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01/12/06 World News: European Powers Discuss Iran Nuke Referral


Western nations are warning that it is more likely than ever that Iran would be referred to the United Nations Security Council, after it resumed nuclear research this week. Meanwhile, diplomatic sources say although Iran finished removing U.N. seals from three nuclear sites (Natanz, Pars Trash and Farayand), it will not be able to immediately start enriching uranium. The head of the U.N. nuclear agency (Mohammed ElBaradei) says Iran plans to produce a limited amount of nuclear fuel for research experiments. U.S. and European officials accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons -- a charge Iran denies.

The top U.S. negotiator on North Korea arrived in Beijing today (Thursday) for talks on reviving the six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill is trying to win agreement from Beijing and other parties on a date for resuming the talks. Hill said he has no plans to meet North Korean officials while he is in China. Media reports say North Korean leader Kim Jong Il may be making a secret trip to China, but Beijing has refused to confirm or deny the reports.

The World Health Organization is urging Asian governments to speed up testing for bird flu, to help identify early signs of a pandemic. The WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific (Shigeru Omi) says the international community must respond instantly to the emergence of a pandemic with all the weapons at its disposal. He spoke today (Thursday) at the start of a two-day conference in Tokyo, attended by officials from more than 20 countries and health organizations.

Government ministers from six of the world's major producers of greenhouse gases say they have agreed on new ways to curb global warming. In a statement issued today (Thursday) at a conference in Sydney, delegates from the six countries said they would not cut back on the use of coal, oil and gas. Instead, they announced a new plan that focuses on convincing industries to take the lead in developing and installing cleaner energy methods. Australia pledged 75-million dollars, while the United States pledged 52-million dollars toward the new Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate.

Sri Lankan officials say eight government troops have been killed by a land-mine explosion in the north of the country. Officials say suspected Tamil rebels detonated the land mine today, as a Sri Lankan navy convoy passed through the northern district of Vavuniya. The blast destroyed a navy bus, killing at least eight sailors.

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