Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Nuke talks at risk of collapse, Europe told

LONDON — Europe must heed an Iranian proposal on uranium enrichment or risk a collapse of talks on Iran’s nuclear program, the country’s top nuclear official said in an interview published today.

The warning by Hassan Rowhani, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, was issued as diplomats from Britain, France and Germany began talks with their Iranian counterparts in Geneva, ahead of a more senior-level meeting in London on April 29.

“The Europeans should tell us whether these ideas can work as the basis for continued negotiations or not,” Mr. Rowhani told the Financial Times, referring to the Iranian proposal made last month that would allow some uranium enrichment.

“If yes, fine. If not, then the negotiations cannot continue,” he said.


‘Dirty war’ suspect convicted in Spain

MADRID — A Spanish court convicted a former Argentine naval officer of crimes against humanity yesterday and sentenced him to 640 years in prison for throwing 30 naked, drugged prisoners from planes during his country’s “dirty war” more than two decades ago.

The three-judge panel said in its 200-page ruling that 58-year-old Adolfo Scilingo was guilty of taking active part in the Argentine junta’s drive to crush leftist dissent during the 1976-83 military dictatorship.


Bill lets women vote, run for office

KUWAIT CITY — In a major step toward granting political rights to women in Kuwait, lawmakers agreed yesterday to permit them to vote and run in local council elections, although the measure requires more legislative action before it becomes law.

The bill passed on a 26-20 vote, with three abstentions. A second reading and a second vote, expected in two weeks, is required. Then it needs the Kuwaiti ruler’s signature, generally a formality.


Parliament approves EU constitution

ATHENS — The Greek parliament overwhelmingly voted in favor of the European Union’s constitution yesterday, making Greece the fifth EU member to approve the 25-nation bloc’s landmark document.

The approval, which was expected, came a little more than a month before France holds a referendum on the new EU blueprint aimed at streamlining procedures and decision-making processes after the bloc expanded last year to include 10 new members.


18 prisoners freed from Gitmo

KABUL — Seventeen Afghans came home yesterday in one of the biggest known releases from the U.S. jail at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A Turk suspected of ties to al Qaeda also was freed from Guantanamo and sent back to Turkey.

The releases lowered the number of detainees classified as “enemy combatants” at the U.S. Navy base on the tip of Cuba to about 520 from about 40 countries, a Pentagon spokesman said.


India overtakes S. Africa in HIV toll

PARIS — India has outstripped South Africa as the country with the highest tally of people living with AIDS or HIV, the head of the Global Fund said here yesterday.

Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said the official statistics that show India in second place and South Africa in first are “wrong.”

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