- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2007

IRAN

Centrifuge work behind schedule

TEHRAN — Iran said yesterday that it was installing 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at one of its nuclear facilities, effectively confirming that its nuclear program was running behind schedule. The devices were to have been in place two weeks ago.

Over the weekend, Iran dismissed reports from Europe that its uranium enrichment program had been stalled. Enriched uranium is used as fuel in nuclear reactors and, at a higher degree of enrichment, can be used to make atomic bombs.

Diplomats in Vienna, Austria, where the International Atomic Energy Agency is based, said Thursday that the enrichment program in Natanz had ground to a halt.

NEPAL

Former rebels join interim legislature

KATMANDU — Parliament was dissolved yesterday and replaced by an interim legislature including former communist rebels, a major step to co-opt the ex-guerrillas into mainstream Nepalese politics after they agreed to end their decadelong insurgency.

The former rebels are also set to join an interim government that will conduct elections later this year in an effort to establish a lasting peace in the country.

The 330-seat interim parliament formed yesterday will have 83 Maoist rebel members, making them the second largest group in the legislature.

SOMALIA

Government closes broadcast stations

MOGADISHU — Somalia’s government, with new emergency powers in hand to tame the chaotic country, ordered four major broadcast networks to shut down yesterday as the president named a team to take charge of the capital.

The government’s national security agency sent the closure order by letter to HornAfrik Media, Shabelle Media Network, the Koranic radio station IQK and the local office of Al Jazeera television.

CUBA

Castro condition reported serious

HAVANA — Cuban leader Fidel Castro is in serious condition after complications following three failed operations on his large intestine for diverticulitis, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

Mr. Castro suffered an infection that worsened to peritonitis, the newspaper said in today’s editions, citing two medical sources at the Madrid hospital where a surgeon who visited Mr. Castro in December works. The report was posted on the newspaper’s Web site.

Mr. Castro, who took power in Cuba in 1959, has not been seen in public since July 26. He handed over power to his brother five days later, fueling speculation that he is so ill he may never return to power on the communist-run Caribbean island.

THAILAND

Thaksin interview with CNN censored

BANGKOK — Thailand’s ruling generals censored an entire CNN interview yesterday with ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in which he promised to quit politics and return to civilian life.

“No, enough is enough,” Mr. Thaksin said in answer to a question about whether he planned another shot at power if he is ever allowed back to his home country.

The millionaire telecommunications tycoon who won election landslides in 2001 and 2005 has been in exile since the Sept. 19 coup.

SPAIN

Lecture canceled after women banned

MADRID — Spain’s justice minister refused to deliver a lecture at a university in Saudi Arabia yesterday after authorities banned visiting female journalists from attending, a spokeswoman and one of the reporters said.

The Spanish reporters were prevented from entering Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University despite the fact that all were wearing the traditional black abaya and veil, said one of the correspondents from SER radio, Esther Bazan.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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