GENEVA – Voters in Switzerland narrowly backed a proposal to limit immigration Sunday, in a blow for the government after it had warned that the measure could harm the Swiss economy and relations with the European Union.
“This has far-reaching consequences for Switzerland … and our relations with the European Union,” said Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga. “It’s a shift away from the current system of free movement of people.”
Although Switzerland isn’t a member of the EU it enjoys close ties to the 28-nation bloc. Bern has negotiated a series of agreements, including one that allowed most of the EU’s 500 million citizens to live and work in Switzerland with little formality. Swiss citizens, in turn, could do the same in the EU.
Iran to address U.N. nuke concerns
VIENNA – Iran agreed Sunday to provide additional information sought by the U.N. nuclear agency in its probe of suspicions that Tehran may have worked on nuclear weapons.
Iran insists it never worked toward – or wanted – such arms and that all of its activities were meant for peaceful nuclear purposes.
Still, the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency announcement that Tehran was ready to “provide information and explanations” for experiments in a type of detonator that the agency says could be used to trigger a nuclear explosion appeared to be the latest indication that Iran’s new political leadership is seeking to ease tensions over its nuclear program.
Gunman kills two in Russian church
MOSCOW – A man opened fire Sunday in a cathedral on Russia’s Sakhalin Island in the Pacific, killing a nun and a parishioner and wounding six others, investigators said.
Law enforcement officers detained the 24-year-old man at the scene and were trying to determine why he had attacked the Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the federal Investigative Committee said in a statement. His name was not released.
Concerns about security in Russia are especially high because of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, but there was no apparent connection to the games. Sakhalin Island is more than 4,500 miles from Sochi.
Pro-nuclear power candidate wins
TOKYO – Yoichi Masuzoe, a former health minister backed by Japan’s ruling party, easily won Tokyo’s gubernatorial election Sunday, defeating two candidates who had promised to end nuclear power.
The ballot was widely seen as a test for Japan’s public opinion on atomic power in a nation shaken by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Masuzoe, 65, was backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who wants to restart Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors.
Masuzoe received 2.1 million votes, more than the combined total of the two anti-nuclear candidates.