- - Thursday, December 2, 2010

MEXICO

U.S., China move closer on key climate issue

CANCUN | Prospects for a limited deal at the latest climate talks appeared to brighten with the U.S. and China narrowing differences on a key element: how to monitor greenhouse-gas emissions.

But other issues that go to the heart of a new global-warming treaty - long-term commitments for cutting emissions - proved stubbornly unmoving, and out of reach for any resolution during the annual two-week conference.

Nonetheless, analysts said an understanding on measuring emissions would be an important step that could help break the long-standing deadlock on reducing pollutants that scientists say have caused global temperatures to steadily rise over recent decades.

CANADA

Judge extends stay of prostitution laws

TORONTO | A Canadian judge has extended a stay of sex-trade laws as the government prepares an appeal of a court ruling that decriminalized prostitution in Canada.

Prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, but communicating for the purposes of prostitution, pimping and operating a brothel were considered criminal acts.

In September, an Ontario Superior Court judge struck down laws covering these provisions, essentially decriminalizing prostitution. The judgment was subject to a temporary stay - meaning the laws remained in effect during the appeals process.

Ontario Court of Appeal Judge Marc Rosenberg ruled Thursday the stay will be extended until April 29.

The federal government has said prostitution harms individuals, but sex-trade workers have argued prostitution-related laws are unconstitutional.

EUROPE

12 dead as heavy snow, flooding slams Europe

BERLIN | Freezing temperatures and often blinding snowfall killed 12 more people and caused travel chaos across Northern Europe on Thursday, while some of the worst floods in a century devastated parts of the Balkans.

Airports closed down or delayed flights across the Continent, roads were coated in an impassible mix of ice and snow and even Europe’s vaulted high-speed trains struggled to cope.

Authorities declared a state of emergency in three Balkan countries on Thursday - Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro - and were evacuating hundreds of people after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding along the Drina River - the worst in 104 years, officials said.

IRAN

Suspects arrested in scientist’s killing

TEHRAN | Iranian security has made a number of arrests in the case of the assassination of a prominent nuclear scientist, the country’s intelligence chief said Thursday.

Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said the arrests have given Iran’s secret services “new clues” about the people involved in the deadly attacks, which it blames on Western intelligence agencies.

According to Iranian authorities, assailants on motorcycles attached magnetized bombs to the cars of two nuclear scientists as they were driving to work in Tehran on Monday, killing one and wounding the other.

Iran says the attacks are part of a covert campaign by Israel and the West to sabotage its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies suspect is aimed at producing nuclear weapons - something Iran denies.

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