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Senate Approves Nuclear Arms Treaty with Russia

THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON

The Senate Thursday unanimously approved a treaty to slash U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons deployments by two-thirds over the next decade, another milestone in disarming two powers that once threatened each other with horrific attacks. The vote was 95-0.

The treaty, signed last year in Moscow by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin and awaiting approval by the Russian parliament, calls on each nation to reduce deployments of strategic, or long-range, weapons by 1,700 to 2,200 deployed weapons by the year 2012 -- their lowest level since the 1950s.

The pact does not require actual destruction of the weapons, leading some senators, to question whether stockpiled Russian weapons might fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue countries.

Bush has hailed the so-called “Moscow Pact” as ushering in a new era between old Cold War rivals. The administration pushed for swift approval at a time when it is seeking to convince Russia not to block a new United Nations resolution paving the way for military action against Iraq.

Poll Shows Voters Support Democratic Alternative Over Bush

NEWSDAY -- WASHINGTON

In the strongest indication yet of President Bush’s weakening political position, a new poll found that more voters would support a Democratic alternative than would back Bush if the next presidential election were held now.

The nationwide survey, done by Quinnipiac College’s polling institute, found that 48 percent of those polled said they would vote for a Democrat while 44 percent would support Bush. The poll, which had a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points, surveyed 1,232 registered voters between Feb. 26 and March 3.

Six recent surveys by other polling organizations that asked a similar question found support for re-electing Bush had fallen below 50 percent. The Quinnipiac poll, based in Connecticut, is the first to find Bush trailing.

Quinnipiac polling director Maurice Carroll noted that the survey had pitted an unnamed Democrat “without any baggage” against Bush, “who does have baggage,” and a late-January Quinnipiac poll matching Bush against seven actual Democratic candidates found the president ahead in each case.

Paper Prints Alleged Memo on U.S. Eavesdropping of U.N. Members

THE BALTIMORE SUN

In a rare leak that could prove embarrassing to the U.S. government, a British newspaper has printed a seemingly authentic National Security Agency memo ordering stepped-up eavesdropping against countries on the U.N. Security Council whose votes are crucial in the U.S. effort to build support for war against Iraq.

Intelligence experts say the memo, dated Jan. 31, marked “Top Secret” and printed Sunday in The Observer, appears genuine. The memo may complicate U.S. diplomacy by underscoring that the intelligence agency routinely monitors phone calls, faxes and e-mail not only of hostile countries but of allies and neutral nations.

“As you’ve likely heard by now, the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the U.N. Security Council members (minus U.S. and GBR (Great Britain) of course) for insights as to (how) membership is reacting to the ongoing debate RE:Iraq,” says the memo, from Frank Koza, described as NSA’s chief of staff for “Regional Targets.”