- - Monday, September 12, 2011


U.N.: Syrian death toll at least 2,600

GENEVA — At least 2,600 people have died in the unrest that has swept Syria, the U.N.’s top human rights official said Monday, as a panel was named to investigate abuses in the Arab country.

The figure released by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay adds to evidence that Syrian leader Bashar Assad is continuing his six-month crackdown on government foes despite international pressure.

Last month, the Geneva-based body at an emergency meeting voted overwhelmingly to demand Mr. Assad’s government end its bloody crackdown.

“From the time that the Human Rights Council passed its resolution and the Security Council has addressed the matter, the situation in Syria has worsened and peaceful protesters have been killed,” Ms. Pillay said.

The council Monday named three independent experts to lead an international investigation of allegations of human rights abuses in Syria.


Iranian nuclear plant steps up operations

TEHRAN — Iran’s first nuclear power plant stepped up operations Monday after more than a decade of delays, pumping out electricity at up to 40 percent capacity and marking a major step forward in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The Bushehr nuclear plant - which officials say could begin full-power operations in December - is also a cornerstone of Iran’s drive to become a technological leader among Muslim nations with efforts such as a space program and long-range missile development.

The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the claim and says it only seeks reactors for energy and scientific research.

Senior Iranian and Russian officials attended celebrations for the official launch of the 1,000-megawatt Bushehr plant on the Persian Gulf. It began to generate between 350 to 400 megawatts of electricity, equal to 35 to 40 percent of the reactor’s full capacity.


Tropical storm Katia slams into Ireland, Britain

Story Continues →