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Powell To Press Pakistan For More Nuclear Disclosures

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- NEW DELHI

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, opening a visit to South Asia, said Monday that he would press President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan to do more to track down Taliban remnants on the Afghanistan border and to tell the United States more about his military’s involvement in past nuclear proliferation activities.

Powell has had many discussions in recent months with Musharraf on the activities of A.Q. Khan, father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, who has admitted to supplying uranium enrichment equipment to Iran and other nations. Powell said there was still more to learn about the extent to which the Pakistan military had helped Khan in these activities.

Powell did not address details, but administration officials have said they learned that the military may have been more extensively involved than previously thought in the transfer of nuclear arms materials to North Korea, Iran and Libya.

“Certainly I will be interested to see whether there is any involvement of past officials or any official involvement in any of this over the years,” Powell said. “I think this is something that the government of Pakistan should look into and I think is looking into.”

Sharon Cancels Session With Palestinians After Bombings

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- JERUSALEM

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Monday ruled out political negotiations with the Palestinians for the present, saying that their leaders had repeatedly failed to halt attacks like a double suicide bombing a day earlier.

In a speech to Parliament, Sharon said that the bombings on Sunday in the southern port of Ashdod, which killed ten people, reinforce “the understanding that there is no Palestinian leader with the courage, the ability, to struggle against terrorism.”

Sharon was called before Parliament by opposition lawmakers seeking specifics on his plans for unilateral Israeli action that could involve withdrawing soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.

He gave no new details, but said he was continuing to pursue his “disengagement plan” because he saw no prospect of negotiations with the Palestinians under the current Mideast peace initiative. The effort began last June but stalled shortly afterward.

EPA May Tighten Mercury Emissions Proposal

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Under pressure from environmental groups and state officials, the Bush administration says it may tighten its proposed rules limiting mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants.

Administration officials have become uncomfortable with analyses indicating that if the proposal is adopted, the Environmental Protection Agency could miss its own 2018 deadline for reducing those emissions by 70 percent.

Michael O. Leavitt, who took the helm of the environmental agency weeks before the proposed regulations were announced, was largely uninvolved in their initial development. But in the last several weeks, EPA employees say, he has immersed himself in briefings about the rules, which have provoked criticism from scientists, state officials and environmental advocates.

“I’ve spent hours in briefings,” Leavitt said in a Monday interview. “I’ve been crawling through the blueprints of power plants. I’ve been meeting with people on technology.”