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News Briefs

FBI Agents Begin Interviews Of Bush Officials in CIA Leak

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- WASHINGTON

FBI agents have begun interviewing Bush administration officials about the disclosure of an undercover CIA agent’s identity, government officials said on Thursday.

Some details of the investigation, including the start of the interviews, were first reported earlier this week by Time magazine and on Thursday by The Associated Press. They reported that among those interviewed were Karl Rove, President Bush’s senior adviser, and Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary.

The inquiry focuses on whether one or more administration officials disclosed the identity of a CIA officer who is married to Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who publicly questioned the validity of some of the intelligence information used by the administration to justify the war with Iraq. Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was named in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, eight days after Wilson, in an Op-Ed article in The New York Times, said the administration had twisted intelligence information about Iraq’s possible purchase of uranium from Niger.

Clinton Brokers Deal to Get Low Price AIDS Drugs to Africa

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- NEW YORK

Former President Bill Clinton announced Thursday that his foundation had brokered an agreement with four generic drug companies to cut the cost of certain AIDS antiretroviral drugs by about a third, and in one case, by half, for distribution in poor countries.

Under the agreement, combinations of three drugs will be provided in African and Caribbean countries where the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative is trying to establish countrywide health care, treatment and prevention programs.

The goal is to provide the drugs to up to 2 million people by 2008, Clinton said in making the announcement at a news conference at his offices in Harlem. He said his foundation would work with other organizations like the World Health Organization; President George W. Bush’s AIDS initiative; and the Global Fund.

Syria, Long a Secular State, Sees Islamic Resurgence

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- ALEPPO, SYRIA

Two decades after Syria ruthlessly uprooted militant Islam, killing an estimated 10,000 people, this most secular of Arab states is experiencing a dramatic religious resurgence.

Syrian experts on religious matters and others attribute the phenomenon -- more creeping than confrontational -- to various factors. It is part of the appeal of Islam particularly in the Arab world, as a means to protest corrupt, incompetent, oppressive governments.

The widespread sense that the faith is being singled out for attack by Washington has invigorated that appeal, at a time when the violence fomented by radicals had tarnished political Islam.

In Syria, some experts attribute the sudden openness of the phenomenon to a far more local fear. The hasty collapse of the Baath government next door in Iraq stunned Syria’s rulers, particularly the fact that most Iraqis reacted to the American onslaught as if they were bored spectators.