worries about Iraq's ability to wage germ warfare, President Clinton announced new U.S. proposals Tuesday night for adding an international inspection system to a treaty banning biological weapons. The move represented a breakthrough after months of disagreement within the administration over how to bolster the 1972 Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention.

The Defense and Commerce Department officials had for some time resisted measures that they consider too intrusive. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry, which would be the focus of any inspection regime, also has opposed opening their facilities in ways that could jeopardize trade secrets.

Now with a unified position, administration officials said Tuesday they expected U.S. negotiators to take a more active role in international talks, underway in Geneva since 1995, to draft a protocol for the biological weapons treaty.

"We must act to prevent the use of disease as a weapon of war and terror," Clinton said in the prepared text of his State of Union message. "The Biological Weapons Convention has been in effect for 23 years. The rules are good, but the enforcement is weak-and we must strengthen it with a new international inspection system to detect and deter cheating."