USA

Small pilotless US surveillance planes have been keeping an eye on Iran since last year, looking for evidence of nuclear weapons development that satellites cannot access, The Washington Post reported Sunday. In addition to visual reconnaissance, the drones are equipped with air filters designed to detect traces of nuclear activity, officials cited in the report said. Iran has protested the flights but has not engaged the planes in order not to tip off its air-defense capabilities, the report said.

Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and early front-runner in last year's Democratic presidential primaries, was unanimously elected the new chairman of his party's national committee Saturday. A skilled fund-raiser and organizer, the outspoken physician promised to stay on the offensive against Republicans while "living in [Republican] red states in the South and West." Dean (above) hopes to develop state and local organizations while congressional Democrats set the tone on policy.

New Yorkers got their first look Saturday at their city's largest completed artwork - a vision in orange that winds its way around 23 miles of Central Park footpaths. Conceived by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, New York artists known for wrapping entire buildings in fabric, "The Gates" uses 7,500, 16-foot frames to suspend a "river" of fabric at a cost estimated at $21 million. The exhibit runs through Feb. 27.

Presidential campaigning in Ohio last year reached a level "unprecedented in modern times," according to a newly released study by five political scientists in the state. Together, the campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry spent as much on TV ads - $100 million - as Bush spent nationwide to win the 2000 Republican nomination. The candidates also spent an additional $50 million, trying to capture Ohio's 20 Electoral College votes, which turned the election.

The presidents of three prominent universities - Stanford, MIT, and Princeton - cosigned an essay in Saturday's Boston Globe refuting the controversial remarks made about women and science by Harvard president Larry Summers last month. They disputed his suggestion that biological differences may help explain why more men than women excel in science. It's unusual for university presidents to chide a peer. Summers has apologized repeatedly for his remarks and has appointed two panels at Harvard to work on the matter.

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