- - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

SOUTH KOREA

N. Korea’s nuke threat termed ‘dangerous’

SEOUL | The threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program has reached an “extremely dangerous level,” an adviser to South Korea’s president said in comments published Wednesday.

It was not clear whether the comments by Kim Tae-hyo, President Lee Myung-bak’s deputy national security adviser, were based on new intelligence.

They followed a report last week by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security that satellite images from Sept. 29 showed new construction activity in the area surrounding North Korea’s nuclear reactor.

WEST BANK

Israeli premier weighing new settlement curbs

RAMALLAH | Israel’s prime minister has been sounding out key Cabinet members on extending a freeze on new construction in West Bank settlements in hopes of keeping peace talks with the Palestinians alive, but he is encountering stiff resistance, Israeli officials said Wednesday.

In Ramallah, key members of the Palestinian leadership — in an increasingly tense waiting mode — expressed optimism that an extension nonetheless was imminent.

The future of President Obama’s ambitious Mideast peace effort remained uncertain Wednesday as the U.S. pressed ahead with efforts to broker a compromise over the settlement issue, which has threatened to derail negotiations just a month after they were launched at the White House.

FRANCE

French warned of terror risk in Britain

PARIS | France’s Foreign Ministry is warning French travelers of a high terrorism risk in Britain, asking them to be watchful in public transport and busy tourist areas across the English Channel.

France has not issued any recent warnings for other countries in Europe, though officials have insisted the threat is high in France as well and have boosted security at busy tourist sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower.

France and Britain are among several European countries that have stepped up terrorism alert vigilance recently. Germany, meanwhile, says it remains watchful but that there is no reason to be “alarmist.”

YEMEN

No. 2 British diplomat escapes attack

SAN’A | Assailants fired a rocket at a convoy carrying Britain’s No. 2 diplomat in Yemen and killed a Frenchman working for an Austrian oil company Wednesday in a pair of attacks that heightened fears over the safety of Westerners in a country facing a growing militant threat.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the British motorcade, but the violence casts doubt on the effectiveness of the Yemeni government’s U.S.-backed campaign to uproot al Qaeda militants. Al Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen has found a haven in parts of the mountainous, impoverished nation where the central government’s control is weak.

SWEDEN

Trio wins Nobel for chemistry

STOCKHOLM | An American and two Japanese scientists won the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for finding new ways to bond carbon atoms together, methods now widely used to make medicines and even slimmed-down computer screens.

Richard Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki were honored for their development four decades ago of one of the most sophisticated tools available to chemists today, called palladium-catalyzed cross coupling.

KYRGYZSTAN

Mob storms party base ahead of vote

BISHKEK | A mob stormed the headquarters of a leading political party in the capital of Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday, ratcheting up tensions days ahead of a decisive parliamentary election in the Central Asian country.

Protesters seized the building of the nationalist Ata-Zhurt party, which includes several representatives of the former government led by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was ousted during bloody street protests in April.

Ata-Zhurt is expected to make a strong showing in Sunday’s election, with independent polls putting it in third place with at least 10 percent of the vote.

From wire dispatches and staff reports