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UN Climate Delegates Meet Informally on Conference Day Off



CLIMATE-COPENHAGEN: Delegates to the 12-day UN climate conference in Copenhagen took a day off Sunday, although several environment ministers met for informal talks on greenhouse emissions cuts and financing to assist poor nations to deal with climate change. The pledges on emissions cuts so far are short of the minimum proposed in a draft agreement, stoking fears that the outcome of the conference will be a disappointment. The early draft of the treaty calls for countries to reduce their emissions by 50 to 95 percent by 2050, with rich countries taking the lead. But so far, industrialized nations have agreed to far less ambitious targets. The draft treaty circulated Friday would require industrialized countries to cut emissions to below-1990 levels. Developing nations would be expected to keep their emissions from rising much further.


NOKOR NUCLEAR: A senior U.S. envoy says North Korea is open to the idea of direct talks with Japan, but gave no indication of when the North would re-join six-nation talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear programs. Steven Bosworth told reporters in Tokyo Sunday that he urged North Korea to engage with Japan, including on the issue of abductees. Japan accuses North Korea of abducting Japanese citizens during the Cold War. Bosworth repeated that there are no plans for more bilateral talks with North Korea on resuming six-party nuclear disarmament negotiations. The American diplomat told reporters in Beijing Saturday that his three-days of talks in Pyongyang last week were business-like, candid and forward-looking. Bosworth travels next to Russia, after briefing officials in Japan, China and South Korea.


THAILAND-NOKOR-WEAPONS: Thai authorities said Sunday they filed weapons charges against five men who were detained in Bangkok last week with a plane full of North Korean arms and munitions.The weapons were discovered after the crew -- four men from Kazakhstan and one from Belarus -- landed for refueling at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport on Friday.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told reporters Sunday that it is not known where the crew was headed, but the plane was supposed to refuel in Sri Lanka, rather than in Thailand. He added that the plane originated in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang and was registered in Georgia. Police officials have said the plane was loaded with 35 tons of North Korean-made rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other heavy weapons

PHILIPPINES-JAILBREAK: Police in the southern Philippines say suspected Islamic rebels knocked down a wall of the provincial jail before dawn Sunday and freed at least 31 inmates. Authorities say at least one attacker and a jail guard were killed during a brief gunbattle Sunday at the prison on the island of Basialan.

IRAN-NUCLEAR: The United States has dismissed an Iranian offer to exchange some of the enriched uranian stockpile for nuclear fuel rods. A snior U.S. official said Saturday that Iran's proposal was inconsistent with the "fair and balanced"draft agreement proposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in consultation with the U.S., Russia, and France.

SOUTH AFRICA-MISS WORLD: Miss Gibraltar - Kaiane Aldorino - has won the Miss World competition. Miss Mexico and Miss South Africa were the top runners-up in Saturday's pageant, held in Johannesburg. The newly crowned Miss World said she was "really happy" and felt like she was living a dream. Women from 112 countries competed in the 59th annual contest. Saturday's show was the grand finale after a month-long schedule of events for the young women in South Africa. The pageant was televised live around the world. South Africa has been the Miss World host for two years. Next year, the pageant will celebrate its 60th anniversary in Vietnam.

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