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News Briefs

Syria Arming Anti-Israeli Guerrillas, Officials Say


Syria has resumed weapons transfers to anti-Israel guerrillas based in Lebanon, including a covert shipment of weapons from Iran smuggled aboard a Syrian cargo plane that had delivered earthquake relief, American and Israeli officials say.

The officials said a Syrian government plane that carried aid to Iran in late December had loaded up with small arms and possibly explosives intended for Hezbollah and Hamas, militant groups carrying out armed attacks against Israel.

“The supply flights seem to have restarted for Hezbollah and Hamas,” a State Department official said.

The Bush administration has repeatedly demanded that Syria halt the flow of weapons to the radical groups, saying that only then would Washington consider an improvement in relations. Administration officials are now preparing a report on policy toward Syria that could lead to new sanctions against Damascus under the Syria Accountability Act approved last year by Congress.

Musharraf Pardons Scientist Who Shared Nuclear Secrets


President Pervez Musharraf granted a full pardon Thursday to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, a day after Khan appeared on television and confessed to sharing nuclear technology with Iran, North Korea and Libya.

As a result, Khan, 67, will not face prison, a fine or any other sanctions.

In a news conference here, Musharraf said that Pakistan would not hand over all documents from its investigation to international nuclear monitors. He said it would not order an independent investigation into the Pakistani army’s role in the proliferation, calling the idea “rubbish.” And he said he would never allow U.N. supervision of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

The White House praised Musharraf for breaking up the network linked to Khan, which appears to have been one of the largest ever discovered, but made little mention of the pardon and declined to say whether it would insist that Pakistan sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

Courier ‘Glitch’ Sinks Berkeley’s Fulbright Chances


A missed courier pickup, an honest clerk, and an unyielding federal bureaucracy have conspired to deny 30 college students here the chance to compete for a prestigious Fulbright research grant.

“It seems surreal to me,” said Mary Ann Mason, dean of the graduate division at the University of California at Berkeley. “It is an unnecessary, foolish, tragic incident.”

The students, all enrolled in doctoral studies, got the news on Tuesday night from the university’s chancellor, Robert M. Berdahl, that their applications were disqualified because they were late. Berdahl had flown earlier to Washington in a failed bid to persuade education officials in the Bush administration to change their minds.

The department, which administers the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship Program, rejected the applications because they were not mailed by the Oct. 20, 2003 deadline, according to a letter to Berdahl from Sally L. Stroup, an assistant secretary of education.