U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says Washington wants to deal with Iran through diplomacy, but he says "all options are still on the table" to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons. At a news conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney today (Saturday), Cheney said the U.S. government has worked with Europeans and the United Nations to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program, and a peaceful diplomatic solution remains the preference. Cheney says it would be a serious mistake if Iran became a nuclear power.
NOKOR-NUCLEAR: A South Korean news agency says North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator will visit the United States next week for follow-up talks on a recent disarmament deal. Yonhap news agency quotes unidentified sources today (Saturday) as saying that North Korea's vice foreign minister, Kim Kye Kwan, will visit (the west coast U.S. city of) San Francisco Thursday for a lecture at Stanford University. He will then head to New York for a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill.
IRAQ: Officials in Iraq say bombings in Baghdad have killed at least five people and wounded about 20 others. A car bomb explosion, and a bomb hidden on a minibus killed several people in central Baghdad. Another blast targeting a police patrol killed at least one civilian. In another development today (Saturday), In other news, on Friday the U.S. ambassador to Iraq apologized for an incident in which U.S. troops detained the eldest son of Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite leaders. Iraqis rallied in several Shi'ite cities and towns (including Najaf, Basra and Karbala) to protest the detention.
JAPAN SATELLITE: Japan has launched its fourth spy satellite after several delays due to poor weather. An H-2A rocket carrying the satellite lifted off today (Saturday) from Japan's southern island of Tanegashima. It was originally scheduled for launch earlier this month. Japan says that once the satellite is in orbit, it will be able to monitor any point on Earth once a day.
ITALY POLITIACS: Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has asked Romano Prodi to stay on as prime minister. A presidential spokesman said Mr. Napolitano summoned Mr. Prodi to the presidential palace today (Saturday). The official said the president asked Mr. Prodi to continue to lead the government, but face a confidence vote to test his majority in Parliament.
VOA ANNIVERSARY: The Voice of America is marking its 65th anniversary today (Saturday). VOA first broadcast on short-wave radio to Nazi-occupied Europe in 1942. In that broadcast, announcer William Harlan Hale told his listeners, "The news may be good. The news may be bad. We shall tell you the truth." VOA Director Dan Austin says that commitment has guided the Voice of America for the last 65 years. VOA is now an international multimedia service broadcasting in radio in 45 languages and airing television reports in 25 languages.
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