- - Thursday, April 12, 2012

IRAN

ISTANBUL — Iran’s top nuclear negotiator says his country will offer new initiatives in weekend talks with world powers over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, Iranian state media reported Thursday.

The talks Saturday in Istanbul between Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council nations plus Germany are the first direct negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program after talks collapsed more than 14 months ago.

“Iranian representatives will attend the talks with new initiatives,” Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili was quoted as saying by state TV and the official Irna news agency. “We are ready to hold successful and progressive talks on cooperation.”

DENMARK

Denmark braced for trial against 4 Swedes

COPENHAGEN — Four Swedes accused of plotting a revenge attack on a newspaper that printed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad will go on trial Friday in Denmark, forcing the normally placid Nordic country to revisit an event it would rather put to rest.

The four men - Swedes living in Denmark - are charged with terrorism after allegedly planning an armed attack inside the Copenhagen-based offices of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which published 12 cartoons of the prophet in 2005, sparking riots in Muslim countries and calls for revenge.

Prosecutors have described the four as Islamic militants who wanted to frighten Danish society with a shooting spree.

If found guilty of terrorism charges, the four men could face some 16 years in prison, while prosecutors say they will ask that the men be expelled from Denmark after serving the sentence.

SOUTH SUDAN

South Sudan won’t withdraw troops

JUBA — South Sudan’s president said Thursday that the nation will not withdraw its troops that this week entered a disputed border region with Sudan.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir spoke to parliament in the midst of escalating clashes along the border with Sudan. He said the country’s military also would re-enter another disputed area, Abyei, currently occupied by Sudan if the U.N. does not urge Sudan to withdraw.

Troops from South Sudan on Wednesday captured the oil-rich border town of Heglig that is claimed by Sudan, whose troops withdrew under the onslaught. Mr. Kiir said South Sudan’s military forces also had advanced past Heglig after occupying it.

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