Rice Says Program

Helped Cut Off Weapons

The Bush administration claimed success yesterday for its program designed to intercept weapons technology, saying it helped end Libya's weapons program.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Proliferation Security Initiative, an operation conducted jointly with dozens of other countries, provided the "framework" for intercepting centrifuge components bound for Libya and led to Moammar Gadhafi's 2003 decision to dismantle his programs.

The program has had 11 successful efforts, including the interception of missile and nuclear technology headed for Iran, Rice said at a State Department ceremony marking the program's second anniversary. She provided no additional details, but State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said two deliveries of equipment to North Korea and a second to Iran were intercepted.

President Bush, in a statement released by the White House press office, said many partners of the United States are developing new tools to improve their capacities to interdict weapons of mass destruction.

"We are working in common cause with like-minded states prepared to make maximum use of their laws and capabilities to deny rogue states, terrorists and black marketeers access" to weapons equipment, Bush's statement said.

Bush Meets Leader of

Venezuelan Opposition

President Bush met a prominent opponent of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the White House in a show of support that could anger the firebrand leader of a major U.S. oil supplier.

Maria Corina Machado, a founder of Sumate, a citizens' rights organization, helped promote an August referendum against Chavez and still faces a possible jail term of up to 16 years along with her colleague Alejandro Plaz.

Called a "traitor" by Chavez, she was accused by a Venezuelan state prosecutor last year of conspiracy after her organization received a grant from the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy. Her trial is pending.

Bush "is very worried about the information regarding the violations on the part of Venezuelan government to the democratic principles and to the Venezuelan constitution," Machado told reporters at the White House.

Chavez has accused the National Endowment for Democracy of spearheading U.S. government attempts to topple him, a charge Washington has strongly denied.

Rep. Shaw Chooses Drug

Over Cancer Surgery

Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr. (R-Fla.) canceled surgery and is trying a prescription drug to attack a cancerous tumor in his left lung.

"Since the tumor on my lung is a nonaggressive form of cancer, and it was caught in the earliest stages, I have decided to have it treated with a prescription medication called Tarceva, as an alternative to the surgery I planned to have on Tuesday," Shaw said in a statement.

Shaw, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, decided to try the drug instead of surgery partly so he can focus on a heavy legislative workload, said spokeswoman Gail Gitcho. If the drug fails, he could have surgery during the August recess , she said.

-- From News Services