- - Monday, September 20, 2010

FRANCE

Officials warn of imminent terror threat

PARIS | France is at immediate risk of a major terrorist attack by Islamist radicals and has further reinforced already urgent security measures since last week, officials said Monday.

Asked about reports that an attack might be imminent, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said: “The threat is real. We have stepped up our vigilance.”

Separately, a source close to the interior ministry confirmed that police are probing reports that a female suicide bomber may be preparing a strike in Paris, but added: “That’s not necessarily the most worrying thing.”

Instead, Paris is concerned with intelligence received from an allied foreign spy agency that al Qaeda’s North African branch, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, is planning an “imminent” attack in France.

“It’s a threat which we think might target transportation,” he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity and without giving further details except that the warning was received at 5 a.m. Thursday.

RUSSIA

Russians to boost Arctic research

MOSCOW | Russia is boosting its research efforts to support its claims for parts of the Arctic continental shelf, the Kremlin’s point man for the Arctic said Monday.

Artur Chilingarov told reporters that he will head an expedition next month to launch a drifting research station in the Arctic to gather scientific data in support of Russia’s claim on Arctic territories.

Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is thought to contain as much as a quarter of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and natural gas.

Russia’s new drifting station will complement an icebreaker and a research ship that have been in the Arctic for the past two months, seeking evidence of Russia’s territorial claims, said Mr. Chilingarov, the Russian president’s envoy for international cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctica.

KOREA

Pyongyang sets party leadership parley

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