Mark Heinrich

N Korea agrees nuclear-arms shutdown steps

North Korea has agreed to wide-ranging United Nations measures to verify a shutdown of its atom-bomb programme, nuclear inspectors said on Tuesday, but doubts arose about when disarmament would begin. Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, said he would recommend its governing board ratify a new inspector mission.

Iran mulls SA idea to save atom treaty talks

South Africa proposed a compromise on Friday to prevent a global meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty from collapsing over Iranian objections to the agenda, and Tehran said it would consider the idea.The proposal resembled a gesture by Japan made earlier in the day but was dismissed by Iran as not good enough.

UN chief says nuclear treaty in crisis

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was suffering a crisis of confidence as member states met to debate how to prevent the pact from falling apart. The NPT binds members without nuclear bombs not to acquire them via diversions of peaceful nuclear energy know-how.

Iran vows to pursue nuclear programme

Iran vowed on Wednesday to press on with its nuclear-fuel programme, ignoring a United Nations deadline to freeze uranium enrichment or face broader sanctions, but offered to guarantee it would not try to develop atomic weapons. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remained defiant as a 60-day grace period Iran had been given was expiring.

EU study sounds Iran nuclear warning

International sanctions alone will not prevent Iran making enough high-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb, according to an internal European Union study leaked on Tuesday. The United Nations has imposed sanctions banning transfers of technology and know-how to Iran's nuclear programme and hinting at broader penalties.

UN poised to freeze Iran atom aid

Most Western and developing nations in the United Nations nuclear watchdog tentatively agreed on Wednesday to shelve Iran's request for aid to a nuclear project over fears it could yield bomb-grade plutonium, diplomats said. But the deal left open the possibility of revisiting Iran's case later.

UN: Iran has failed to meet nuclear deadline

The United Nations nuclear agency declared Iran had failed to halt nuclear work by a Thursday deadline, and Tehran defied the threat of sanctions by vowing never to abandon a programme the West fears could give it atom bombs. ''The Iranian nation will never abandon its obvious right to peaceful nuclear technology,'' Iranian state radio quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying.

Captive girl says she had ‘sexual contact’

An Austrian girl held captive in a windowless cell for eight years before escaping said she had ''sexual contact'' with her kidnapper, police said on Saturday. Federal police spokesperson Erich Zwettler had no further details on the sexual contact disclosed by Natascha Kampusch, now 18.

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