You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

World Briefs: Nuclear chief rejects limits on enrichment

- - Sunday, May 27, 2012

TEHRAN — Iran's nuclear chief said Sunday there are no reasons at the moment for his country to halt production of uranium enriched to 20 percent, a key demand of world powers. He also said Iran is planning two new reactors.

The West is concerned that the 20 percent enrichment could quickly be turned into nuclear weapons-grade material. Iran insists its nuclear development program is for peaceful purposes.

The nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, was quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying that Iran will continue the higher enrichment level for a medical-research reactor that produces isotopes for treatment of about 1 million cancer patients in Iran.

"There is no reason for us to back down," he said.

He added that Iran is planning to build at least two new nuclear power plants next to an existing facility that became operational with Russia's help last year.

EGYPT

Three charge fraud in first-round voting

CAIRO — Three top candidates in Egypt's presidential race filed appeals to the election commission ahead of the deadline Sunday, alleging violations in the first-round vote that they say could change the outcome.

The appeals, charging fraud, are likely to inflame an already explosive race, with two of the most polarizing candidates finishing first and second.

Preliminary results from last week's election placed Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, as the two candidates entering a June 16-17 runoff. Thirteen candidates were on the ballot.

Young, liberal secularists who led the popular rebellion that overthrew longtime leader Mr. Mubarak last year failed to place a candidate in the runoff.

JAPAN

Ex-spokesman denies misleading public

TOKYO — The chief government spokesman during Japan's nuclear crisis testified Sunday that he did not deliberately mislead the public about the extent of the accident.

Yukio Edano, now the trade and industry minister, told a parliamentary investigative panel that the government did not fully understand the damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant after a massive earthquake and tsunami last year.

Mr. Edano has been accused of failing to provide full information about the accident and of downplaying health dangers.

Eventually, the government acknowledged that three reactor cores had melted at the plant in the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

CHINA

Police arrest suspect in serial killings

BEIJING — Authorities have arrested a man in southwestern China accused of killing 11 people and dismembering, burning and burying their bodies to destroy the evidence.

The Ministry of Public Security said in a statement Sunday that 56-year-old Zhang Yongming was arrested by police in Yunnan province on murder charges.

It said Mr. Zhang is suspected of attacking male victims who were walking alone on a quiet road near his home in Jinning county.

The case is thought to be related to media reports this past week that at least eight young people had gone missing in the county.

The reports sparked a public outcry because they cited relatives of the missing as saying that police ignored their pleas for help and prevented them from contacting the media.

MYANMAR

Indian leader woos oil-rich nation

NAYPYIDAW — India's prime minister began a historic visit to Myanmar on Sunday, stepping up efforts to woo the resource-rich nation and seizing the chance to counter the influence of regional rival China.

Manmohan Singh will hold talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein as well as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during the three-day trip, the first by an Indian prime minister to the Southeast Asian nation in a quarter of a century.

Energy-hungry India is eyeing Myanmar's large oil and natural-gas reserves and is eager to boost trade after a half-century of military rule left Myanmar isolated and heavily reliant on its other giant neighbor, China.

Mr. Singh will meet Thein Sein on Monday in the capital, Naypyidaw, and then travel to the main city of Yangon for talks with Mrs. Suu Kyi on Tuesday, in a move seen as a sign that India wants to reaffirm ties with the veteran democracy activist.

MALI

Al Qaeda seizes key arms depot

BAMAKO — An al Qaeda offshoot has seized a key underground arms depot in the strategic town of Gao in Mali's rebel-controlled north, security sources said on Sunday.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) "have taken our underground weapons and ammunition depot in Gao. It's one of the main depots of the Malian army," a security source told the Agence France-Presse.

The depot was built to deal with "the prospect of a long and difficult war," the source said.

Tuareg and Islamist rebels said overnight that they have joined forces to create an Islamic state in the vast desert north.

Mali has been in turmoil since a March 22 coup, and the north has steadily slipped out of Bamako's control.

From wire dispatches and staff reports