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World Briefs

IRAN

Iran to increase output of nuclear fuel

TEHRAN | An Iranian lawmaker dealing with foreign policy said Sunday that Iran will increase its production of nuclear fuel despite a proposed resumption of talks with major powers over its disputed uranium enrichment program.

Iran probably will try to blunt international pressure on it to curb enrichment once it resumes talks with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. Agreements on the venue and agenda have not been reached.

"Iran will increase the production of nuclear fuel to secure its needs," Esmail Kowsari, a member of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency. No details were given.

ISRAEL

Abbas vows no talks without building freeze

JERUSALEM | Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Sunday that he would not accept a U.S. proposal for resuming peace talks unless Israel stops building homes in disputed East Jerusalem.

Mr. Abbas' position complicated already troubled American efforts to restart peace talks. Israeli hard-liners say they won't accept the proposed 90-day moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank if it includes East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians say there can't be peace talks if Israel continues to build homes in captured territories where they want to establish an independent state. In Cairo on Sunday, Mr. Abbas said any construction freeze must include East Jerusalem "first and foremost."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he would bring the issue of a renewed slowdown before his Cabinet only after the U.S. lays out the details in writing.

PAKISTAN

Suspected U.S. missiles kill 6 in NW Pakistan

MIR ALI | Four suspected U.S. missiles slammed into a house in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, killing six people in an area near the Afghan border teeming with local and foreign militants, intelligence officials said.

The strike, carried out by at least one unmanned aircraft, was part of the Obama administration's intensified campaign to use drones to target militants who regularly stage cross-border attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan.

The house destroyed in the strike was located in Khaddi village in North Waziristan.

VENEZUELA

Chavez sees smear bid in drug suspect case

CARACAS | President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that U.S. officials hope to use a purported cocaine kingpin to smear his government with corruption accusations and thanked Colombia's leader for rejecting Washington's extradition request.

Mr. Chavez said the decision of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to send Walid Makled to Venezuela instead showed improving ties between neighbors that have had frequent feuds.

"Washington wants to use him so he vomits all kinds of accusations against the Bolivarian Revolution, against its political and military leadership," Mr. Chavez wrote in a newspaper column.

NEW ZEALAND

Toxic gases hinder mine rescue effort

GREYMOUTH | The explosion that left 29 miners missing in New Zealand was a series of bangs that pelted debris and made it a struggle to breathe, said a coal cutter who lost consciousness but eventually walked out of the tunnel with minor injuries.

Toxic gases after Friday's explosion still prevented rescuers from entering the mine Sunday, and evidence of heat underground was concerning officials, who feared another blast.

Fresh air was being pumped down an open line, but gas levels were still fluctuating so much late Sunday that waiting rescue teams were forbidden to enter the mine near Atarau on South Island.

ITALY

Berlusconi minister to quit after votes

ROME | One of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's best-known ministers said Sunday that she would resign after confidence votes next month that could trigger elections.

Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna told Il Mattino newspaper that she would back the government in the Dec. 14 votes but resign the next day from the Cabinet and from Mr. Berlusconi's party.

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