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World in brief: Iran president cancels address

Sat., March 24, 2007

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad canceled a trip to New York to address the U.N. Security Council before it votes today to impose further sanctions against his country for refusing to stop enriching uranium, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

After intense last-minute negotiations, the six world powers that drafted the resolution overcame concerns from several council members Friday and expected it to be approved unanimously when it comes to a vote.

Ahmadinejad said earlier this month he wanted to take his case for pursuing nuclear power to the Security Council himself.

But Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Hosseini told Iranian state television Friday that the trip had been scrapped because of “America’s obstruction in issuing visas” to the Iranian delegation that was to travel to New York.

In Washington, the State Department insisted it had approved and issued 75 visas for Ahmadinejad and his delegation, including air crew and support staff.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Iranians capture British sailors

Naval forces of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards captured 15 British sailors and marines at gunpoint Friday in the Persian Gulf – a provocative move coming during heightened tensions with the West.

U.S. and British officials said a boarding party from the frigate HMS Cornwall was seized about 10:30 a.m. during a routine inspection of a merchant ship inside Iraqi territorial waters near the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry insisted the Britons were operating in Iranian waters and would be held “for further investigation,” state television said.

In London, the British government summoned the Iranian ambassador to the Foreign Office, and Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said he “was left in no doubt that we want them back.”

Kingston, Jamaica

Cricket match fixing probed

The international governing body of cricket said Friday it would investigate whether match-fixing was a motive for the slaying of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, who was strangled after his team was upset by Ireland.

Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Shields said police believed more than one person may have killed Woolmer, 58, in his 12th-floor hotel room Sunday. His team’s humiliating defeat Saturday assured Pakistan’s elimination from the Cricket World Cup.

After days of speculation that Woolmer may have died of natural causes or even committed suicide, Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas confirmed Thursday evening that the pathologist had declared the cause of death as “asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation.”

On Friday, authorities obtained DNA samples from Pakistan team members to help eliminate potential suspects, Shields said.


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