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Russia Begins Delivering Fuel to Iranian Nuclear Power Plant


Iran – Nuclear: The Russian state agency building Iran's Bushehr nuclear power station has made its first shipment of fuel to the facility.
The agency (Atomstroiexport) issued a statement today (Monday) announcing the delivery to Bushehr -- Iran's first nuclear power plant.
Russia's foreign ministry said Monday that the fuel will be under the control and guarantees of the International Atomic Energy Agency for the whole time it is in Iranian territory.
Tehran argues that nuclear work at Bushehr and elsewhere is strictly for civilian purposes. But the United States and its Western allies have accused Iran of using the programs as a cover to develop nuclear weapons.

Palestinians – Aid: Delegations from more than 60 countries are meeting in Paris to pledge financial aid to the Palestinian government and give support to newly renewed peace talks with Israel.
The one-day meeting is a follow-up to last month's U.S.-sponsored peace conference where Israeli and Palestinian officials pledged to negotiate toward a two-state solution by the end of 2008.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy opened today's (Monday's) meeting by urging quick international support for a Palestinian state. He said the initiative for peace has been set and now is the time to show goodwill.
A European Union official (External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner) said today the bloc will pledge 650 million dollars to the Palestinians for 2008. The United States is pledging 550 million dollars for next year.

Saudi – Hajj: Nearly two-million pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which opens today (Monday) in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
The pilgrims, in white robes (symbolizing purity), will travel from Mecca to a tent city in the valley of Mina, marking the start of the grueling five-day ritual.
Iranian state media say President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has left for Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj rituals. He will be the first Iranian president to attend the annual pilgrimage.

Afghanistan: Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is urging NATO countries to do more to help stabilize Afghanistan.
His comments today (Monday) follow those of Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, who said the war in Afghanistan will be lost unless NATO and its allies change tactics.
Mr. Rudd made a special point about the dangers of increased opium production in Afghanistan, which now supplies about 90-percent of the world's heroin.
Australia currently has a thousand troops serving in Afghanistan, making it one of the largest non-NATO contributors to anti-terrorism efforts in the country.
And NATO's top operational commander has called for an increase in aid to help spur development in Afghanistan.

Malaysia – India – Rights: A court in Malaysia has dropped attempted murder charges against 31 ethnic Indians accused of wounding a police officer during an anti-discrimination rally last month outside the capital of Kuala Lumpur.
Prosecutors dropped all charges against five of the men today.
The 26 others have pled guilty to mischief and illegal assembly, charges that carry a penalty of up to five years in prison. They were released ion bail and will be sentenced next week.

Indonesia – Terror Trial: Indonesia has begun the trial on terrorism charges of the alleged head of the Southeast Asian militant group blamed for the deadly 2002 Bali bombings.
Zarkasih (eds: one name) was arrested earlier this year, along with the alleged military chief of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant group, Abu Dujana.
A similar trial against Abu Dujana began last week.
In a videotaped confession, Zarkasih said he took over as head of the militant group in 2005.
Members of Jemaah Islamiyah have been blamed for carrying out deadly bomb attacks on Indonesia's Bali island in 2002 and 2005, and an attack on the Australian Embassy in 2004.

Listen to our World News for details.

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