Chirac Ends Nuke Tests

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PARIS: French President Jacques Chirac, who has been severely criticized for months for conducting a series of nuclear tests, said that France has ended the tests, which had been scheduled to continue through March. "The reality is that the French got all the information they needed from the detonations," reports TIME's Bruce Crumley from Paris. "The political damage from the tests was minimal, primarily because the U.S. and Britain didn't condemn the tests very strongly when they were originally announced. The big question is how other countries who are developing nuclear weapons will react to the fact that France broke the nuclear moratorium. If Pakistan or India decide to test their weapons, those countries can point to France as providing the precedent." France provoked global outrage when it announced in September that it would detonate eight nuclear bombs in the South Pacific in order to develop computer simulations of nuclear blasts. The last, and by far the largest, explosion occurred Saturday.