Summaries of and links to online news reports and commentaries.

Israeli charged over Iran chemical arms links
An Israeli businessman was accused in a Tel Aviv court Monday of
selling Iran equipment for making poison gas, the Justice Ministry
said. Nahum Manbar, who has lived in France since 1985, was arrested
in March when he came to Israel for a visit. Portions of the released
indictment said that from 1990 to 1995 Manbar, 51, supplied Iran with
material for the production of mustard and nerve gas. Charges said the
businessman met several times with Magid Abasfur, identified as head
of "the Iranian chemical warfare project." 

Red Cross talks fail to agree on food aid for North Korea
Negotiators from the Red Cross organizations of rival North and South
Korea failed to reach agreement Monday on shipments of grain aid to
the hungry and isolated North, officials said. However, Lee
Byung-woong, secretary general of the South Korean Red Cross, said the
talks would resume in the near future through a direct telephone line
between the two Koreas. The talks had stalled over the exact amount
and method of delivery for South Korea grain to the North, Lee said.

North Korea says ball in South Korea's court on food aid talks
SEOUL (May 6, 1997 06:25 a.m. EDT) -
North Korea on Tuesday blamed the South for
failure to reach a final agreement on food aid at 
an inter-Korean Red Cross meeting in Beijing, 
but said it was ready for another meeting "anytime."

U.N. chief opens conference on chemical weapons ban
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (May 6, 1997 06:43 a.m. EDT) --
Countries who signed the  new chemical arms treaty now in 
effect began the painstaking task Tuesday of hammering
out ways to enforce the ban on killer poisons.

Missile Defense: The Sequel
By Lisbeth Gronlund and David Wright 
Technology Review - May 1997
After abandoning much of the Reagan-era effort to 
shield the country from long-range nuclear attack, 
the U.S. is again pursuing a high-tech system of
national defense as well as plans for protecting
troops abroad. But no hostile countries actually 
have the missiles most such efforts are designed 
to stop. What's more, many of these costly 
efforts would violate a treaty that has worked
for 25 years and would, paradoxically, prevent 
further cuts in nuclear weapons.