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U.N.: Scorching heat will become routine

CANCUN | The brutal heat waves that killed thousands of Europeans in 2003 and that choked Russia earlier this year will seem like average summers in the future as the Earth continues to warm, the U.N. weather agency said Tuesday.

The last decade confirmed scientific predictions of 20 years ago that temperatures will rise and storms will become more fierce - and those trends are likely to continue, said Ghassam Asrar, who heads the climate research center at the World Meteorological Organization.

The WMO was due on Wednesday to release details on the last decade’s global temperatures, but Mr. Asrar said it was the warmest on record.

Scientists say the warming trend is caused mainly by industrial pollution accumulating in the atmosphere and trapping heat. Negotiations conducted under U.N. auspices have been trying to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep temperatures from rising to levels likely to have disastrous consequences.


N. Korea touts nuclear prowess

SEOUL | North Korea boasted Tuesday of running “thousands” of nuclear centrifuges, a week after launching a deadly artillery attack on South Korea, as China pressed for six-nation crisis talks.

State media in the North, which already has tested two atomic bombs made from plutonium, said “many thousands of centrifuges” are operating to enrich uranium at a new plant that it claims is for peaceful energy purposes.

The country first disclosed the new plant to U.S. experts less than two weeks before its artillery assault, which killed two civilians and two marines on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island near the disputed Yellow Sea border.

Experts and senior U.S. officials fear the plant could easily be configured to make weapons-grade uranium.


Islamists win no seats in parliamentary election

CAIRO | Egyptian Islamist opposition group the Muslim Brotherhood failed to win a single seat in the first round of a disputed parliamentary election, state television said on Tuesday.

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