- - Thursday, January 13, 2011

IRAN

Foreign experts invited to nuclear sites

TEHRAN | Iran said Thursday that foreign experts can accompany the international envoys Tehran has invited to inspect its nuclear facilities ahead of planned talks with world powers.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran’s invitation to representatives of Russia, China, the EU, developing countries and Arab states to visit its nuclear facilities could be extended to the experts as well.

Mr. Mehmanparast said the invitation aimed at building trust ahead of talks Jan. 21 with world powers in Istanbul over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, which the U.S. and many of its allies fear might be aimed at developing atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge, and says the program is peaceful.

SOMALIA

Attacks planned against al Qaeda

UNITED NATIONS | Somalia’s new prime minister said 8,000 government troops will start waging attacks on Islamist insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists “very, very soon.”

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a Somali-American educator, also said in an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday night that increased U.S. and international support for his government is essential to end Somalia’s lawlessness and prevent terrorists from continuing to use the country as a safe haven.

He also warned that nearly 2.5 million Somalis in both Islamist and government-controlled areas are on the verge of starvation and said some have already died. He urged immediate global help to prevent even more deaths than in the 1992 famine when 500,000 people died.

Somalia has not had an effective government since 1991 when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other, plunging the country into chaos and anarchy.

BRAZIL

355 die in flood, landslides

TERESOPOLIS | Walls of earth and water swept away homes in the mountains north of Rio de Janeiro, wiping out families and leaving survivors scrambling Thursday to reach still-trapped neighbors.

At least 355 people died in three Rio state towns after slides hit at about 3 a.m. Wednesday, and at least 50 people were still missing, officials said. Another 34 people already had died in floods and slides since Christmas in southeastern Brazil.

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