Effort Planned Against

Roadside Bombs

The Pentagon said yesterday that it plans to expand its effort to find ways to defend against the roadside bombs used by insurgents in Iraq to kill and maim U.S. troops.

Officials are considering putting a more senior officer in charge of a task force set up last year to deal with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, often planted by insurgents on roads to attack U.S. vehicles. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, director of operations for the military's Joint Staff, said at a briefing that instead of the one-star Army general who heads the group, the Pentagon may put a three-star officer in charge.

The Pentagon said more than half of U.S. casualties in Iraq stem from IEDs, which are often buried along a roadside or hidden inside debris or even animal carcasses. House Rejects Motion

For Intelligence Probe

The House rejected a Democratic motion calling on the Republican-led chamber to investigate the Bush administration's prewar use of intelligence about Iraq and treatment of the war's prisoners.

The motion, offered by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was rejected on procedural grounds, 220 to 191. It was offered "because the Republican-led Congress hasn't led any investigation of the Bush administration's decision to go to war," Pelosi said.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats forced a two-hour closed session to demand answers from Republicans about the pace of an intelligence panel report about allegations that the administration used false information in its case for the war. Republicans agreed to bipartisan monitoring of the panel's progress on the report.

FDA Considers Allowing

Sale of Home HIV Test

A government advisory panel is considering whether to allow the use of the first HIV test a person can take entirely at home.

The possible availability of the test, which relies on a swab on the inside of the mouth, has raised concerns about the potential psychological impact on people who learn they have the virus with no doctors or counselors present.

The test, called OraQuick Advance, is made by OraSure Technology, of Bethlehem, Pa. It is available in health clinics and doctor's offices.

Briefly

* Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) filed legislation calling for a statue honoring the late civil rights leader Rosa Parks to be erected in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall. Kerry's proposal would make Parks, who died Oct. 24 at age 92, the first black woman represented in the hall.

* Lawmakers in the House frustrated with the Food and Drug Administration's slow pace introduced a bill to force the agency to decide whether the "morning-after pill" can be sold without a prescription.

* The House overwhelmingly approved a bill to block the Supreme Court-approved seizure of private property for use by developers. The bill, passed 376 to 38, would withhold federal money from state and local governments that use powers of eminent domain to force businesses and homeowners to give up their property for commercial uses.

-- From News Services