Iran says it won’t suspend atomic work

Iran will not suspend uranium enrichment, as demanded by the West, but is still holding talks about its nuclear programme, the Iranian government spokesperson said on Monday. United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said as she flew to the Middle East that foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany might meet this week to discuss Iran.

Migrants try to storm razor wire fence

A group of would-be migrants tried to storm a razor wire fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Monday, officials said. Interior Ministry officials gave no details as to how many people attempted to reach the enclave and would not confirm news reports that five Africans were injured.

Bush challenges ‘misimpressions’ about Iraq

United States President George Bush on Saturday challenged ''misimpressions'' about the Iraq war as he battled a gloomy intelligence assessment of the conflict and the fallout of a book portraying him as in denial over it. With five weeks to go before midterm elections, Democrats seeking to win control of Congress seized on both revelations to charge that Bush was mishandling the war and Republican lawmakers were failing to hold him accountable.

Brazil’s Lula battles to avoid run-off vote

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was battling to secure the votes needed to clinch an outright victory in Sunday's presidential election after public disgust over corrupt politics eroded his support in the final days of campaigning. Failure by Lula to win more than 50% of the vote would mean he faces a run-off against his closest rival on October 29.

No sign of life in Brazil plane tragedy

Military searchers parachuted down on Saturday to the wreckage of a Brazilian passenger plane that crashed a day earlier in remote Amazon jungle with 155 people on board. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said there was no sign of survivors. The brand-new Boeing 737-800 probably plunged into the ground nose, the head of Brazil's airport authority Infraero said.

Typhoon rips off roofs, cuts power in Vietnam

A typhoon ripped off roofs, felled trees and cut power along Vietnam's central coastline on Sunday, just days after battering the Philippines. State-run radio said at least one person was killed in the resort city of Danang, Vietnam's fourth largest with about one million people, which was taking the brunt of Typhoon Xangsane's heavy rains and fierce winds.

Lebanon: Israel ready to complete pull-out

Lebanon said on Saturday that it had been informed by United Nations peacekeepers that Israel was finally poised to complete its promised pull-out from the south. A government spokesperson said the commander of the UN force in Lebanon had told Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora that Israel would pull out the last of its troops on Sunday.

Brother-in-law of Saddam trial judge killed

A brother-in-law of the judge trying Saddam Hussein for genocide was shot dead by gunmen while driving in western Baghdad, police said on Friday. A police source told Reuters that the 10-year-old nephew of chief judge Mohammed al-Ureybi and a third person in the car were wounded in the attack on Thursday evening.

Typhoon Xangsane heads for Vietnam

Typhoon Xangsane churned towards Vietnam on Friday after killing 31 people in the Philippines, injuring hundreds and leaving a trail of widespread destruction. In Manila, the stock exchange, currency market, schools and government offices remained closed for a second day as a huge mopping-up operation began. Slightly more than half of the main island of Luzon was still without power.

New sake in old cups

The election of Shinzo Abe as the leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party and now prime minister will have profound repercussions for Japan and East Asia. Most Western commentary during the premiership of Junichiro Koizumi has been concerned with the extent to which Japan has allowed a freer rein to market forces. While that is important, the question that should really detain us is Japan's growing nationalism.

Nato seek early takeover of Afghan peacekeeping

Nato defence chiefs were set on Thursday to agree to assume command of peacekeeping across all of insurgency hit Afghanistan next month despite some allies' concerns over tactics and troop shortfalls. The move into eastern Afghanistan could take effect quickly because it would largely involve placing under Nato command about 12 000 mostly United States forces already in the region.

UN says 2,6-billion lack basic sanitation

About 2,6-billion people in the world, mainly in Africa and Asia, lack access to basic sanitation, increasing the risk of diarrhoea and other diseases fatal to children, said a United Nations report released on Thursday. Unicef, the UN children's fund, concluded that UN goals could be met on clean water, especially in urban areas.

Colorado school gunman killed, girl wounded

A gunman who held two girls hostage and shot one of them at a Colorado high school on Wednesday was killed by police who stormed the classroom building where he was barricaded, police said. The man shot and critically wounded one of the two students he had held hostage at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado, state police spokesperson Lance Clem said.

Iran aims for improbable bullseye in darts

The players are clean-living and models of athleticism. A world away from the game's heartland in a smoky corner of a British pub, darts has taken off with a bang in Iran. In a country where alcohol is strictly forbidden, don't expect pints of beer flowing nearby or players to sport the paunches that are the proud mark of many kings of the tungsten arrows in northern Europe.

Manila prepares for onslaught of typhoon

The 12-million residents of Philippine capital Manila are readying for a possible direct hit from a typhoon after the storm slammed into the country's central region on Wednesday, stranding thousands of ferry passengers. ''Since 1995, there has been no strong typhoon that has crossed this close to Manila,'' Nathaniel Cruz, the chief weather forecaster, told reporters.

Texas governor? How hard could it be?

A Jewish cowboy for Texas governor? ''Why the hell not,'' answers Kinky Friedman, the cigar-chomping entertainer who has become surprisingly competitive in the contest for President George Bush's old job in the Lone Star State. It's a campaign long on one-liners, crude jokes and outrageous antics.

Bulgaria, Romania to join EU under tough terms

Bulgaria and Romania received the green light on Tuesday to join the European Union in January, rather than a year later, but under the toughest terms imposed on any new entrants. In a recommendation on what could be the EU's last expansion for years, the European Commission listed reforms the Balkan duo must complete.

Saddam ejected from genocide trial for third day

Saddam Hussein was ejected from his genocide trial for a third day on Tuesday and his co-defendants tried to storm out after him, as chaos reined following the sacking of the chief judge last week. Judge Mohammed al-Ureybi had opened the hearing with a lecture to Saddam not to disrupt the proceedings.

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