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News Briefs

Bush Meets With U.N. Allies, Receives No Immediate Aid Offers


President Bush held an intensive round of meetings with allies on Wednesday to press for help in Iraq, but he won no immediate offers of aid, and administration officials said they might not negotiate a U.N. resolution for more peacekeeping troops to help the American occupation in Baghdad for another month.

“Nobody is in a particular hurry to get this done,” a senior administration official told reporters at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, where the president held his meetings. “The key here is to do the resolution in a way that is right, that allows full and complete consultation.”

A senior official from a close American ally said that it was possible that the resolution could be agreed upon as early as next week, and that it might include a specific timetable for the transfer of authority to the Iraqis.

Draft of Report Shows No Proof Of Iraq Weapons


An early draft of an interim report by the American leading the hunt for banned weapons in Iraq says his team has not found any of the unconventional weapons cited by the Bush administration as a principal reason for going to war, federal officials with knowledge of the findings said Wednesday.

The long-anticipated report by David Kay, the former U.N. weapons inspector who has been leading the U.S. search for illicit weapons, will be the first public assessment of progress in that search since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.

Kay’s team has spent nearly four months searching suspected sites and interviewing Iraqi scientists believed to have knowledge about the country’s nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Kay and his team had not found any illicit weapons. They said they believed that Kay had found evidence of precursors and dual-use equipment that could have been used to manufacture chemical and biological weapons.

California Recall Debate Quickly Goes Free-For-All


The five major candidates vying to replace Gov. Gray Davis if he is recalled faced one another here on Wednesday night for the first and probably only time in the eight-week dash to the Oct. 7 election.

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, the only big-name Democrat in the race, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor-turned-politician, state Sen. Tom McClintock, the diehard conservative, Peter Camejo, the Green Party candidate, and Arianna Huffington, the leftish television commentator and newspaper columnist, engaged in 90 minutes of often spirited debate.

It began in a relatively sedate manner, with each candidate addressing a question about the wisdom of the recall election itself. Schwarzenegger called it “a great idea,” and McClintock welcomed it as a means of correcting a mistake made at the ballot box last November when Davis was re-elected. Camejo said recalling the governor was necessary to solve the state’s budget crisis, and Huffington said it provided the only chance to elect an “independent progressive with a simple plurality.”