Detention Center

Needed, Rumsfeld Says

Suggesting that the Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terrorists will operate for years, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that such a detention center will be needed until the war on terrorism is over.

"As long as there remains a need to keep terrorists from striking again, a facility will continue to be needed," he said.

At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld offered a defense of U.S. handling of the approximately 520 detainees at the facility, saying its operations have been more open to scrutiny than any military detention facility in history. He said valuable information has been extracted from the detainees, most of whom are threats to U.S. security.

Last week, President Bush left open the possibility that the Guantanamo Bay facility might be closed.

Senators Criticize

N. Korea Strategy

Bush administration efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament in North Korea are not working and should be reconsidered, Senate Foreign Relations Committee members said yesterday.

"The administration policy has been a failure," said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), the ranking Democrat.

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), said: "Obviously, we've not seen progress here. Something is not working."

Responding to the criticisms at a committee hearing, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said the administration believes that the six-party disarmament negotiation "is the way to go."

Because of a North Korean boycott, there have been no negotiations for the past year. But North Korea, in meetings with U.S. diplomats on June 3, said it was willing to resume the discussions.

Four U.S. Groups Join

Emissions Lawsuit

Four U.S. public health groups said they joined a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency filed by attorneys general from 13 states challenging a new rule limiting mercury emissions from power plants.

The groups are seeking to overturn a regulation they say fails to protect infants and children from the harmful effect of such emissions. The rule, adopted by the EPA in March, delays "significant reductions in mercury pollution from power plants by at least 10 to 15 years," the groups said.

The groups include Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. They said the motion would be filed in U.S. Circuit Court here.

Astronaut Testifies

From Space Station

The star witness before the House subcommittee on space and aeronautics was just getting warmed up yesterday when one question made him float to the ceiling.

U.S. astronaut John Phillips, testifying live on video from the international space station, slowly turned heels-over-head, showing his sock-clad feet to the assembled lawmakers when Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) asked, "Are your feet strapped down so you're not floating?"

"Yes, sir, we're not strapped down," Phillips said, though he appeared to be standing at attention in the station's Destiny laboratory module, in near-zero gravity. "But I've got my stocking-clad feet stuck under a railing on the floor because if I didn't do that I'd kind of just float around."

Phillips then freed his feet and drifted up to the ceiling of the station.

Phillips's testimony was the first from the space station to a House hearing and aimed to give lawmakers an idea of what life is like aboard the half-built space station.

-- From News Services