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U.N. Panel Puts Off Vote On Measures to Restrict Cloning

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- UNITED NATIONS

The United Nations voted on Thursday to postpone for two years any further consideration of a ban on human cloning, an issue that has sharply divided member states.

The General Assembly’s legal committee, which comprises all the member states, voted 80-79, in favor of a deferral motion introduced by Iran on behalf of a bloc of Islamic countries; 15 countries abstained.

The result suspended a debate here over two competing cloning resolutions that have challenged the world body to define the legal boundaries of the life sciences.

One resolution, backed by a group that includes the United States, called for a measure banning all forms of human cloning. The second, supported by a smaller camp led by Belgium, called for a more limited ban that would prohibit the creation of cloned embryos to produce other human beings but would permit the use of such embryos for medical experiments.

The vote on Thursday was seen by many as a defeat for the United States, which had lobbied heavily in recent days both in favor of the total ban and against the Islamic nations’ motion for a postponement.

In Houston, School Crime Often Goes Unreported to State

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- HOUSTON

It was one of the most unforgettable of schoolhouse crimes: A disabled 17-year-old student was shoved into a boys’ bathroom in her wheelchair by a classmate at Yates High School here, dragged to the floor and raped. Her attacker was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Yet the Houston Independent School District did not include that rape, committed two years ago, when it came time to report the school year’s campus crimes to the state as required by Texas law. And that is not the only school crime that appears to have been airbrushed from the official record.

On Oct. 3, 2000, a boy named Joseph Hamilton was “stomped and beaten” in Williams Middle School, according to a school district memorandum, but the assault went unreported to Texas authorities. Last April, a 16-year-old boy was stabbed in the chest by another student at Washington High; that crime was not reported, either.

In the last four school years, the Houston district’s own police, who patrol its 80 middle and high schools, have entered 3,091 assaults into a database shared with the Houston city police but not with the Texas Education Agency in Austin. In the same period, the Houston district itself has listed just 761 schoolhouse assaults on its annual disciplinary summaries sent to Austin.

Clark Calls for Broader International Involvement in Iraq

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- ORANGEBURG, S.C.

Gen. Wesley K. Clark said Thursday that military operations in Iraq should be turned over to a NATO force under U.S. command and that he would replace the civilian administration there with an international effort not under U.S. leadership.

Clark, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, made the proposals to build international involvement and stabilize Iraq in an address at the campus of South Carolina State University. It was the fourth in a series of speeches laying out his platform for the presidency, based on what he calls a “new American patriotism.” He also said he would conduct a summit meeting with leaders from Europe, Japan, the Arab world and other U.N. countries to enlist their support for a more international approach to Iraq.