Iran Nuclear: Iran has accused France of pandering to the United States after the French foreign minister suggested the possibility of war with Tehran over its nuclear program.
An editorial by Iran's state-owned IRNA news agency today (Monday) accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy of taking on what it called an "American skin," and adopting a U.S. approach to Iran.
In an interview Sunday French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the world should negotiate with Iran "right to the end," but also warned that it should brace for the possibility of war.
Iran's nuclear ambitions are likely to be a key issue this week when members of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog body meet in Vienna.
The International Atomic Energy Agency's meeting opens today just as the U.S. and its allies urge the U.N. Security Council to impose a third set of sanctions on Iran for refusing to stop its enrichment of uranium.
NoKor Nuclear: South Korea's foreign ministry says this week's six-party talks on disabling North Korea's nuclear programs have been postponed.
Ministry officials say host China informed Seoul today (Monday) that the negotiations will not be held as planned on Wednesday. The officials said China offered to work with the other parties to reschedule the talks.
Envoys from China, Japan, Russia, the United States and North and South Korea had agreed to meet in Beijing this week to discuss a possible deadline for North Korea to disable its nuclear bomb-making facilities.
North Korea recently closed its main nuclear facility. If it closes the rest of its facilities and fully reveals its nuclear stock, the country has been offered fuel aid and diplomatic concessions from the other negotiating parties.
North Korea tested a nuclear weapon last year.
Thailand Plane Crash:
Thai investigators have found both flight data recorders from a passenger plane that crash-landed on the resort island of Phuket, killing at least 89 of the 130 passengers and crew on board.
The devices will be sent to the United States for analysis, a process expected to take at least a week. Authorities hope the information will help explain why the plane crashed on the airport runway while landing in heavy rain and strong winds Sunday.
The airliner broke in two upon impact and burst into flames. The U.S.-made (McDonnell Douglas MD-82) jet was operated by the Thai budget carrier One-Two-Go.
Officials say 34 Thais and 55 foreigners were killed in Sunday's crash. Foreign embassies have confirmed that four U.S. citizens, one Australian and a French national are among the dead.
Citizens from Germany and Iran also were aboard. Thai officials say 41 survivors have been taken to hospitals. Five are in critical condition with severe burns.
Vietnam Economy: The Asian Development Bank says rising inflation could become a problem in Vietnam, which is expected to see robust economic growth over the next two years.
The bank said today (Monday) the Vietnamese government should take steps to control inflation, which it predicts could hit seven-point-eight percent this year.
The bank says Vietnam's economy likely will grow eight-point-three percent this year, and eight-point-five percent next year.
The Vietnamese economy is experiencing one of the fastest rates in Asia.
Japan Politics: A Japanese newspaper poll says a majority of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party support party veteran Yasuo Fukuda to become the next prime minister.
The "Yomiuri Shimbun" survey released today (Monday) shows 55 percent of LDP lawmakers said they would vote for Fukuda in the September 23rd party election.
The survey says just 12 percent of respondents would support Fukuda's only rival, Taro Aso. The survey polled 258 of the 387 LDP lawmakers who will vote.
Aso is a foreign policy hawk who has riled China in the past with his derogatory comments. Fukuda favors boosting cooperation with Japan's neighbors.
The LDP president will become Japan's prime minister because of the ruling party's dominance in the key lower house of parliament.
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