The Week in Review…

CIA leak prosecutor asked about any Cheney role

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal prosecutor questioned New York Times reporter Judith Miller about whether Vice President Dick Cheney himself was aware or authorized her discussions with his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, about a covert CIA operative, Miller said on Saturday. Miller also disclosed for the first time that the notebook she used for an interview with Libby in July 2003 contained the name “Valerie Flame,” a clear reference to Valerie Plame, the covert operative whose outing triggered a sweeping criminal investigation that has shaken the Bush administration.

Snow to seek more open China markets

XIANGHE, China (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow on Sunday opened talks with Chinese officials to try to win more American access to China’s booming economy and to take pressure off the hot-button issue of currency reform. Snow, in China on a week-long visit, is participating in sessions of the U.S.-China Joint Economic Commission (JEC) that began shortly after the midday close of a Group of 20 gathering of rich and emerging-nation countries near Beijing.

US warns Iran over Iraq bomb attacks, Rice says

LONDON (Reuters) – The United States has issued a stern warning to Iran over the Islamic republic’s possible involvement in helping insurgent bomb attacks in Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday. Washington has backed accusations from its closest ally Britain that there is evidence insurgents laying roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs), in southern Iraq might be using sophisticated technology linked to neighboring Iran.

Rice, UK’s Straw to do diplomatic duet in US South

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will host Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in the United States for a three-day, stage-managed tour with political overtones. Rice announced next week’s trip as she flew into London on Saturday for heavyweight talks with Straw on bolstering international support for their hard line against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Facing revolt, White House touts Miers experience

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Struggling to quell a conservative rebellion, the White House said on Friday Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers had long experience dealing with constitutional issues while serving as White House counsel. On another front in the battle to get Miers confirmed by the U.S. Senate, three former justices of the Texas Supreme Court in Miers’ home state endorsed her in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee and cited her wide legal expertise.

Bush names deputy to Bolton at UN

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush on Friday nominated Alejandro Daniel Wolff to serve as deputy to U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, a post that puts him second in command of the more than 100 staff at the U.S. mission to the United Nations. Wolff is a foreign service officer who has been deputy chief of mission in the U.S. Embassy in Paris for the past four years. Before that, he was an executive assistant to former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell.

Nixon’s son-in-law Cox leaves NY Senate race

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon dropped out of the U.S. Senate race in New York on Friday, leaving a local prosecutor as the likely Republican challenger to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton next year. Edward Cox announced he was quitting hours after New York Republican Gov. George Pataki endorsed his rival, suburban Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, for the Republican nomination.

Bush, Martin share “frank” words on softwood

OTTAWA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin bluntly rejected a call by U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday to negotiate an end to a softwood lumber dispute between the two countries. The leaders talked for nearly 20 minutes in an unusually “frank” phone conversation, primarily about softwood. Bush urged a return to negotiations but Martin said this made little sense in light of a trade panel ruling in Canada’s favor.

Bush asked to explain why he won’t release heatoil

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts asked the Bush administration on Friday to explain why it will not tap the government’s emergency heating oil stockpile, even though federal law allowed it do so this week after heating fuel prices reached high levels. For the first time ever, the U.S. Northeast experienced sustained high heating oil costs long enough to hit the price trigger that gives President George W. Bush the option to release supplies from the 2-million-barrel heating oil reserve. The White House declined to use the reserve for the moment.

US-China textile deal still possible: Portman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States still hopes it can reach an agreement that would regulate booming clothing and textile imports from China but is disappointed that Beijing rejected a “very generous proposal” this week, the chief U.S. negotiator said on Friday. U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman said the remaining differences, “with one exception which I’m not going to tell you about because we’re still negotiating it,” are not significant.

© 2005 Reuters