Iran foreign minister says nuclear deal dead if U.S. passes new sanctions
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned that the Iranian nuclear deal would be dead if the U.S. Congress imposes new sanctions, even if they do not take effect for six months, Time Magazine said on Monday. According to the magazine, he replied: "The entire deal is dead." Zarif was referring to a November 24 interim agreement with six world powers under which Tehran would curb its nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions over the next six months. Zarif's comments had little effect on U.S. Senators who are preparing legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran in six months if the deal reached in Geneva goes nowhere. The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, and Republican Senator Mark Kirk are close to agreeing on legislation that would target Iran's remaining oil exports, foreign exchange reserves and strategic industries, aides said on Monday.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 16:09:20 -0500
Friend and foe, world leaders coming together for Mandela
By Ed Cropley and Pascal Fletcher JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Nearly 90 leaders from across the world, some of them locked in enmity, are flying to South Africa for memorials to Nelson Mandela that will hail one of humanity's great peacemakers. Officials said on Monday that U.S. President Barack Obama and Raul Castro from Cuba, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Britain's David Cameron will be among those attending Tuesday's main ceremony in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium - a turnout that reflects the global appeal of South Africa's first black leader, who died on Thursday aged 95. "The whole world is coming to South Africa," foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said, playing down concerns about logistics and security of such a large event organized at such short notice.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 10:56:57 -0500
Exclusive: Russia signs deal to forgive $29 billion of Cuba's Soviet-era debt - diplomats
By Marc Frank HAVANA (Reuters) - Russia and Cuba have quietly signed an agreement to write off 90 percent of Cuba's $32 billion debt to the defunct Soviet Union, a deal that ends a 20-year squabble and opens the way for more investment and trade, Russian and European diplomats said. It would have Cuba pay $3.2 billion over 10 years in exchange for Russia forgiving the rest of a $32 billion debt - $20 billion plus service and interest, the diplomats said. It must still be approved by the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament. Negotiations on the form in which Cuba will pay the remaining debt are ongoing, the diplomats said, as even $320 million per year represents a large sum for the cash-strapped country, which has labored under a U.S. economic embargo for decades.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 15:55:32 -0500
American veteran freed from North Korea says "confession" given under duress
An elderly U.S. veteran released from detention in North Korea said on Monday that his videotaped "confession" was given under duress, adding that he believed he may have been held in a misunderstanding over his interest in the Korean War. "Anyone who knows me knows that I could not have done the things they had me 'confess' to," Merrill Newman, 85, said in a written statement released to the media.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 16:24:52 -0500
Yanukovich backs Ukraine compromise talks as tensions rise
By Richard Balmforth and Alissa de Carbonnel KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich backed a call for talks with the opposition on Monday to end weeks of protests in Kiev, but tension was high with pro-Europe demonstrators barricading their protest camp in preparation for police intervention. As riot police took up new positions in the capital, heavyweight boxing champion-turned-opposition politician Vitaly Klitschko called on the protesters to stand their ground, and warned Yanukovich that he would have blood on his hands if security forces tried to end the stand off violently. Across town, police dismantled tents to free the main road near the government headquarters and herded protesters back. Reuters correspondents at the scene said there were no attempts by police to move against the large encampment of protesters on Kiev's Independence Square, focal point of the demonstration.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 15:20:09 -0500
Putin dissolves state news agency, tightens grip on media
By Timothy Heritage MOSCOW (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin tightened his hold on Russia's media on Monday by dissolving the main state news agency, seen by hawks as too liberal, and creating a new outlet to improve Moscow's image under a more conservative editor. The abolition of RIA Novosti, as well as international radio station Voice of Russia, and establishment of a news agency to be called Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) is part of efforts to strengthen the president's authority after protests against him. It is also designed to improve Russia's international standing after growing Western criticism of its record on human rights and democracy, and accusations, which it denies, of bullying neighbors such as Ukraine. Political analyst Pavel Salin said the decision was probably a result of Kremlin turf wars and a victory for the conservatives.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 15:04:44 -0500
Abbas aide lambasts US push for framework deal
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) A senior Palestinian official on Monday railed against U.S. attempts to broker a broad outline of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, saying Secretary of State John Kerry is breaking a promise to try to negotiate a final agreement in the current round of talks.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 16:40:51 -0500
UN atomic agency to inspect Libyan yellowcake stockpile
The International Atomic Energy Agency will inspect the condition of 6,400 barrels of yellowcake stockpiled in Libya later this month, the UN special representative for Libya said Monday. Tarek Mitri said the uranium concentrate was stored at a former military installation near Sabha under the control of a Libyan army battalion. With the backing of the UN Support Mission in Libya, which Mitri heads, "an inspection team from the IAEA will visit this month to verify existing stockpiles and conditions of storage," he said.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 16:30:52 -0500
World must act fast to help C.Africa: aid group
The global community needs to move fast to stop the violence in Central African Republic spiralling out of control and must send in international peacekeeping troops to restore security, a leading US aid organization said Monday. While the weekend deployment of French troops has calmed tensions in the capital Bangui, "there's a lot more that can be done and it needs to be done immediately," said Su'ad Jarbawi, interim director in Central African Republic for the non-governmental group Mercy Corps. "The situation in Central African Republic is declining rapidly in terms of security, which is leading to a humanitarian crisis that will continue to augment and become larger in scale unless the international community intervenes now," she told AFP in Washington.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 16:23:38 -0500
Nigeria's Jonathan under fire on graft from speaker
The speaker of Nigeria's lower house of parliament on Monday accused the government of failing to tackle graft, urging President Goodluck Jonathan to do more to stamp out endemic corruption. Aminu Tambuwal said Jonathan's administration had repeatedly failed to act upon the recommendations of anti-corruption investigations by parliament and instead ordered further probes on the same cases with an identical remit. "After the House of Representatives did a diligent job by probing and exposing the cases, you now see something else when it comes to prosecution," he told a gathering of the Nigerian Bar Association in the capital, Abuja. Tambuwal is a member of Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but is said to be close to one of five rebel state governors who joined the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) last month.
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 16:17:03 -0500
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