IRAN NUCLEAR: U.N. diplomats say six world powers have made major progress on a resolution that would impose more sanctions on Iran for its controversial nuclear program. The diplomats spoke after a meeting Monday in New York of representatives from Germany and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. Britain's U.N. envoy, Emyr Jones Parry, said the six powers hoped to report today (Tuesday) on their progress to the Security Council.
NOKOR-IAEA: The head of the United Nations nuclear agency is in North Korea to discuss how the agency can help Pyongyang end its nuclear program. Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency traveled to Pyongyang from Beijing today (Tuesday). He will spend two days in North Korea. He says he will try to pave the way for the return of IAEA inspectors to North Korea, four years after they were kicked out. The inspectors would verify whether North Korea fulfills its pledge to shut down its main nuclear complex by mid-April.
JAPAN-AUSTRALIA-DEFENSE: Japan and Australia have signed a security agreement that will significantly strengthen their defense relations. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australia's Prime Minister John Howard sealed the deal today (Tuesday) in Tokyo. It is the first defense arrangement Japan has signed with a country other than the United States. Under the plan, Japanese forces will train alongside Australians for disaster relief and peacekeeping missions. The countries also are likely to increase cooperation in their response to any nuclear threat from North Korea.
VIETNAM-CORRUPTION: Vietnam's former deputy trade minister is being tried on bribery charges in a scandal involving textile exports to the United States. Mai Van Dau's trial began in Ho Chi Minh City today (Tuesday). He is accused of accepting six-thousand dollars in bribes from garment companies. In return, he allegedly allowed the manufacturers to export more textiles to the U.S. than government regulations permitted.
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