USA

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's talks with President Bush Tuesday reportedly made little progress in bridging their differences on how to foster Middle East peace, and what, if any, role Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat should play. "There is no way to move forward on a political process with a terrorist, corrupt ... entity," Sharon said. The Israeli leader blames Arafat for the ongoing violence. And while Bush reaffirmed support for an eventual Palestinian state, Sharon called that idea "premature." Bush was to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II yesterday. (Related story, page 6; opinion, page 9.)

Luke John Helder, a University of Wisconsin-Stout student accused of planting 18 pipe bombs in mailboxes in six Western states, was due to appear before a federal magistrate in Reno, Nev., as the Monitor went to press. Helder (above, in black T-shirt) was arrested Tuesday following a high-speed chase in the state. Federal weapons and firearms charges filed against him in Iowa carry a possible life sentence, and more are expected in other states. Six people were injured in what the FBI termed a domestic-terrorism campaign. (Story, page 2.)

California officials stepped up calls for a criminal investigation into Enron's alleged role in the state's 2000-2001 power crisis. Gov. Gray Davis (D) joined the state's two US senators, also Democrats, in urging Attorney General Ashcroft to look into revelations that the since-bankrupt energy trader may have manipulated the market to increase congestion, and profits. The strategies are outlined in a 2000 memo by Enron lawyers that was turned over to federal regulators Monday by the firm's new management.

The Senate appeared set to approve a farm bill that would boost spending by $82.8 billion over the next decade, according to a revised estimate by the Congressional Budget Office. Once approved, the measure goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it. It increases subsidies to grain and cotton farmers, creates some for milk, peanut, lentil, and chickpea producers, and boosts spending for land conservation by 80 percent.

A Seattle-bound passenger jet was diverted to Greenland after bomb threats naming Scandinavian Airlines System Flight 937 were found at the Seattle-Tacoma airport and in a nearby fast-food outlet. The 200-odd passengers and crew were sent to a hotel, and the airport was closed, pending an explosives check. The flight originated in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In a significant shift in policy on sexual-assault complaints, Harvard University announced it will require witnesses, physical evidence, and other proof before launching investigations. The new rule takes effect this fall at the Cambridge, Mass.-based institution. Currently at Harvard and many other schools, complaints automatically trigger a closed-door review that critics say can violate the due-process rights of those accused.

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