Bush puts down speculation on Iran

Sunday, June 1, 2003

WASHINGTON -- President Bush is dismissing the idea that Iran would be the next U.S. military target as "pure speculation," even as the White House seeks to increase pressure on the Islamic nation to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and weapons proliferation.

The topic of Iran was expected to be on the agenda as Bush meets today in St. Petersburg, Russia, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moscow's lucrative contract with Tehran to help build a light water nuclear power reactor in southern Iran has been a source of U.S.-Russian friction.

The Bush administration has been openly skeptical of Iran's claims that it wants atomic power plants to generate electricity. Washington is concerned Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapons program and fears Russia's cooperation on the plant may help.

Suspicious divers near power plant probed

SOMERSET, Mass. -- Authorities are investigating a sighting of three scuba divers near a Massachusetts power plant early Saturday.

An employee of NRG Electric Generating Plant told police he spotted the three scuba divers shortly after midnight on a beach next to the plant in southeast Massachusetts. When he called to them, the three fled, leaving behind their scuba gear, said state police spokesman Tom Ryan.

Ryan said authorities suspected the divers were involved in illegal drug activity that may be related to a coal ship docked near the plant.

Bomb disposal units from state police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation responded, but no explosives were found, Somerset police said.

Group proposes cash for organ donations

PITTSBURGH -- A group wants Congress to test whether cash incentives would encourage more families to donate the organs of relatives following their deaths.

The Pittsburgh-based group wants a 1984 law prohibiting financial incentives for organ donations to be rewritten to allow a project that would award $5,000 to families who authorize a deceased relative's organs to be used for transplantation. The coalition sent a letter Wednesday to 40 senators and members of Congress.

The idea for cash incentives comes at a time when leaders in the field of organ procurement are pushing for changes to reverse a trend that has seen donations remain flat in recent years.

The United Network for Organ Sharing says more than 6,000 people died last year waiting for organs. More than 80,000 people are currently awaiting transplants.

Harvard gets rights to state turnpike

BOSTON -- A $75 million land sale to Harvard gives the prestigious university unusual new power -- the potential to literally move the Massachusetts Turnpike, a state official complained.

Documents filed on the completion of the 91-acre land deal show the property includes a toll plaza, an estimated 3,000-foot section of the turnpike and several ramps, The Boston Globe reported Saturday.

"Frankly, I think this is ridiculous," Secretary of State William Galvin said.

"Harvard University now owns the land on which the turnpike sits. Who has ever heard of selling an interstate for the benefit of a university?"

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority retains a permanent easement for the road and toll plaza, but only in their existing locations. If it ever wants to shift or add lanes or expand tolls, it will need Harvard's OK.

-- From wire reports

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