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3 November, 2012


Iran proposes TV live coverage of talks with western powers

­Iran proposes to broadcast live talks with Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), saying it “has nothing to hide” regarding its nuclear activity. The Islamic Republic’s stance in nuclear talks with the six major powers is “crystal clear”, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in an interview with Fars News Agency. However, the FM stressed that Iran’s proposal doesn’t give the group of six any pretext for undermining Tehran’s nuclear right.


Five plus years needed to end crisis – Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned it may take “five years or more” to overcome Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. Addressing her Christian Democratic Party Saturday, Merkel said the continent is on the right path, however, it will take “great efforts” and it is time for “a bit of strictness.”  Next week German Chancellor is to set meet her European counterparts, amongst them British Prime Minister David Cameron. Later in November EU leaders are to hold a summit to finalize the next seven-year budget.


Google agrees to receive Russia’s web-blacklist requests

The US web platform Google and its video hosting service YouTube, have agreed to be updated by the Russian authorities on web sites blacklisted in the country. Officials did not elaborate whether Google receiving updates would automatically mean sites would get banned from search results or banned altogether for users with Russian IP numbers. So far reasons for a website to get blacklisted in Russia include, distribution of child pornography, providing information on where to get or how to make illegal drugs or anything encouraging suicide. The law allowing the banning of sites with such content without a court warrant came into force on November 1.


Three Syrian tanks enter Golan Heights buffer zone – Israeli military

­Israel complained to the UN peacekeeping force after three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights, a military official told the AP on conditions of anonymity. The tanks crossed the border Saturday. According to the Israeli news site Ynet, the tanks and two armored personnel carriers drove a few kilometers from Israeli military positions. Israel is concerned that the ongoing civil conflict in Syria could spill over their border. Golan Heights are a plateau bordering south Syria seized by Tel Aviv from Damascus in the 1967 War. The UN has been deploying peacekeeping forces to the zone since 1974 to maintain the ceasefire. Despite the unsettled international status of Golan Heights, Israel has been constructing own settlements there since the 1970s.


Foreign companies in Britain owe around £5.5bn in taxes

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the UK's tax-collecting body, has identified 258 big multinational firms thought to have outstanding tax bills amounting to 5.5 billion pounds. It was reported in The Times newspaper. British businesses owned by foreign parent firms made up 44 per cent of all potential tax lost through underpayments by the kingdom's largest companies. In total, some 551 British and foreign big firms are thought to owe HMRC at total of 12.5 billion pounds (US$20 billion) in taxes.


Bomb kills police chief in Afghanistan

A roadside bomb in Kandahar province has killed the police chief of Dand district, Rahmatullah Khan. Ahmadulah Nazik, who is the administrator of Dand district in Kandahar province, said Khan died Saturday while trying to reach a police outpost under Taliban attack. Insurgents are increasingly targeting Afghan security forces amid the draw-down of foreign troops. The US-led NATO coalition is continuing its draw-down toward a planned withdrawal of the majority of combat troops in 2014.


Israel’s Barak rejects aide’s comments on Egyptian president

­Israeli Defense Minister Edud Barak disavowed on Saturday comments by a top aide, Amos Gilad, who said he doubted whether there would be any dialogue between Israel’s leaders and Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.  He also said that the Egyptian president heads “shocking dictatorial force”. “The comments by Amos Gilad do not reflect the policy of the Defense Ministry,” Barak said in a statement quoted on public radio. In comments broadcast on Friday, Gilad said there had been no dialogue between Israeli leaders and Morsi since the Egyptian president took office in June.


Four members of Japanese nuclear team took money from power industry

Four members of a six member Japanese government team tasked with setting safety standards for nuclear reactors received funding from the atomic energy sector or utility companies, the country's Nuclear Regulation Authority said Friday. The financial transactions were not illegal, but laxer standards would benefit the electric power industry, raising conflict of interest concerns following last year’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.


Taliban regional head, 5 others killed in suicide bombing in Pakistan

­The regional head of anti-Taliban militia has been killed alongside five others in an apparent Taliban suicide blast in northwest Pakistan on Saturday. Fateh Khan was also a prominent leader of the secular Awami National Party. The area has been in the hands of the military since 2009, however attacks still continue.


Tunisia to relinquish Benghazi embassy attacker to US

Tunisia is set to allow US authorities access to the man suspected to have participated in the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi that killed the American ambassador. The 28-year-old suspect was taken into custody in Turkey in October and subsequently sent back to his native Tunisia. American lawmakers have been pushing to interview Ali Ani al Harzi, stating that access to him is of “highest importance to members of Congress.”


Ancient Princess unearthed in Egypt

­The tomb of an Egyptian princess has been discovered in the Abu Sir region of Cairo, according to the country’s antiquities minister. Dating back to the fifth dynasty, which roughly equates to 2500 BC, Princess Shert Nebti’s tomb contains four limestone pillars with hieroglyphic inscriptions giving the princess’s name and her titles. The Czech Institute of Egyptology’s mission, funded by the Charles University of Prague and directed by Miroslav Bartas, was accredited with making the discovery.


One hostage killed as aid workers released in Niger

Five aid workers who were being held hostage in Islamist-controlled region of northern Mali have been released. A sixth hostage, who was shot when the workers were kidnapped a month ago in Niger, later died of his injuries, report local officials. Members of the aid group BEFEN, which helps impoverished families in the region, condemned their colleague’s death, calling it an “unjustifiable tragedy.”


Kalashnikov’s new AK-12 rifle to go through hardcore tests

­Assault rifle AK-12, the further development of the renowned Kalashnikov firearms family, has been handed over to Central Precision Engineering scientific-research institute to undergo first stage of tests. The weapon will be tasted for six months in conditions of extreme cold, desert heat, excessive moisture and dust conditions. The new rifle, with lessened recoil and increased fire accuracy, is expected to become the backbone a whole new family of military weapons. AK-12 production is set to begin in mid 2013.


Russian gymnast from Cirque du Soleil dies in Acapulco

­Russian citizen Anton Alferov, a member of Cirque du Soleil project, died in a hospital in Mexico’s  Acapulco under unexplained circumstances. According to Russian diplomatic sources, Alferov was detained by police for disorderly behavior two days prior to death. The Russian embassy in Mexico is busy verifying the circumstance of the death of the Russian citizen and the role of police in the incident.


Metro train crashes in Melbourne, 1 dead

­A Metro passenger train collided with a truck, causing three of its carriages to derail at a level crossing in Melbourne’s south-east suburb of Dandenong. A man in his 30s was found among the rumble in a critical condition and died at the scene. Eight other people had to be hospitalized, including the train driver, who was trapped in his cabin for an hour before a rescue team managed to cut its way through to him. The man was extracted from debris in a serious condition. The driver of the truck remained unhurt despite the rear of his vehicle being destroyed altogether. Police say it was fortunate the train was not operating in rush hour, otherwise the number of victims would have been much greater.


Egypt shelves unpopular curfew for 1 week

The Egyptian government has postponed plans on imposing a nationwide curfew on shops and restaurants by one week, mainly due to public pressure. Many questioned the benefits of the 10pm curfew, supposed to commence Saturday, which was devised to help save energy and ‘bring order to the street’, and has since sparked a broad backlash.


Syrian rebels kill Kurdish militia leader

Syrian rebels have killed a female Kurdish militia leader, in the restive city of Aleppo, AFP reports. The killing of Shaha Ali Abdu stresses growing tensions between rebel fighters and the Kurds in the north of the country. "Shaha Ali Abdu, also known as Nujeen Dirik, was killed early on Friday.  She headed a Kurdish popular defense unit that is part of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)," said the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. PYD is Syria's branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). "She was killed a week after she was captured by rebels," the monitoring group added.