Kennedy Questions

Alito on Vanguard Case

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) asked Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. yesterday to provide a fuller explanation of why he failed to step aside in a 2002 case involving the Vanguard investment company after telling the Senate he would not rule on Vanguard matters.

Kennedy, a Judiciary Committee member, said in a letter to Alito that the nominee's previous comments to the panel "have left the Vanguard case recusal issue even more problematic than when the issue was first raised." When the Senate confirmed Alito in 1990 as an appellate court judge, he told the committee he would avoid ruling in Vanguard matters because he had investments with the firm.

Kennedy said Alito had offered six explanations.

Broader U.S. Role

In Climate Talks Urged

A bipartisan group of 24 senators urged the administration yesterday to play a more active role in the ongoing international climate talks in Montreal.

Bush's top climate officials are resisting joining negotiations over how countries should combat global warming once the Kyoto Protocol -- the international pact that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent between 2008 and 2012 -- expires. The administration contends that the international agreement's limits on carbon dioxide emissions would hurt the U.S. economy.

The 20 Democrats and four Republicans said they wanted to "remind the administration of its continuing legal obligation to participate in the [climate] negotiations in a constructive way that will aid in meeting the agreed-upon goal of 'preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.' "

White House spokeswoman Michele St. Martin said: "We are committed to making progress towards our shared objectives on climate change through the [U.N.] and we are currently implementing our climate change strategy" based on the power of markets and scientific research.

Stem Cell Study Flawed,

Korean Scientist Says

A Korean stem cell scientist, embroiled in controversy since last month's revelation that some of the human eggs he used were purchased from female workers in his lab in violation of ethical standards, has alerted the scientific journal that published his work that his report contained scientific errors.

Donald Kennedy, editor in chief of the journal, Science, said yesterday that the researcher, Woo Suk Hwang of Seoul National University, has notified the journal of problems in the report, published earlier this year. The report detailed landmark studies in which human embryonic stem cells customized for patients were created from cloned human embryos. It is too soon to know whether the errors were in the original submission or crept in during the editing process, Kennedy said.

"There is no reason to believe at the moment that it is a problem that affects the scientific outcome of the paper," Kennedy said.

-- From staff writers Charles

Babington, Juliet Eilperin

and Rick Weiss