Tuesday, January 30, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 30, 2007

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The Washington Post


Bullish on Bernanke
Turnaround Earns Him Praise from Wall Street to Capitol Hill

By Nell Henderson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; D01

The new chairman of the Federal Reserve got off to a rocky start lastspring. Inflation was surging, the housing market was slumping, and Ben S.Bernanke's initial responses caused turmoil on Wall Street.

But a year into Bernanke's tenure, the picture has turned considerablybrighter. Inflation is falling; unemployment is low; wages are rising; andthe economy, despite continued problems in housing, is growing at a briskclip. Bernanke is earning plaudits from Wall Street to Capitol Hill.

"His stewardship in the first year has to be applauded by markets, investorsand other policymakers," said Robert DiClemente, chief U.S. economist atCitigroup Global Markets. "He was able to arrest inflation without killingthe expansion. That's really the ultimate victory."

Added Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee: "Ithink he's doing his level best to manage monetary policy in a way that willaccommodate growth."


The Washington Post


With Iran Ascendant, U.S. Is Seen at Fault
Arab Allies in Region Feeling Pressure

By Anthony Shadid
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; A01

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Kuwait rarely rebuffs its ally, the UnitedStates, partly out of gratitude for the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But inOctober it reneged on a pledge to send three military observers to anAmerican-led naval exercise in the Gulf, according to U.S. officials andKuwaiti analysts.

"We understood," a State Department official said. "The Kuwaitis were beingcareful not to antagonize the Iranians."

Four years after the United States invaded Iraq, in part to transform theMiddle East, Iran is ascendant, many in the region view the Americans inretreat, and Arab countries, their own feelings of weakness accentuated, areawash in sharpening sectarian currents that many blame the United States forexacerbating.


The New York Times


January 30, 2007

World Scientists Near Consensus on Warming

PARIS, Jan. 29 - Scientists from across the world gathered Monday to hammerout the final details of an authoritative report on climate change that isexpected to project centuries of rising temperatures and sea levels unlessthere are curbs in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that trapheat in the atmosphere.

Scientists involved in writing or reviewing the report say it is nearlycertain to conclude that there is at least a 90 percent chance thathuman-caused emissions are the main factor in warming since 1950. The reportis the fourth since 1990 from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,which is overseen by the United Nations.

The report, several of the authors said, will describe a growing body ofevidence that warming is likely to cause a profound transformation of theplanet.

Three large sections of the report will be forthcoming during the year. Thefirst will be a summary for policy makers and information on basic climatescience, which is expected to be issued on Friday.


The New York Times


January 30, 2007

Europe Resists U.S. Push to Curb Iran Ties

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 - European governments are resisting Bush administrationdemands that they curtail support for exports to Iran and that they blocktransactions and freeze assets of some Iranian companies, officials on bothsides say. The resistance threatens to open a new rift between Europe andthe United States over Iran.

Administration officials say a new American drive to reduce exports to Iranand cut off its financial transactions is intended to further isolate Irancommercially amid the first signs that global pressure has hurt Iran's oilproduction and its economy. There are also reports of rising politicaldissent in Iran.

In December, Iran's refusal to give up its nuclear program led the UnitedNations Security Council to impose economic sanctions. Iran's rebuff isbased on its contention that its nuclear program is civilian in nature,while the United States and other countries believe Iran plans to makeweapons.


The Washington Post


Former Press Secretary Says Libby Told Him of Plame
Fleischer's Testimony On Timing Supports Prosecution's Case

By Amy Goldstein and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; A03

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified yesterday that I.Lewis "Scooter" Libby divulged Valerie Plame's identity to him in July 2003,three days earlier than Libby has told investigators he first learned of theundercover CIA officer.

Fleischer's narrative of Libby's "hush-hush" disclosures over a lunch tablein a White House dining room made President Bush's former spokesman the mostimportant prosecution witness to date in the week-old perjury trial of VicePresident Cheney's onetime chief of staff.

Though a series of government officials have told the jury that Libbyeagerly sought information about a prominent critic of the Iraq war, formerambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, Fleischer was the first witness to say Libbythen passed on what he learned: that Wilson's wife was a CIA officer who hadsent him on a trip to Africa. Wilson's mission there was to explore reports,ultimately proved false, that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear material inNiger.


The Washington Post


The Unraveling of Dick Cheney

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, January 29, 2007; 12:18 PM

While Dick Cheney undoubtedly remains the most powerful vice president thisnation has ever seen, it's becoming increasingly unclear whether anyoneoutside the White House believes a word he says.

Inside the West Wing, Cheney's influence remains considerable. In fact,nothing better explains Bush's perplexing plan to send more troops to Iraqthan Cheney's neoconservative conviction that showing the world that we havethe "stomach for the fight" is the most important thing -- even if it isn'taccomplishing the things we're supposed to be fighting for. Even if it'sbackfiring horribly.

But as his astonishing interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer laid bare lastweek, Cheney is increasingly out of touch with reality. He seems to thinkthat by asserting things that are simply untrue, he can make others believethey are so.


The Washington Post


Main Camera 'A Great Loss' For Hubble

Associated Press
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; A03

The primary camera on the Hubble Space Telescope has shut down and is likelyto be only marginally restored, NASA said yesterday, a collapse oneastronomer called "a great loss."

While other scientific work can still be done by the aging telescope, theunit that failed, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), is the one mostscientists depend upon. NASA scientists said that they expect to be able torestore one-third of its observation ability, probably by mid-February.

"We're not optimistic at all" about returning it to full function, Hubblescientist David Leckrone said.

Astronomers can fall back on Hubble's other instruments, said Mario Livio,an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, whichcoordinates use of the Hubble by the scientific community.




Father Drinan, Model Of Moral Tenacity

By Colman McCarthy
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; C01

If you've ever wondered whether God laughs, think back to 1980, when theRev. Robert Drinan was ordered by Pope John Paul II to get out of politicsand leave Congress. The Jesuit priest, who died on Sunday, was finishing hisfifth term representing a suburban Boston district that included Cambridgeand Brookline. The pope had been hearing from rankled conservative AmericanCatholics--the Pat Buchanan, William F. Buckley Jr., William Bennett wing ofthe church -- that Father Drinan, a purebred Democrat, was a dangerousliberal. His voting record on abortion was seen as too pro-choice.

Father Drinan's presence in the House of Representatives had been sanctionedby the previous pope, Paul VI, as well as by the U.S. episcopate, thecardinal of Boston, his own Jesuit superiors and emphatically by the votersin his district.


The Washington Post


Ghana to Chair African Union Instead of Sudan: Top Official

By Les Neuhaus and Alfred de Montesquiou
Associated Press
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; A14

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Jan. 29 -- Bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur regiondominated discussion at the African Union summit Monday, blocking Sudan'sbid to lead the 53-country group as the U.N. chief described scorched-earthmilitary policies as "a terrifying feature of life" in the vast, arid area.

With Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir looking on, U.N. SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki Moon said that "the toll of the crisis remains unacceptable."As many as 450,000 people have died from disease and violence and 2.5million have been displaced in four years of fighting. Ban called on Africanleaders to end the deadlock created by Sudan's refusal to allow U.N.peacekeepers into Darfur.

Hours later, the African Union chose Ghana's president, John Kufuor, to headthe bloc, deflecting Sudan's bid for the second year in a row.


The Washington Post


Fleischer Handles Questioning in the Usual Fashion

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; A02

It's been almost four years since Ari Fleischer stepped down from thepodium, but he has lost nothing off the old curveball.

Questioning the former White House press secretary in the Scooter Libbytrial yesterday, defense lawyer William Jeffress Jr. asked if Fleischer hadread a document Jeffress placed in front of him. "In a generic sense,"Fleischer said.

Did President Bush visit Entebbe, Uganda? "I'm not sure of the spelling."

Did he work for White House communications director Dan Bartlett?"Nominally," Fleischer replied. "On paper, Mr. Bartlett had a box above me.. . . I wouldn't put it that way."


The Washington Post


Bush Says Missing '-ic' Was an Oversight

By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; A15

President Bush says the missing "-ic" in the State of the Union address wasnothing more than an oversight.

Near the beginning of the speech last week, Bush congratulated "the Democratmajority" for its electoral victory, using a long-standing Republicanformulation seen by many Democrats as a calculated insult. Some liberalbloggers and party strategists saw the president's omission of the last twoletters of the party's proper name, Democratic, as a sign of insincerity inpreaching bipartisanship.

Nothing of the sort, Bush said in an interview yesterday with NationalPublic Radio's Juan Williams.

"That was an oversight," said Bush, who frequently uses the formulation. "Imean, I'm not trying to needle. Look, I went into the hall saying we canwork together, and I was very sincere about it. I didn't even know I didit."




The Ba-Da-Boom Crew

By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; A17

If you've been following the Lewis "Scooter" Libby perjury trial, I canunderstand how you might confuse Dick Cheney with Tony Soprano. Cheney'soffice is beginning to sound a lot like the Bada Bing, minus the dancers.

Court has been in session for only a week, and already we've heard aboutcharacters being set up (Libby, allegedly, to save political wizard KarlRove), strung along (media bigwigs, who were to be played like patsies),buried in mud (former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who questioned the raisond'etre of the Iraq war) and ratted out (the famously leak-averse Cheney,revealed to be willing to leak like a washerless faucet when it suits hispurposes).

Cheney's no Tony, though. For one thing, Tony would never let one of his tophenchmen go by a preppy-sounding handle such as "Scooter." For another, thiskind of all-in-the-family mess would send Tony moping to his long-sufferingshrink, whereas Cheney shows no inclination to deal with uncomfortableissues or face harsh realities.


The New York Times


January 30, 2007

Ex-Bush Aide, in Testimony, Disputes Libby

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 - Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary,recounted to a jury on Monday his experience at an unusual lunch on July 7,2003, during which he said that I. Lewis Libby Jr. passed on detailedinformation about the identity of a Central Intelligence Agency operative.

The lunch in the White House mess for senior staff took place three daysbefore the date that Mr. Libby had sworn he first learned about the C.I.A.officer, Valerie Wilson, from reporters.

Mr. Fleischer was the fifth prosecution witness to provide damagingtestimony in the form of an account that conflicted with the version Mr.Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, told a grandjury and investigators.

Mr. Fleischer's day on the stand provided a riveting moment because of thedetailed description of the conversation, which he said occurred in his lastweek at the White House and was the only time Mr. Libby had ever asked himto lunch.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Obama's liberal pastor has huge following
Friday, January 26, 2007
Manya A . Brachear

CHICAGO - When he took over Trinity United Church of Christ in 1972, theRev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. was a maverick pastor with a wardrobe of dashikisand a militant message. Six years later, he planted a "Free South Africa"sign on the lawn of his church and asked other local religious leaders tofollow his lead.

None did.

The sign stayed until the end of apartheid, long enough to catch the eye ofa young Barack Obama, who visited the church in 1985 as a communityactivist. Obama, not a churchgoer at the time, found himself returning tothe sanctuary of Trinity United. In Wright he found both a spiritual mentorand a role model.

Wright, 65, is a straight-talking pragmatist who arrived in Chicago as anoutsider and became an institution. He has built a congregation of 8,500,including the likes of Oprah Winfrey and hip-hop artist Common, by offeringan alternative to socially conservative black churches.


The New York Times


January 30, 2007

Bush Directive Increases Sway on Regulation

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 - President Bush has signed a directive that gives theWhite House much greater control over the rules and policy statements thatthe government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment,civil rights and privacy.

In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bushsaid that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by apolitical appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documentsproviding guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have agatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rulesand to make sure the agencies carry out the president's priorities.

This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, inthe past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. Itsuggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after thetakeover of Congress by the Democrats.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Davis, Obama alliance has deep roots
Thursday, January 18, 2007
News Washington correspondent
WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. Artur Davis had lost touch sincethey overlapped as students at Harvard Law School but reconnected sevenyears ago to commiserate over their spectacular political failures.

Both had just run for Congress, and both got creamed.

"We called each other and we both said, `We need to try again,'" Davis saidWednesday. "And everybody said to both of us, `No, you shouldn't try again,you're not going to win then, either,' and neither one of us listened."

Today, Obama, a Democratic senator from Illinois, is plotting a run for thepresidency and Davis, a Democratic congressman from Birmingham, is among thefirst elected officials to endorse him.

Davis already was setting up an Alabama fund-raiser for his formerclassmate, anticipating Tuesday's announcement that Obama was officiallyexploring a presidential campaign. It wouldn't be Obama's first Birminghamevent to raise political cash. In 2004, during his Senate campaign, Obamaattended a $1,000-per-person event at the Civil Rights Institute.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Romney emphasizes conservative credentials
By Andrew Miga, Associated Press Writer | January 28, 2007

WASHINGTON --Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, seeking to dispeldoubts about his conservative credentials, acknowledged Saturday that he'sshifted his abortion views.

"On abortion, I wasn't always a Ronald Reagan conservative," Romney told agathering of conservatives. "Neither was Ronald Reagan, by the way. But likehim, I learned from experience."

During his 2002 campaign for Massachusetts governor, Romney said that whilehe personally opposed abortion, he would leave the state's abortion lawsintact.

In his speech Saturday, he said he had had a change of heart after adiscussion with a stem cell researcher.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Representatives of major religions explain what love means to them
Monday, January 29, 2007
Staff Reporter
A diverse group gathered Sunday afternoon at the Saenger Theatre in downtownMobile to celebrate love, the common theme of the world's great religions,Mayor Sam Jones said.

As part of the mayor's continued campaign he calls Love Your Neighbor,Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Christians worshipped alike during the one-hourservice.

The Government Street Presbyterian Church handbell choir greeted worshiperswith two songs as people found their seats. Then the choir sang "Go Up tothe Altar of God," as the crowd stood to watch the mayor, city officials andfaith leaders enter the auditorium and take the stage to begin the ceremony.

Dressed in costumes that appeared to correspond with their ethnicities, theMobile International Festival Children's Choir sang "It's a Small WorldAfter All."


The New York Times


January 30, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor

To Ban the Bomb, Sign the Peace

OF all the crises facing the new United Nations secretary general, BanKi-moon, the fraying nuclear nonproliferation system is arguably the mostconsequential. Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic EnergyAgency, has warned of 30 "virtual new weapons states" on the horizon.Obviously, the more countries that possess the bomb, the higher the risk ofa nuclear accident, the theft of a weapon, sales of technology and hardware,and a serious miscalculation leading to nuclear war.

So where should Mr. Ban start? With North Korea having declared after itstest last October that it now possesses a nuclear deterrent, theunderstandable temptation will be to focus on Iran. This would be a mistake.North Korea is still some way off from having a reliable nuclear weapon, andto accept its having this capacity as a fait accompli would not only playinto its game plan but also convince Iran and other countries that theinternational community lacks the will to prevent them from developing thebomb. A new approach is required.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Ex-Cheney Aide Shares Media Manipulation

Jan 27, 12:32 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) - A smorgasbord of Washington insider details has emergedduring the perjury trial of the vice president's former chief of staff.

For example, when Dick Cheney really needed friends in the news media, hisstaff was short of phone numbers.

No one served up spicier morsels than Cheney's former top press assistant.Cathie Martin described the craft of media manipulation - under oath and inblunter terms than politicians like to hear in public.

The uses of leaks and exclusives. When to let one's name be used and when tohide in anonymity. Which news medium was seen as more susceptible to controland what timing was most propitious. All candidly described. Even the ratingof certain journalists as friends to favor and critics to shun - a faintecho of the enemies list drawn up in Richard Nixon's White House more than30 years ago.


Technology Review


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cheaper Natural Gas from Coal
Great Point says that its catalytic process could put coal back in yourbasement.

By Peter Fairley
In the second half of the 20th century, oil- and natural gas-burningfurnaces drove coal out of the home-heating business across North America.But if Great Point Energy--a Boston-area startup with a low-cost process forconverting coal into pipeline-grade natural gas--has its way, coal may startkeeping us toasty again before long.

Great Point Energy of Cambridge, MA, says its process is cheaper and morereliable than drilling for new natural gas or importing liquefied naturalgas from the same unstable regions. "We can take coal out of the ground andput it in a natural-gas pipeline for less than the cost of new natural-gasdrilling and exploration activities," says CEO Andrew Perlman.


The New York Times


January 30, 2007
Canada's Good Example

Canada set an important example of decency when it offered a formal apologyand compensation worth millions of dollars to a Syrian-born Canadian citizenwho was a victim of President Bush's use of open-ended detention, summarydeportation and even torture in the name of fighting terrorism.

Last week's announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper came more thanfour years after the nightmare began for the Canadian, Maher Arar, a36-year-old software engineer. On his way back from a family vacation, hewas detained by U.S. officials at Kennedy Airport on the basis ofunsubstantiated information from the Canadian police. After being held insolitary confinement in a Brooklyn detention center and interrogated withoutproper access to legal counsel, he was sent to Syria, where he wasimprisoned for nearly a year and tortured.

It was all part of a legally and morally unsupportable practice known asextraordinary rendition, the deportation of terrorism suspects to countrieswhere the regimes are known to use torture and to disdain basic human rightsprotections.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


David Broder: Don't ask, do tell: a Clinton strategy?
By BDN Staff
Monday, January 29, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

When Lt. Gen. David Petraeus came before the Senate Armed Services Committeelast week in open session, its members understandably had many questions forthe new commander of American forces in Iraq.

They knew of his reputation as a battlefield leader, a trainer of Iraqitroops and the author of the Army manual on counterinsurgency warfare.

Many of the questions probed deeply into the rationale for the president'snew strategy of injecting more U.S. troops into Baghdad neighborhoodswracked by killings by rival Sunni and Shiite gangs. Others challenged thereadiness of Iraqi forces and the Baghdad government to do their part inreducing sectarian violence.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Posted on Sun, Jan. 28, 2007

American Muslims must engage in talk on how to make U.S. safer

The nuclear bomb that exploded during a recent episode of Fox's '24' did notraise new questions about whether Islam and Muslims pose a threat toAmerica. Instead, the blast just reinforced and amplified the questions thatmany Americans have been asking since Sept. 11, 2001.

Polls show that many Americans believe Islam encourages violence, and theysuspect that Islam and Muslims pose a threat to this country. They hearal-Qaida calling on Muslims to kill Americans. They hear about verses in theQuran relating to subjects such as violence and loyalty, and they have realquestions about whether Muslims are commanded to be violent and aboutwhether Muslims can be loyal to a secular state like America. Unfortunately,these fears have led to discrimination and hate crimes against innocentAmerican Muslims.

American Muslims should go beyond condemnations of terrorism and sloganssuch as "Islam means peace." They need to address the real, post-9/11questions many Americans are asking. For example, Muslims should regularlyhold public forums where articulate Muslim scholars can provide detailedanalysis of all the verses at issue and answer every question that is asked.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Senator: Racial profiling ban is priority
January 29, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The repercussions of an airline's decision to remove a groupof Muslim imams from a commercial flight in Minneapolis could be heard inCongress this year, with civil rights groups pushing Democratic lawmakers toban racial profiling.

The incident happened in November and reinvigorated an old proposal that gotlittle attention from the GOP.

With Democrats now in control, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) made it clear theissue will be a priority for him.

''Many law-abiding African Americans, Arab Americans, Latino Americans andothers live with the fear of being racially profiled as they go about theireveryday lives,'' Feingold said.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


January 27, 2007



Last month, military prosecutors subpoenaed Sarah Olson, a 31-year-old writer and radiojournalist, asking her to appear at the court-martial of Lt. Ehren Watada,the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. Lt. Watada saidthat he could not participate in the Iraq War because it was "manifestlyillegal" and that his participation would make him a party to war crimes. Hehad spoken candidly to Olson, who had written about the case, andprosecutors have tried to conscript her into their effort to convict Lt.Watada, whose trial begins February 5.

Now, the Pentagon prosecutors are also trying to force testimony against Lt.Watada from Honolulu Star Bulletin reporter Gregg Kakesako, who also wroteabout the case; and freelance journalist Dahr Jamail and videographer SariGelzer, who had simply videotaped Lt. Watada's speech at a Veterans forPeace convention


Subject: The Supreme Court A DOCUMENTARY SERIES

Forwarded from Rusty Gordon and Davy Whims
The Whimsy Loops

The Supreme Court (A Documentary Series On PBS)

WXEL/Channel 42

January 31, 2007 9:00PM

February 1, 2007 1:00AM

Unprecedented Series Exploring History, Impact and Drama of America'sHighest Court Features Interviews With Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. andRetired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor; Actor David Strathairn Narrates:

It's known as the court of last resort, the Supreme Court, where nine judgesappointed for life make monumental decisions that govern our everyday lives,from the contents of the nation's daily newspapers to what we can do in theprivacy of our own homes.

With immense power and considerable mystery, the court of final appeal hashelped author the history of America. But even though it is one of thepillars of American democracy, the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution,no television series has ever fully profiled the inner workings of thecourt. Until now.

THE SUPREME COURT airs on PBS Wednesdays, January 31-February 7, 2007,9:00-11:00 p.m. ET. Actor David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck)narrates.


Thanks, Susan, for forwarding this link. Beautiful pictures of Tehran andIranians. My family and I lived in Tehran for 3 years in the 1970s. Thefrowing images of the religious leaders we always see aren't the memories Ihave of Iranians. These pictures capture the other part of Iran. I can'timagine turning Iran into another Iraq!

Ray - Ray's List

Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
Tri-County - chances@attglobal.net

Let us all look at President Bush's next potential victims.
Pass this to your friends and family.
Put a "face" on the coming atrocity.
Thank you, and thank you, Bob.

Sent: Monday, January 29, 2007 6:08 PM
Subject: images of Iran

here's what the country looks like now. (--I've been there a number oftimes.)



From John DeGregory
by MoveOn Political Action.]

On Thursday, February 1st - just days before the Senate votes on theescalation - there's going to be a massive virtual march on Washington.We're going to make 1 million contacts to Congress. Can you join us? Clickbelow to sign up to call your senators.

Just click here to start:



Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
Tri-County - chances@attglobal.net

US rejects Iran nuclear 'timeout'

The US has rejected a call from the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog for a"timeout" in the showdown with Iran over its nuclear programme.The US ambassador to the UN said the sanctions already being applied againstIran were not open to reinterpretation.

The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, said on Friday that Iran's nuclearwork and UN sanctions could be simultaneously stopped.

Some Western nations fear Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons.

Tehran insists its programme is for peaceful uses only.

'Not mature'

A UN resolution passed on 23 December imposed sanctions on Iran until itstops enriching uranium.

Enriched uranium is used as fuel for nuclear reactors but can also be usedto produce material for atomic weapons.

The acting US ambassador to the UN, Alejandro Wolff, said "there is a pathlaid out for suspension [of sanctions] and that is Iranian suspension oftheir enrichment activities to be responded to by the Council."

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