Page 2 of 2   <      

WASHINGTON IN BRIEF

A State Department official declined to say which countries Rice was referring to. But he pointed out that many nations had opposed the fact that Hussein, if found guilty, faced the death penalty, which is outlawed across Europe.

House GOP Withdraws Bid to End Mining Ban

House Republicans dropped a provision in budget legislation that would have allowed the sale of public lands for mining.

Western senators had criticized the provision, which would have overturned an 11-year congressional ban that prevents companies from "patenting," or buying, public land at low prices if the land contains mineral deposits.

Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.), author of the mining provision, revised the measure Monday, but some senators threatened to use parliamentary maneuvers to block it.

Critics -- including hunters, anglers and several Democratic Western governors -- said the legislation could prompt the sale of millions of acres of public lands.

Gibbons, a mining lawyer before he was elected, said those claims were exaggerated and development would have helped boost mining towns' economies.

-- Staff writer Charles Babington and news services


<       2

© 2005 The Washington Post Company