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World in brief: Iran rethinks ties to U.N. agency

Thu., Dec. 28, 2006

Iran’s parliament voted Wednesday to urge the government to re-examine its ties with the U.N. nuclear agency following a Security Council decision to impose sanctions against Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.

The move signaled that Iran was likely to reduce its cooperation with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.

The vote came four days after the Security Council voted to impose limited sanctions on Iran for its refusal to cease enrichment of uranium – a process that produces the material for either nuclear reactors or bombs.

The United States and its European allies suspect Iran’s civilian nuclear program is a cover for developing a nuclear bomb. Iran says its program is strictly for generating electricity.


Sudan rules out U.N. peace force

Sudan raised new doubts Wednesday about its commitment to a U.N. peace effort in the violence-wracked Darfur region as its U.N. envoy ruled out any U.N. peacekeeping troops – a key element of the world body’s proposal.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan had told Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir that every effort would be made to find African troops for a hybrid force of 17,300 military personnel and 5,300 police, but if that proved impossible the U.N. would use “a broader pool of troop contributing countries.”

But Sudan Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem told reporters Wednesday evening that the hybrid force must be smaller and have no U.N. peacekeepers.

TAIPEI, Taiwan

Fiber-optic cables in ocean damaged

Undersea fiber-optic cables were damaged by a powerful earthquake off the southern tip of Taiwan, causing the largest outage of telephone and Internet service in years and demonstrating the vulnerability of the global telecommunications network.

Two residents were killed and more than 40 injured in the magnitude-6.7 tremor that hit late Tuesday.

Up to a dozen fiber-optic cables cross the ocean floor south of Taiwan, carrying traffic between China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, the U.S. and the island itself. Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan’s largest phone company, said the quake damaged several of them, and repairs could take two to three weeks.


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