Powell to Travel

To Israel, West Bank

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell will travel to Israel and the West Bank to try to accelerate peacemaking prospects, the State Department announced yesterday.

Also on his agenda is a search for ways to revitalize the Palestinian economy, department spokesman Richard Boucher said in announcing that Powell will hold talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials Sunday and Monday.

The discussions will center on "how we can move forward to peace," Boucher said. Powell will travel to Israel from Santiago, Chile, where he will accompany President Bush at a meeting of leaders of Pacific nations. From Israel and the West Bank, he plans to go to Egypt for a conference on Iraq's reconstruction and will continue his Middle East talks there.

He is trying to help smooth the way to violence-free Palestinian elections in January to choose a successor to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died last week, and to enlist Israel's help in facilitating the elections.

Airports May Apply

To Change Security

The Transportation Security Administration said it will begin accepting applications this week from airports interested in replacing federal security screeners with private ones.

The federal government took over airport checkpoints after the terrorist attacks in 2001, but Congress allowed private contractors to return to the airport security business after two years. Although many airports have expressed interest, aviation industry leaders and TSA officials expect no more than two dozen airports to immediately volunteer to make the change. The transition is expected to take place in spring or summer 2005.

For the Record

* Daniel E. Troy, the Food and Drug Administration's chief counsel, criticized by a congressman in July for intervening on the side of drugmakers in legal cases, will resign effective Nov. 24, the agency said. Troy, who was named to the post in 2001, planned to stay with the agency just a few years, acting FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford said in an interview after speaking at a Senate hearing on flu vaccine.

-- From staff writer Sara Kehaulani Goo and News Services

Daniel E. Troy