- - Monday, January 17, 2011


Observers: Sudan vote was peaceful, credible

JUBA | A group of election observers led by former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that they found southern Sudan’s recent referendum on independence from the north to have been credible.

Mr. Carter’s observation mission also praised the Sudanese for their patience and commitment during the weeklong vote, which ended Saturday. U.N. and EU missions have also said the vote was largely peaceful and legitimate.

The referendum was part of a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war between the largely Christian and animist south and the mostly Muslim north. The south is expected to vote overwhelmingly for secession, splitting Africa’s largest nation. But the two regions will continue to depend on each other — the south has most of Sudan’s oil, but the north has the infrastructure to export it.


Report: Sanctions hurt, but compromise unlikely

LONDON | President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s management of Iran’s economy has been a “disaster” and sanctions are making matters worse, a report said on Monday, but Tehran is still unlikely to compromise on its nuclear program.

Iran is due to hold a second round of talks with six major powers over its disputed nuclear activities in Istanbul on Friday and Saturday following U.N., U.S., and EU sanctions imposed last year that target oil and gas sectors vital to the Iranian economy.

But Mr. Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are unlikely to be swayed, wrote Jonathan Paris in a report for the Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank backed by the Legatum investment group.


Official: N. Korea ‘may collapse’

SEOUL | North Korea could bring about its own collapse if it keeps pouring resources into nuclear and conventional weapons, South Korea’s national security adviser said in an interview to be screened Monday.

Chun Yung-woo argued in the interview with U.S. public broadcaster PBS that the Pyongyang regime faces so severe an economic crisis that it could collapse sooner than expected.

The “energy for change is growing” and will reach “critical mass” at some point in the impoverished communist state, Mr. Chun said in excerpts posted on the PBS website.

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