April 9, 2013
IRAN
Earthquake kills 32 near nuclear plant

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake killed 32 people and injured 850 in a sparsely populated area in southern Iran on Tuesday, Iranian officials said. Authorities said it did not damage a nuclear plant in the region.

The report said the quake struck the town of Kaki, 60 miles southeast of Bushehr, a town on the Persian Gulf that is the site of Iran’s first nuclear power plant, built with Russian help.

The International Atomic Energy Agency indicated it was satisfied there was little danger.

Also Tuesday, Iran announced two key nuclear-related projects — one at Iran’s biggest uranium mine, at Saghand, and another at a uranium ore concentrate production plant in Ardakan. While neither development signifies a technological breakthrough, together they expand the country’s ability to extract and process uranium, which can be enriched for reactor fuel but also potentially for atomic weapons.

The announcement came just days after another round of talks with world powers seeking to limit Tehran’s nuclear program ended in a stalemate.

— Associated Press

AFGHANISTAN
2 U.S. troops killed in helicopter crash

A NATO helicopter crashed Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan, killing two American service members. The deaths raised to nine the number of Americans, including three civilians, killed in Afghanistan this month.

The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said the cause of the crash is under investigation, but initial reporting indicated there was no enemy activity in the area at the time.

The coalition did not immediately identify the nationalities of those killed, but a senior U.S. official confirmed that they were Americans.

A local official said the helicopter crashed in an agricultural field in the Pachir Wagam district of Nangahar province.

— Associated Press

Russia to file case against vote watchdog: Russia’s Justice Ministry said it is filing a legal case against Golos, the country’s only independent election-monitoring group, for allegedly failing to register as a foreign agent as required under a law passed last year. The case is to be presented to a court Wednesday. Golos director Liliya Shibanova told the state news agency RIA Novosti that the group has not received foreign funding since the law took effect, adding, “I don’t know on what basis they’re doing this.”

Jewish radical is sentenced in Israel: An Israeli court handed two consecutive life sentences to a U.S.-born Jewish extremist for the murder of two Palestinians and the attempted murder of others. Originally from Florida, Jack Teitel was living in the West Bank when arrested in 2009 and was convicted in January for the 1997 killings. In addition to his Palestinian victims, Teitel also targeted a dovish Israeli professor with a pipe bomb and messianic Jews who venerate Jesus.

Man fatally shoots 13 in Serbian village: A veteran of the 1990s Balkan wars shot dead 13 people, including his mother, his son and a 2-year-old child, in a dawn rampage through the village of Velika Ivanca in central Serbia. The man, identified as Ljubisa Bogdanovic, also shot his wife before turning the semiautomatic 9mm pistol on himself. Both were hospitalized in critical condition, police said.

Armenian president sworn in amid protests: Several thousand protesters demonstrated near the Armenian presidential palace after Serge Sarkisian was sworn in for a second term. Sarkisian easily won February’s election with nearly 59 percent of the vote, but U.S.-born runner-up Raffi Hovanessian, who won 37 percent of the vote, called the vote rigged, went on a hunger strike and led protests calling for Sarkisian to step down.

More radioactive water leaking at Japan’s Fukushima plant: Tokyo Electric Power Co., which previously said two of seven huge underground tanks at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been leaking since at least Saturday, said it has now detected a break in a storage tank taking radioactive water from one of the two leaking tanks. No contaminated water was believed to have reached the ocean, a spokesman said.

— From news services

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