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Clinton, Lavrov Claim Common Ground on Iran


CLINTON - RUSSIA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart are both urging Iran to cooperate with the international community over its nuclear program. Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to reporters Tuesday in Moscow after lengthy talks in Moscow, where the top U.S. diplomat is holding two-days of meetings. Lavrov says imposing sanctions against Tehran at this stage would be "counterproductive." Clinton said the U.S. is not seeking further sanctions at this stage. She also praised Russia for being "extremely cooperative" in the effort to convince Iran to prove it is not seeking to build nuclear weapons.

US - AFGHANISTAN: A major U.S. newspaper says President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of at least 13,000 additional support troops to Afghanistan.The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Pentagon is deploying the 13,000 new troops in addition to the 21,000 extra combat soldiers approved by Mr. Obama in March. Officials stress that the latest deployment is made up of support troops, such as engineers, medical personnel and intelligence experts, rather than combat troops. Pentagon officials say the increase of support troops in Afghanistan should not come as a surprise.

KOREAS TALKS: South Korean officials say North Korea has accepted a proposal to hold talks this week on flood prevention and arranging more family reunions. The talks come despite North Korea's test launch on Monday of a series of short-range missiles. A spokeswoman for the South Korean Unification Ministry says Pyongyang's launch of at least five short-range missiles did not affect Tuesday's agreement to hold talks this week. The ministry says that on Wednesday the two sides will discuss a flood incident in September that killed six South Koreans camping and fishing along a cross-border river.

CHINA - RUSSIA: Russia and China signed agreements Tuesday worth $3.5 billion as they looked to boost energy, political and military ties. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told reporters in Beijing that the deals between Chinese and Russian businesses included two $500 million loans - one from the Agricultural Bank of China to Russia's second biggest lender VTB and the other from the China Development Bank to its Russian equivalent VEB. Zhukov says the two have yet to reach an agreement on energy, but adds that talks are continuing.

AUSTRALIA - INDONESIA: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Tuesday that he had telephoned Indonesia's president to raise concerns about increasing numbers of asylum seekers heading for Australia. Mr. Rudd says he told Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Saturday about intelligence reports that had pinpointed a boat carrying 260 Sri Lankans headed for Australia through the Sunda Strait. Following Mr. Rudd's call, an Indonesian warship intercepted the vessel Sunday. Mr. Rudd said Jakarta is a key ally in Australia's attempts to curb illegal migration.

ISRAEL - REPORT: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will never allow its soldiers and military leaders to be put on trial for war crimes in connection with the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Netanyahu gave a fiery speech Monday at the start of the parliament session. He condemned a recent report from a United Nations panel headed by former war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone. That report accuses Israeli forces of committing war crimes by using disproportionate force and by targeting civilians during a 22-day assault on militants in the Gaza Strip.

SWINE FLU - WHO: The World Health Organization says it will begin shipping millions of doses of the swine flu vaccine to poorer countries, possibly as early as November. WHO vaccine chief Marie-Paule Kieny says about 100 countries will receive donations of the vaccine. She told reporters in Geneva Monday that one primary goal is to protect health care workers in poorer countries against the virus to help ensure they do not become ill and, as a result, are unable to treat patients. Meanwhile, European Commission members met Monday in Luxembourg, where they discussed strategies to help member countries that have not secured sufficient stocks of the swine flu vaccine.

CHINA - WEALTH: Car battery tycoon Wang Chuanfu topped a new list of China's 1,000 richest people that was released Tuesday. Most of the super-wealthy on the Hurun Rich List made their fortunes in the property and stock markets. Wang is the founder of rechargeable battery and electric car maker BYD. He moved up 102 places to top the rich list this year. Wang's company BYD is the first Chinese company to launch mass production of a plug-in hybrid electric car. His company has won the financial backing of U.S. billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

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