World in brief: Oil reform faces block, leftist says

Mexico’s foremost leftist leader predicted Sunday that protesters would prevent Congress from moving forward on the president’s oil reform proposal during the current legislative session.

At a rally in Mexico City’s central square before more than 100,000 of his supporters, former presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated calls for a national debate on the reform bill, which would allow state oil company Pemex to partner with private companies for oil exploration and refining.

Oil production in Mexico, one of the top suppliers to the United States, is declining, and reform advocates say Pemex needs outside resources to explore for more reserves.

Legislators from Lopez Obrador’s Democratic Revolution Party and two minor parties have camped out around the clock in both chambers of Mexico’s Congress to block discussions on the bill. Congressional leaders have said they might look for a new place to conduct legislative business.

KABUL, Afghanistan

Taliban seize coalition weapons

A coalition helicopter trying to supply Afghan police with munitions dropped them in the wrong location and Taliban fighters later recovered the weaponry, an intelligence official said Sunday.

A member of parliament, however, said he did not believe the arms drop was an accident.

Amrullah Saleh, the head of Afghanistan’s intelligence service, told a parliament security committee “coalition forces” intended to place weapons, ammunition and food at a police checkpoint in a remote section of the southern province of Zabul in late March.

“By mistake it was dropped somewhere far from the checkpoint. Later the Taliban came and they picked it up,” Saleh said.

It was not clear whose helicopter left the supplies. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and the U.S.-led coalition said it was not theirs.

VIENNA, Austria

Iran cancels talks with U.N. agency

A top Iranian official on Sunday abruptly canceled a meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, dealing a blow to the U.N. monitor’s efforts to investigate allegations that Iran tried to make nuclear arms, an agency official said.

The IAEA official, confirming Iranian media reports that today’s planned meeting was off, said no reason had been given.

Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, reported Sunday that the talks between Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran’s nuclear program, and the U.N. nuclear watchdog were postponed. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.


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