New Sudan Sanctions Not Needed, Bush Says

President Bush ruled yesterday that there is no need for new sanctions against Sudan because the Sudanese government and rebels are negotiating seriously.

"Today I informed Congress, consistent with the Sudan Peace Act, that the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement are negotiating in good faith and that negotiations should continue," Bush said in a statement. "Both sides have made significant progress negotiating a just and comprehensive peace for the people of Sudan. There is still much work remaining."

Under the Sudan Peace Act, Bush could have moved to block oil revenue and loans through international financial institutions, seek a U.N. arms embargo against Sudan and downgrade diplomatic ties if he found the government was impeding peace efforts.

If he found that only the government was obstructing the talks he could also have released $100 million to the rebel SPLM. The talks, on an end to the long civil war in Sudan, have been taking place in the Kenyan town of Machakos.

Bush's move does not affect sanctions already in place. Sudan is one of seven nations designated by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism and as such is subject to U.S. sanctions including a ban on U.S. arms-related sales, controls on the export of "dual use" items that may have military uses and prohibitions on U.S. economic assistance.

Study: Morale Biggest Public School Problem

Ill-mannered pupils, demoralized teachers, uninvolved parents and bureaucracy in public schools are greater worries for Americans than the standards and accountability that occupy policymakers, a new study said.

Teachers, parents and students said they were concerned about the rough-edged atmosphere in many high schools, according to the report being released today by Public Agenda, a research and policy organization in New York.

Only 9 percent of surveyed Americans said the students they see in public are respectful toward adults. High school students were asked about the frequency of serious fights in schools, and 40 percent said they occurred once a month or more; 56 percent said they hardly ever happened; 4 percent had no opinion. Only 15 percent of teachers said teacher morale is good in their high schools.

Superintendents and principals want more autonomy over their schools, with 81 percent of superintendents and 47 percent of principals saying talented leaders most likely will leave because of politics and bureaucracy.

Teachers said their views are generally ignored by decision-makers, with 70 percent feeling left out of their district's decision-making process.

According to the report, 73 percent of employers and 81 percent of professors said public school graduates have fair or poor writing skills.

Respondents generally said schools place far too much emphasis on standardized test scores, with 60 percent of parents, 84 percent of teachers, 52 percent of employers, 57 percent of professors and 45 percent of students agreeing.

White House Resumes Limited Public Tours

With the Iraq war winding down, the Bush administration has resumed limited public tours of the White House. Starting yesterday, the White House renewed its practice of scheduling tours for school, youth, military and veterans' groups. All such tours were shut down before the start of the war. The tours must be arranged through congressional offices.

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters