Pakistan on nuclear-arms path
Pakistan tried three times this year to buy from a New Jersey company high-temperature furnaces useful for making nuclear weapons, a U.S. congressional source said. This source confirmed an account in today's Washington Post, which said it had obtained documents of an unspecified nature given to administration officials and congressional investigators describing Pakistan's attempt to buy the furnaces from Consarc Corp. of Rancocas, N.J.
A Consarc salesman was quoted as saying in one document that the material to be processed "appears to be zirconium." Zirconium is used to clad uranium fuel in nuclear reactors. Fuel for power reactors comes from suppliers already clad. Irradiated with neutrons in the reactor, the uranium would be transformed into plutonium, from which nuclear weapons may be made more easily than with uranium. Congress has required that the Bush administration certify that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear weapon before Pakistan may receive U.S. aid.
Soviets O.K. nuclear pacts
The Soviet Parliament today ratified two U.S.-Soviet treaties from the 1970s that place tight limits on underground nuclear weapons testing by the superpowers. The lawmakers voted 347-0, with nine abstentions, to approve the treaties and to appeal to world "parliaments and social organizations" to seek a global ban on nuclear testing. The treaties, ratified last month by the U.S. Senate, focus on verification methods for arms control agreements, and allow each country to maintain intrusive, on-site monitoring equipment at three sites on each other's soil.
* Four more senior KGB officers have leveled public charges of corruption and favoritism in the intelligence service, according to the independent Interfax news service. The allegations come as the national parliament is considering legislation to ban all police, military and KGB employees from membership and involvement with the Communist Party.
China airline shake-up
China's national airline said yesterday it was shaking up airline and airport management following a hijacking and crash of a Boeing 737 a week ago that killed 128 people. In the first disclosure of the details of the hijacking, officials said a lone hijacker who claimed to have explosives attacked the pilot as he was making an emergency landing in Canton. They said the pilot did not have enough fuel to fly to Taiwan, where the hijacker wanted to go, or Hong Kong. For the first time since the Oct. 2 crash, the Civil Aviation Administration of China expressed regret for the worst reported air disaster in Chinese history.
A woman accused of counter-espionage for the former East German government had access to top-level intelligence reports and could represent the most serious infiltration by a foreign agent, a magazine in Hamburg, Germany, reported yesterday. The magazine identified the woman only as "Gabriele G.," 47, and said she had worked since 1973 in the former West German intelligence service's headquarters. They included weekly intelligence summaries for Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The woman was arrested Sept. 30 following a tip from the former East German secret police. Stern said the woman apparently began working for the East German secret police in 1968. The investigation against the suspect is continuing, and that it is still not clear what level of charges would be filed.
The attorney general in Mexico announced yesterday that police had seized more than six tons of Colombian cocaine base, the largest such confiscation in Mexican history. Colombia's notorious Medellin cocaine cartel reportedly was trying to smuggle the drug through southern Mexico into the United States. Federal anti-narcotics police fanned out at midnight Friday around a ranch 50 miles northwest of the Guatemalan border and advanced on foot through the swampy surroundings. The drug traffickers spotted the police and in a 90-minute gunbattle one police officer was injured.
For the record
A strong earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale shook the southeastern Iranian city of Kerman early yesterday, official Tehran Radio reported. No deaths or serious damage was reported. .T.T. Air Canada will lay off 2,900 of its 23,000 employees and cut routes to Europe and the Far East because of rising fuel costs and the recession, the airline announced yesterday.
45 meet fiery death
45 members of a leftist band that advocates the rights of the underprivileged doused a moving train car with gasoline and set it on fire in India, killing more than 45 people, news reports said today. A survivor said he and other terrified passengers stampeded for the train's exits as the fire swept through the car last night.