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In brief: Iran proposes nuke ‘supervision’

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s nuclear chief is proposing a “full supervision” of its nuclear program by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency for five years in return for lifting of sanctions against Tehran.

Fereidoun Abbasi didn’t elaborate what he meant by full supervision or what it would include. He made the comments in an interview with the semiofficial ISNA news agency Monday.

Iran’s nuclear program is already subject to some International Atomic Energy Agency inspections.

Referring to the IAEA, he said, “We proposed that the agency keep Iran’s nuclear program and activities under full supervision for five years provided that sanctions against Iran are lifted.”

The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Rebel fighters hold off on attack

TARHOUNA, Libya – Thousands of rebel fighters closed in around one of Libya’s last pro-Gadhafi strongholds Monday, but held back on a final assault in hopes of avoiding a bloody battle for the town of Bani Walid.

The standoff came as rebel leaders in Tripoli said Libya’s transition to democratic rule would begin with a “declaration of liberation” that was unlikely to come before Gadhafi forces’ last strongholds were defeated and the fugitive former dictator had been captured.

The declaration would mark the start of an eight-month deadline for Libya’s transitional council to arrange the vote for a national assembly, and eventually to a constitution and general elections.

“When the clock starts ticking on those eight months remains to be seen,” rebel spokesman Jalal el-Gallal said, adding it wasn’t yet clear how liberation would be defined.

The rebels’ most immediate concern is Bani Walid, a desert town some 90 miles southeast of Tripoli, where they say a small but heavily armed force of pro-Gadhafi fighters – at least some of them high-ranking members of his ousted regime – have taken up defensive positions.

Bodies of German hikers found

KABUL, Afghanistan – Two Germans who disappeared nearly three weeks ago while hiking in the Hindu Kush mountains were shot to death, a police general said Monday.

Gen. Sher Ahmad Maladani, police chief of Afghanistan’s eastern Parwan province, said Monday that a rescue team reached the bodies in the late afternoon. He said the two men had bullet wounds in their chests.

He said he had asked the Ministry of Interior and German army for helicopters to get the bodies down from the mountains. It took the rescue team four hours to reach the bodies on foot from the main road.

The region where the men disappeared is not a Taliban area. Last month Afghan police speculated the men could have gotten lost or may have been the victims of a crime. Parwan governor Abdul Basir Salangi said they were discovered about 2 1/2 miles from the south end of Salang Pass, where they began their hike Aug. 19.

Typhoon kills 37, strands more

TOKYO – Helicopters began ferrying supplies today to communities cut off from the outside world by Japan’s worst typhoon in seven years. The storm has left at least 37 dead and 54 missing in a nation still struggling to recover from its devastating tsunami six months ago.

Aid-laden helicopters descended on towns in the hardest-hit areas as police, firefighters and soldiers mobilized to clear roads so that they could distribute food, medicine and other assistance to communities fending for themselves since Typhoon Talas made initial landfall on Saturday.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that dozens of hamlets in central Japan were still cut off, primarily because of flooding, landslides or other damage to roads.


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