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China Tightens Oversight Of Missile Technology Exports


Bowing to a longtime U.S. demand, the Chinese government has issued new rules to tighten its control over the export of missile technology, state media reported Sunday.

The regulations, which went into effect Thursday, set up a licensing and registration system for companies that want to sell products or know-how that could be used to make missiles, the official New China News Agency said.

The announcement coincided with the arrival here of Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage, who is paying a 48-hour visit to pave the way for a summit in October between President Bush and Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Arms-control issues are expected to be on the agenda of Armitage’s talks in Beijing and of Jiang’s visit to Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.

The communist regime promised in November 2000 to clamp down on the transfer of sensitive equipment and technology and to publish a list of exactly what kinds of items would be off-limits for export.

But it has dragged its feet in doing so, in part because of the tense standoff with Washington last year over an American spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter jet and crash-landed in southern China. Relations between the two countries on military matters have been testy since.

Sino-American ties have improved somewhat since Beijing pledged to cooperate in the battle against terrorism in the wake of last September’s attacks on the United States. And on Sunday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan called the Chinese announcement “a positive step” and added, “We look forward to continuing to work with China to address other nonproliferation issues.”

Nevada Voters May Take a Gamble To Legalize Marijuana


A voters initiative on the November ballot would permit possession in Nevada of up to three ounces of marijuana by persons 21 and older. They would be allowed to smoke it in the privacy of their own homes, but not in their car or public places.

While law enforcement officials are railing against the measure, state officials are quietly pondering how the state-licensed sale and taxation of marijuana may stoke the state’s coffers by tens of millions of dollars annually.

Legalizing marijuana by amending the state Constitution is a two-step process. If a simple majority of voters approve the measure in November, it would need to be reaffirmed by voters in 2004. The second vote could be avoided if the measure is adopted next year by the state Legislature, which already has decriminalized possession of marijuana. That course is considered unlikely because most politicians -- including Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn -- are not taking a stand on the issue, saying they will defer to the voters’ wishes.

Nevada is one of nine states that allows the use of marijuana with a doctor’s prescription, and one of 11 states that has lowered criminal sanctions for possession of marijuana.

State polls suggest Nevada voters are about evenly split on the question. The state’s largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, has editorialized that said the measure “would end the needless harassment of individuals who peacefully and privately use marijuana.”

Nevada may seem a logical place to test the issue because of the state’s renowned live-and-let-live philosophy, as already manifested through its extensive gambling and rural houses of prostitution. And as a practical matter, the debate can be financially waged in just one media market, here. Clark County is home to two-thirds of the state’s residents. But it is also its most unpredictable political audience because of the region’s explosive growth of non-Nevada transplants over the past decade. Most of rural Nevada is conservative, Las Vegas is not.

Militants Kill Palestinian Woman They Accused of Spying for Israel


A Palestinian militant group executed a Palestinian woman accused of spying for Israel, then dumped her bullet-pocked corpse in a public square in the West Bank city of Tulkarm, officials said today.

Ikhlas Khouli, 36, is believed to be the first woman killed for collaborating with Israeli security services during the 23-month uprising against occupation, Palestinian officials said.

Khouli allegedly helped lead Israeli security services earlier this month to the hiding place of a militant commander who was then killed by Israeli troops, Palestinian authorities said.

“This woman was killed unlawfully,” Izz al-Din al-Sharif, the governor of Tulkarm, said in a telephone interview. “This woman should have been brought to trial and sentenced for her wrong doing, but we are now under occupation, already 65 days under curfew in our homes, and we have lost any control over the security situation in Tulkarm.”

Palestinian militant groups have killed several dozen alleged spies, called collaborators, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the violence began between Israelis and Palestinians, but all others are believed to have been men.

In a 30-second segment of a videotape shown Sunday night on Israel's Channel 2 television, Khouli, speaking in Arabic, said she had telephoned Israeli security services with the information about the movements of Ziad Daas, a regional commander of the al-Aqsa Brigades. Daas was wanted by security forces for allegedly planning the killing of two Israelis in a Tulkarm restaurant in January 2001, and for alleged involvement in a January attack in the central Israeli town of Hadera in which six Israelis were killed.