ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

World Powers Urge Iran to Accept Nuclear Deal


IRAN NUCLEAR: Officials from six world powers have expressed disappointment at Iran's refusal to accept a proposal to send its uranium abroad for further enrichment and are urging Iran to reconsider. European Union official Robert Cooper says Iran has not responded "positively" to the United Nations-brokered plan aimed at alleviating international concerns that Iran is developing atomic weapons. Cooper spoke after representatives from Germany and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia) held talks Friday in Brussels about Iran's nuclear program.

GATES - AFGHANISTAN: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States will begin to tighten control of its Afghan aid contracts in an effort to reduce rampant corruption in the war-torn nation. In remarks before the start of an international defense summit in (Halifax,) Canada Friday, Gates acknowledged that the multi-national presence in Afghanistan has provided "a significant influx" of dollars through development contracts. He said the place the United States can exert the greatest leverage in Afghanistan's anti-corruption effort is "where we're writing the checks."

IRAQ - POLITICS: Iraqi lawmakers are expected to vote Saturday to resolve a political deadlock over a much-delayed electoral law that is required for general elections in January. Earlier this week, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi vetoed the proposed election law, saying he wants more representation for Iraqis living abroad, many of whom are Sunni Arabs. The move prompted Iraq's electoral commission to halt preparations for the general election set for January. Iraq's parliament will meet Saturday to consider whether the Sunni vice president had the legal right to veto the legislation that was presented to the presidency council.

CHINA MINE: The toll in a gas explosion at a coal mine in northeastern China early Saturday has risen to 42 workers dead, with 66 workers trapped deep underground. The State Administration of Work Safety said more than 500 people were working in the Xinxing mine in Heilongjiang province at the time of the blast. Nearly 400 are said to have escaped. Rescuers are searching for the trapped miners. The mine is owned by the Heilongjiang Longmei Mining Holding group. Deadly accidents are frequent in China's coal mines. According to official statistics, more than 3,000 miners were killed last year.

OBAMA - ASIA: U.S. President Barack Obama says trade with Asia is crucial to U.S. economic recovery. In his weekly (radio and internet) address, Mr. Obama stressed that the U.S. needs to place a greater emphasis on exports in order for the economy to grow. The address, published in advance on the White House website, was recorded in South Korea during Mr. Obama's first presidential trip to Asia. He said Asia does the most trade with the U.S. and that the U.S. could gain economically from intensifying the trade relationship even further, saying if the U.S. could increase exports there by 5%, it could lead to hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

SRI LANKA DISPLACED: Sri Lanka said Saturday the remaining displaced civilians in government-run refugee camps can leave on December 1, two months ahead of completing their planned re-settlement. Basil Rajapaksa, an adviser to his brother, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said the detainees will be free to return to their villages from the first of next month. He said the camps will be completely closed by January 31. On Friday, Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe had only said the majority of the displaced civilians should be resettled by the end of January.

US - CUBA - ESPIONAGE: The U.S. Justice Department says an elderly couple accused of spying for Cuba for almost three decades have pleaded guilty, with the husband agreeing to serve a life sentence. Authorities say former State Department official Walter Kendall Myers, who is 72, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit espionage and two counts of wire fraud. Officials also say his 71-year-old wife, Gwendolyn Myers, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to gather and transmit national defense information and will serve six to seven-and-a-half years in prison. (News Updates)

COLOMBIA - FARC: Colombian authorities say six people, including two children, were killed in the country's southern region when a bus was attacked and caught fire. Narino state Governor Antonio Navarro says the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, are the suspected assailants in Friday's attack. Officials say the guerrillas opened fire on the bus, which burst into flames. Police say the bus carried at least 20 passengers. It was not immediately clear why the bus came under attack. (News Updates)

US SPACE SHUTTLE: Two American astronauts are preparing for a late start to their Saturday morning space walk, while back on Earth, the wife of one of them is preparing to give birth. Mike Foreman and Randy Bresnik from the crew of the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis will step into space (at 1438 UTC) to install equipment, including a bracket that attaches cargo, a ham radio antenna and a grappling adapter for the gravity-free space science lab. Foreman and Bresnik are also scheduled to relocate a device that records electric potential around the space station during its orbit around earth. (News Updates)

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