Second nuke plant started, envoy says
MOSCOW — Iran has started building a second atomic power plant in an oil-rich region near the border of Iraq, Iran’s ambassador to Russia was quoted as saying yesterday by ITAR-Tass news agency.
Gholamreza Ansari said construction had started at Darkhovin in southwestern Khuzestan province. Iran has said it would construct a 360 megawatt plant at the site.
U.S. Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns told Reuters news agency he saw no reason for a second Iranian plant. He also said at Iran’s rocket launch test on Monday and in press reports this week that it has begun testing an advanced centrifuge were “deeply disturbing.”
Rebels report attacks kill 200
KHARTOUM — The Sudanese military said it bombed three towns in West Darfur while striking at rebel forces yesterday as senior U.N. officials warned that security was deteriorating dramatically in Sudan’s vast western region.
The U.N. officials told the Security Council that intensified fighting has worsened the plight of civilians and is hurting chances for a political settlement in the five-year conflict.
Darfur rebels denied any of their fighters were in the towns attacked by the government and said about 200 people were killed. They said helicopter gunships and airplanes battered Sirba, Sileia and Abu Suruj, setting buildings on fire and causing thousands to flee.
“The government attacked using aircraft bombardment, troops and janjaweed (Arab militiamen),” said Abdelaziz Ushar, a senior commander with the rebel Justice and Equality Movement.
Parliament ratifies EU reform treaty
PARIS — The French parliament ratified a European Union reform treaty to overhaul the bloc’s institutions yesterday, nearly three years after France rejected a planned EU constitution in a referendum.
The treaty, which must win approval of all 27 EU countries to take effect, will give the bloc a long-term president, a more powerful foreign policy chief, more democratic decision-making and more say for European and national parliaments.
France is the fifth EU country after Hungary, Malta, Romania and Slovenia to ratify the so-called Treaty of Lisbon, a replacement for the constitution.
Le Pen sentenced for Nazi comments
PARIS — A French court gave far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen a three-month suspended prison sentence yesterday and fined him 10,000 euros ($14,500) for saying that the Nazi occupation of France was “not particularly inhumane.”
The trial centered around a comment Mr. Le Pen made in a 2005 interview with the right-wing weekly magazine Rivarol, which angered the government, anti-racism organizations and Jewish groups.
Election produces first black leader
BELIZE CITY — Belize elected Dean Barrow as its first black prime minister, final results showed yesterday, as the small Central American nation dumped a decade-old government plagued by graft and economic problems.
Mr. Barrow, a former foreign minister, won a sweeping victory in Thursday’s general election. His United Democratic Party took 25 of 31 constituencies against six for Prime Minister Said Musa’s People’s United Party.
From wire dispatches and staff reports