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03/07/06 World News in Lao: UN Atomic Agency to Reconvene for Critical Talks on Iran


Iran-Nuclear:The International Atomic Energy Agency reconvenes today (Tuesday) for talks that could put the Iranian nuclear dispute under the authority of the United Nations Security Council. The agency's board of governors is expected to discuss a report on Iran from I.A.E.A. chief Mohamed ElBaradei sometime this week in Vienna. ElBaradei has expressed optimism that the dispute could be resolved soon -- an apparent reference to a Russian proposal calling for Iran to temporarily suspend all uranium enrichment activities. It could later be allowed to resume some limited research. U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns says the Bush administration will reject any proposal that would not stop Iran's domestic uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.

US-Russia: Differences between the United States and Russia on issues such as Iran and the Palestinian militant group Hamas are expected at today's (Tuesday's) White House talks between President Bush and Russia's foreign minister. Sergei Lavrov also is meeting with (U.S.) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and both sides are predicting a "frank," "honest" and "candid" exchange. Russia has not said whether it will support the United States at the United Nations in any debate about possible penalties against Iran resulting from Tehran's refusal to halt its nuclear program.

Israel-Palestinians: Israel says it could target Hamas leaders, including Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh, if the militant group renews attacks on the Jewish state. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told Israeli radio (today / Tuesday) that no one would be immune from being a target for assassination, if Hamas chooses the path of terror. In the past, Israel has killed several senior Hamas leaders, including one of the group's founders (Ahmed Yassin). But it has not targeted top Hamas officials over the past year, since the group largely abided by a ceasefire that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas negotiated with Israel.

Philippines Unrest: Philippines President Gloria Arroyo says she will not hesitate to use her emergency powers again, if needed, as her opponents go to the nation's highest court to challenge her legal powers. In a recent radio interview, Ms. Arroyo warned her detractors that she will do what needs to be done to uphold the law. The Philippine Supreme Court today (Tuesday) began hearing oral arguments on a legal challenge to laws giving her emergency powers. The seven petitions to the court seek to have those laws declared unconstitutional

Bird Flu-Hong Kong: Hong Kong officials say the local chicken population will be cut by almost a third to lower the risk of a potential bird flu outbreak. The news comes less than a week since a man died after contracting the H5N1 virus in the neighboring Chinese province of Guangdong. Hong Kong health officials said today (Tuesday) the government will reduce Hong Kong's chicken population from two-point-eight million to two million by May

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