- - Thursday, March 15, 2012

IRAN

BRUSSELS — The SWIFT global financial transaction service said Thursday that it was cutting ties with Iranian banks that are subject to European Union sanctions aimed at discouraging the country from developing nuclear weapons.

The action effectively enforces EU sanctions because the world’s financial transactions are impossible without using SWIFT, and it will go a long way toward isolating Iran financially.

The company’s name stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. It is a banking hub crucial to oil, financial transactions and other trades.

FRANCE

Police use tear gas on steelworkers

PARIS — French police fired tear gas at steelworkers Thursday as they tried to force their way toward the headquarters of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s re-election campaign.

About 200 workers from an ArcelorMittal plant in Florange in northeast France came to Paris in buses as part of a protest movement that started last month to try to save jobs at the factory. They blame Mr. Sarkozy’s conservative government for not doing enough to save the plant.

They were confronted by riot police who tried to push the protesters back with shields. After several minutes of fighting, the police fired tear gas to break up the crowd.

PAKISTAN

Parliament to discuss U.S. ties next week

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s parliament will debate new terms of engagement with the United States next week, a process expected to pave the way for the reopening of NATO and U.S. supply routes into Afghanistan, lawmakers and government officials said.

Ties have been frozen since American airstrikes accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at the Afghan border in November, complicating U.S. efforts to negotiate an end to the war in neighboring Afghanistan because Islamabad’s cooperation in that process is seen as vital in that endeavor.

ITALY

Police arrest terror suspect

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