U.S., EU Differ on Timing

Of Mideast Peace Proposal

The United States yesterday proposed putting off a Middle East peace plan until after Israelis vote in January, while the European Union said Israelis should see the plan before they cast their ballots.

The disagreement came to the surface after talks in Washington between Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and European Union leaders visiting Washington for semiannual consultations on the state of the world.

The U.S. proposal meets an Israeli request that Washington go slow on the peace plan, known as the "road map," while the European Union and Arab governments have urged the United States to push the plan through regardless of the Israeli elections, which are scheduled for Jan. 28.

The dispute diminished hopes for the outcome of a meeting in Washington on Friday of the Quartet -- an informal group of Middle East mediators dominated by the United States and the European Union. Russia and the United Nations also attend.

News Outlets Sue to Obtain

Campaign Finance Papers

Eleven news organizations intervened this week in the lawsuit over the new campaign finance reform law, asking a federal court to unseal all documents in the case.

The newspapers and broadcast organizations filed the 11-page motion to a special panel of three federal judges in U.S. District Court in Washington on Tuesday. "It is difficult to imagine a case where the public's right to know the arguments being advanced and the evidence presented to the court could be more compelling than in a case governing regulation of the election process," wrote Bret A. Campbell and David A. Schulz, the attorneys filing the suit.

The panel of judges hearing the case had earlier allowed each side to declare confidential documents and material that they thought might be sensitive. Much of that has since been released, but some documents remain under seal.

The media groups said in their filing that key information about campaign financing and at least the appearance of corruption might be present in the sealed material.

The organizations filing the suit are the Associated Press, ABC Inc., the Baltimore Sun Co., Daily News L.P., Dow Jones and Co., Los Angeles Times Communications L.L.C., National Broadcasting Company Inc., Newsday Inc., The New York Times Co., U.S. News and World Report and The Washington Post Co.

Dietary Supplement Industry

Cautioned Against Fraud

The Food and Drug Administration warned the $17 billion dietary supplement industry that it is now cracking down on companies that make fraudulent health claims about their pills, powders and poultices.

At the FDA's request, U.S. marshals this week seized $100,000 of a supplement called EverCLR that was sold illegally as a treatment for herpes and other viruses. Federal law prohibits dietary supplements from being sold as disease treatments, and the FDA spent two years trying to persuade EverCLR's maker to stop its marketing voluntarily.

-- Compiled from reports by staff writer Neely Tucker, the Associated Press and Reuters