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nuke offer positive but ambiguous

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nuke offer positive but ambiguous

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Wednesday June 7, 2006

World

Shenzhen Daily

‘Nuke offer positive but ambiguous’
AN international proposal aimed at resolving the crisis over Iran’s disputed nuclear drive contains “positive steps” but also “ambiguities,” Iran’s top national security official said yesterday. “There are positive steps in the proposal, and there are also some ambiguities that should be cleared up,” Ali Larijani said. “We consider that the European will solve the issue through talks is a correct step, and we welcome this,” he said, after receiving the incentives package from European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Solana met with Larijani at the Supreme National Security Council building in central Tehran. Journalists were barred from the building. Solana arrived Monday night with the package that was agreed to in talks among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany in Vienna on Friday. He told reporters at Tehran’s airport that the West wanted “a new relationship” with Iran and that the package would “allow us to engage in negotiations based on trust, respect and confidence.” Iran says its nuclear development is for peaceful production of nuclear energy, but Washington and the EU accuse Tehran of covertly trying to build a nuclear arsenal. The incentives package offers economic and political rewards if Tehran relinquishes domestic uranium enrichment. It also contains the implicit threat of U.N. sanctions if Iran remains defiant. Details of the basket of perks and penalties have not been made public. Diplomats revealed Monday that Washington has sweetened the offer originally drawn up by France, Britain and Germany by saying it will lift some bilateral sanctions on Tehran such as a ban on Boeing passenger aircraft and related parts if Iran agrees to an enrichment freeze.
(SD-Agencies)

Abbas extends Hamas deadline on Israel
PALESTINIAN President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday gave the governing Hamas party three more days to accept a document that implicitly recognizes Israel, threatening to bring the issue to a national referendum. The PLO Executive Committee accepted the document, authorizing Abbas to call a referendum on it, said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official. Abbas’ deadline expired yesterday, but he gave the militant Islamic group more time due to pressure from other officials. On Monday, Abbas ruled out any changes in the 18point document negotiated by Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli lockup. It accepts a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, implying recognition of Israel next to it. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri insisted that the talks must continue, saying parts of the document are positive, but Hamas has problems with other parts. He said calling a referendum meant circumventing the elected government. A vote could deeply embarrass Hamas. Polls show the prisoners’ document would win broad approval. Hamas won January elections in a landslide against Abbas’ Fatah, but government inefficiency was the main issue, not policy toward Israel. Hamas opposes the existence of a Jewish state in an Islamic Middle East and has rebuffed Western demands to recognize Israel, accept previous peace accords and renounce violence. The West cut off aid to the Hamas-led government, leading to a financial crisis.
(SD-Agencies)

Bomb attack

At a Glance

KABUL: A Taliban suicide car bomber rammed a U.S. coalition convoy in the southeast Afghan province of Khost yesterday, wounding some troops. No coalition casualties have been reported.

Mount Merapi

INDONESIA: Volcanic activity of Mount Merapi, which has been belching toxic gases and spewing lava for days, grew yesterday. Merapi’s gas cloud now stretched four kilometers and lava flows were reaching seven kilometers from the crater. Many villages on its slopes have been evacuated.

More killings

BAGHDAD: Nine severed heads were found yesterday in a volatile area north of Baghdad in the latest atrocity as Iraqi leaders faced a crisis over filling two security jobs critical to ending rampant bloodshed.

Belgian police special forces officers stand outside a supermarket in Anderlecht, a borough of Brussels, yesterday. Police overpowered two gunmen yesterday after they took three workers hostage. SD-Agencies

Hostages rescued unhurt

Islamic militia seizes Somalia’s capital
AN Islamic militia with alleged links to al-Qaida seized Somalia’s capital Monday after weeks of fighting with U.S.-backed secular warlords, raising fears that the nation could fall under the sway of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization. The advance unified the city for the first time in more than a decade and after 15 years of anarchy in this Horn of Africa nation. But it also posed a direct challenge to a fledging U.N.backed Somali government. The Islamic militia is gaining ground just as the U.N.-backed interim government struggles to assert control outside its base in Baidoa, 248 kilometers from Mogadishu. The prices of weapons soared there Monday as fears grew that the militia could head to Baidoa next. The militia is the first group to consolidate control over all of Mogadishu’s neighborhoods since the last government collapsed in 1991 and warlords took over, dividing this impoverished country of 8 million people into a patchwork of rival fiefdoms. The battle between the militia and the secular alliance has been intensifying in recent months, with more than 300 people killed and 1,700 wounded — many of them civilians caught in the crossfire of grenades, machine guns and mortars. The United States is backing the secular alliance in an attempt to root out any al-Qaida members operating in the country. U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, have confirmed cooperating with the warlords. The U.S. government has not confirmed or denied backing the alliance, saying only that they support those who fight terror. (SD-Agencies)

Iraq frees prisoners

BAGHDAD: Iraq said it would release 2,500 prisoners in an unexpected move amid talks of a power struggle in his ruling Shiite Alliance. The prisoner release would free those who had no clear evidence against them or had been mistakenly detained. Initially, 500 people will be released today.

Chinese Corner
我可是个是铁杆儿球迷。 A:你喜欢看足球吗? Nǐ xǐhuan kàn zúqiú ma? Do you like watching soccer? B: 我 可 是 个 是 铁 杆 儿 球 迷。 Wǒ kě shì gè tiěgǎnr qiúmí. I’m a big soccer fan. A:后天世界杯就开赛了,你 可以看个过瘾了。 Hòutiān shìjièbēi jiù kāisài le, nǐ kěyǐ kàn gè guòyǐn le. The World Cup will begin the day after tomorrow. You can watch soccer matches to your heart’s content. This column is solely sponsored by the Chinese Department for International Students, Shenzhen University.
本专栏内容由深圳大 学留学生教学部提供 Tel: 2655-8894 E-mail: szulxs@szu.edu.cn
(Liang Yunhua)

Japan’s ex-cult leader appeals execution: report
DEFENSE lawyers filed an appeal Monday for a former cult leader sentenced to death for masterminding the 1995 Tokyo subway gassing that killed 12 people, a news report said. Shoko Asahara was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to hang for masterminding the attack, in which members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult released deadly sarin gas on trains converging on Tokyo’s government district. Besides the dead, thousands were hospitalized. Asahara’s lawyers filed an The lawyers could not be reached late Monday to confirm the report. The nearly blind former leader, who once commanded a powerful group with about 40,000 members, mumbled incoherently during his trial, interrupting sessions with bizarre outbursts in English. Last month, a courtappointed psychiatrist said Asahara may have been feigning mental illness. Asahara has also been convicted of plotting a 1994 gas attack in the central Japanese city of Matsumoto that killed seven people, the kidnapping and murder of an anti-cult lawyer and his family, and other slayings. About a dozen other Aum Shinrikyo leaders have been sentenced to death, although none has been executed. Three members wanted in connection with the subway gassing remain at large. At its height, the cult claimed 10,000 followers in Japan and another 30,000 in Russia. Now named Aleph, the group has about 6,500 members and is under surveillance by Japan’s Public Safety Agency.
(SD-Agencies)

Shoko Asahara appeal with the Supreme Court after the Tokyo High Court threw out a similar appeal in March, the Kyodo news agency reported. His lawyers argued that their client suffers from pathological mental stress caused by confinement and was unfit for trial.

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