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World Scene

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2007

IRAN

Russia seeks details of secret nuclear past

VIENNA — Moscow has warned Iran that it will not deliver fuel to a nearly completed Russian-built nuclear reactor unless Tehran lifts the veil of secrecy on suspicious past atomic activities, a European diplomat said yesterday.

Separately, a U.S. official told the Associated Press that the Russians are not meeting other commitments that would allow the Iranians to activate the Bushehr nuclear reactor, and suggested the delays were an attempt to pressure Tehran into showing more compliance with U.N. Security Council demands.

Iran kept secret for nearly two decades an effort to enrich uranium.

JAPAN

Abe seen naming Aso to key party post

TOKYO — Beleaguered Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to appoint Foreign Minister Taro Aso as secretary general of his ruling party in an upcoming Cabinet reshuffle, a report today said.

Mr. Abe seems to be trying to make the foreign minister, who is relatively popular among voters, the "frontman" of the Liberal Democratic Party ahead of the next lower house election, the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported, without revealing its sources.

Mr. Abe's move was also seen as showing his willingness to support Mr. Aso as the leading candidate to succeed him as prime minister, the newspaper said.

INDIA

Communists reject U.S. nuclear deal

NEW DELHI — Indian communist parties, which shore up the government, rejected a landmark nuclear pact between New Delhi and Washington yesterday, saying it compromised India's sovereignty and imposed U.S. influence.

In views that almost mirrored those of the right-wing Hindu nationalist opposition, the four main leftist parties called upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's coalition not to pursue the deal, details of which were disclosed last week.

But the parties, whose support is key to the survival of the coalition, stopped short of spelling out their strategy if the government pressed ahead, as it is not required by law to seek parliamentary approval.

GERMANY

Doctor removes pencil from brain

BERLIN — A woman who had a pencil lodged in her head for 55 years after a childhood accident has finally had most of it removed, which should end her chronic headaches and nosebleeds, her doctor said yesterday.

Margaret Wegner was 4 when she fell while carrying the 3.15-inch pencil, which went through her cheek and into her brain.

At the time, technology did not exist to safely remove the pencil, so Mrs. Wegner had to live with it — and the ensuing chronic headaches and nosebleeds — for the next five decades.

But on Friday, Dr. Hans Behrbohm, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Berlin's Park-Klinik Weissensee, was able to identify the exact location of the pencil so he could determine the risks of removing it, and then took most of it out.

PAKISTAN

Medics beaten over polio shots

KHAR — Armed men abducted and beat 11 health workers sent to a Pakistani tribal area to administer polio vaccinations to children yesterday, forcing the suspension of the campaign, officials said.

Tribesmen in Bajaur tribal district bordering Afghanistan refused to allow the vaccinations to take place after hearing rumors that the drive was a "U.S. plot" to sterilize Muslim children, residents said.

The polio is also present in India, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

GEORGIA

Russia accused of air attack

TBILISI — Georgia accused Russia of "undisguised aggression" yesterday, saying two Russian warplanes intruded on its airspace and fired a missile that landed near a house. Russia denied the charge — the latest dispute between Moscow and the former Soviet republic.

The Interior Ministry said two Russian Su-24s illegally entered Georgia's airspace Monday night over the Gori region, about 35 miles northwest of the capital, and fired a missile that landed 25 yards from a house on the edge of the village of Shavshvebi.

The missile did not explode, Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports