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Steeper U.S. pullout raised as option for Afghanistan BY DAVID E. SANGER, ERIC SCHMITT AND THOM SHANKER New York Times Service

forces prepared have been latent issues since Obama took office. But in recent weeks they have gained greater political potency as Obama’s newly refashioned national security team takes up the crucial decision of the size and pace of U.S. troop cuts, administration and military officials said. Obama is expected to address these decisions in a speech to the nation this month, they said. A sharp drawdown of troops is one of many options being considered by Obama. The National Security Council is convening its monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday, and although the debate over troop levels is operating on a separate track, the assessments from that meeting are likely to inform the decisions about the size of the force. In a range of interviews over the last few days, several senior Pentagon, military and administration officials said that many of these pivotal questions were still in flux and would be debated

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama’s national security team is contemplating troop reductions in Afghanistan that would be steeper than those discussed even a few weeks ago, with some officials arguing that such a change is justified by the rising cost of the war and the death of Osama bin Laden. These new “strategic considerations”, as some officials call them, along with a desire to find new ways to press the Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, to get more of his forces to take the lead, are combining to create a counterweight to an approach favored by the departing secretary of defense, Robert M. Gates, and top military commanders in the field. They want gradual cuts that would keep U.S. forces at a much higher combat strength well into next year, senior administration officials said. The cost of the war and Karzai’s uneven progress in getting his • TURN TO AFGHANISTAN, 2A

West presses Libya rebels for details on government BY JOHN F. BURNS

New York Times Service


Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, right, meets with China’s Vice President Xi Jinping during a recent visit to Beijing.

China shops for Latin American oil, food, minerals BY IAN JAMES

Associated Press

CARACAS — Latin America is blessed with a wealth of natural resources such as oil, copper and soy, and seeks investment and loans to capitalize on them. China needs the commodities to keep its economy growing and has about $3 trillion in reserves to burn. Those interests have come

together in a burgeoning and unorthodox partnership, as China lends and invests tens of billions of dollars in countries around Latin America in return for a guaranteed flow of commodities, particularly oil. Recent deals have made China a key financier to the governments of Venezuela and Argentina. At the same time, Chinese companies have secured a de-

cade’s worth of oil from Venezuela and Brazil, and steady supplies of wheat, soybeans and natural gas from Argentina. China is breaking new ground by aggressively locking down commodities around Latin America through large loans, investments and other financial arrangements, said Orville • TURN TO CHINA, 4A

Capture of antimatter opens window on the Big Bang BY THOMAS H. MAUGH

Los Angeles Times Service

normal hydrogen. Such differences might explain why normal matter dominates the universe and antimatter is virtually nonexistent. Current theories hold that matter and antimatter were created in equal quantities during the Big Bang. Antimatter could have been annihilated when it came into contact with normal matter, but if they were formed in equal quantities, there would be no universe left. Researchers hope that examining

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva trapped atoms of the elusive antimatter form of hydrogen for nearly 17 minutes, a major step toward understanding what happened to this mysterious form of matter when the universe was created 13.6 billion years ago. Physicists plan to study the antihydrogen to see how it interacts with gravity and other forces of nature, looking for slight differences between its behavior and that of • TURN TO ANTIMATTER, 2A


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TRIPOLI, Libya — As NATO airplanes and attack helicopters struck fresh targets in Tripoli and the oil port of Brega, senior British and U.S. officials said there was no way of knowing how long it might take for the rebellion against Moammar Gadhafi — already in its fourth month, and the third month of NATO airstrikes — to drive him from power. But Britain’s foreign secretary, William Hague, returning from a brief visit to the rebel headquarters in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, hinted at concern in Western capitals about what might come after the toppling of Gadhafi. Hague said he had pressed the rebel leaders to make early progress on a more detailed plan for a postGadhafi government that would include sharing power with some • TURN TO LIBYA, 2A

Swedish king in strip club scandal BY LOUISE NORDSTROM Associated Press

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Did the Swedish king visit strip clubs, and why did his friend seek a gangster’s help to snuff out the scandal? Those questions have the nation in a tizzy and are posing the monarchy its most serious challenge during Carl XVI Gustaf’s nearly four decades on the throne. The media, much less enthralled by the royal family than the public, is attacking the 65-year-old monarch with unprecedented fury. One leading newspaper has even urged the king to step down. Others suggest he should go if it turns out he was lying when he denied visiting strip clubs in the United States and Slovakia, claims first presented in a book published last year. “His reputation has of course been hurt by this and he’s had a difficult time defending himself,” said royal commentator and writer Roger Lundgren. “But this has certainly taken on proportions that are approaching the grotesque.” • TURN TO SWEDEN, 2A

Scientists work at the CERN Control Center in Geneva.

of Gadhafi’s loyalists. In particular, Hague said, the rebels should learn from Iraq’s experience and shun the kind of mass purge of former government loyalists that occurred under the U.S.-backed program of “deBaathification” there. The reference was to a policy that many analysts believe helped to propel years of insurgency in Iraq by stripping tens of thousands of officials of jobs. According to news agency reports, crowds in Benghazi’s streets greeted Hague and Britain’s overseas aid minister, Andrew Mitchell, with shouts of “Libya free!” and “Gadhafi, go away!” as they met with leaders of the rebels’ Transitional National Council, headed by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who was justice minister in Gadhafi’s government until the rebellion began in February. Back in London, Hague described



A recent poll showed about 44 percent of Swedes wanted Carl XVI Gustaf to remain as king.



INDEX NEWS EXTRA .............3A U.S. NEWS ..................5A OPINION .......................7A COMICS & PUZZLES ..6B

6/7/2011 4:26:06 AM


Edition, 07 june 2011