Libya Scaling Back Military Trade

Libya has agreed to halt military trade with North Korea, Syria and Iran.

The move, announced yesterday by Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton, follows a decision by Tripoli to stop its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. The news was welcomed by Bolton, who said North Korea had provided Libya with its Scud missiles.

All three countries, especially North Korea, are "of very great proliferation concern" and Libya's renunciation of military relations with them is an important step forward, Bolton said.

In Tripoli, the Libyan Foreign Ministry formally announced that it "will not deal with any products or military services" with countries that it considers a source for weapons of mass destruction.

Doubts About Missile Shield

The multibillion-dollar U.S. ballistic missile shield due to start operating by Sept. 30 appears incapable of shooting down incoming warheads, an independent scientists group said.

An analysis found "no basis for believing the system will have any capability to defend against a real attack," the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a report titled "Technical Realities."

The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency rejected the report, whose authors included Philip Coyle, the Defense Department's top weapons tester under President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 2001.

The first U.S. deployment involves 10 interceptor missiles to be stored in silos in Alaska and California. The initial goal is to protect all U.S. states against a limited strike from North Korean missiles that could be tipped with nuclear, chemical or biological warheads.

EPA Mercury Plan to Be Reviewed

The Environmental Protection Agency's investigative arm will review how the agency prepared a plan to cut mercury emissions from power plants, an EPA spokesman said, after Democrats complained that utility lobbyists watered down the proposal.

Mercury contaminates water and seafood, and has been linked to neurological disorders in infants. The nation's 1,100 coal-burning power plants emit about 48 tons of mercury each year and are the largest unregulated U.S. source.

-- From News Services