IRAN

Chlorine gas leak sickens dozens

A chlorine gas leak at a petrochemical center in southeast Iran sickened 70 workers, the state-run IRNA news agency reported Saturday.

Most of the workers at the Karun petrochemical center in the city of Mahshahr in southeast Khuzestan province were released after undergoing medical treatment.

Meanwhile, in the city of Ahvaz, also in Khuzestan, a fire at the Zergan power plant was ignited when a transformer exploded, IRNA reported.

The two incidents in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan come after a fire and explosion at a centrifuge production plant above Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility early Thursday. Officials said the cause of the fire at Natanz is known to officials but wouldn’t be immediately released for “security reasons.”

On Tuesday, an explosion from a gas leak in a medical clinic in northern Tehran killed 19 people.

— Associated Press

RUSSIA

Foreign Ministry denies G-7 talks

Russia is not in talks with Washington about its potential role at an expanded Group of Seven summit later this year, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Saturday. His comments to the Tass news agency countered those of U.S. Ambassador John J. Sullivan, who told RBC TV that Washington was “engaged with the Russian Foreign Ministry and with the other G-7 governments about whether there is an appropriate role for Russia at the G-7.”

President Trump in May announced he was postponing a G-7 summit until September or later and expanding the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India. Ryabkov, however, said that the absence of China from an expanded G-7 summit would make it impossible to discuss international issues.

— Reuters

Bombers attack 2 Somali cities, al-Shabab suspected: A suicide car bomber detonated explosives near the port in Mogadishu and a land mine in a restaurant on the outskirts of Baidoa killed four people, officials said. Ali Abdullahi, an official with the Southwestern regional state, said the mine was detonated by remote control as people were dining during the morning rush. Several others were wounded, he said. In Mogadishu, police said the car bomber attacked near the gates of the motor vehicle imports duty authority headquarters. Five police officers were wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group has targeted the cities in the past.

More than a dozen feared dead after floods hit Japan: Heavy rain in southern Japan triggered flooding and mudslides, leaving more than a dozen people presumed dead, about 10 missing and dozens stranded on rooftops waiting to be rescued, officials said. More than 75,000 residents in the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima were urged to evacuate following pounding rains overnight. NHK footage showed large areas of Hitoyoshi town in Kumamoto inundated in muddy waters that gushed out from the Kuma River. Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima later told reporters that 14 residents at a flooded elderly care home in Kuma village were presumed dead after being found during rescue operations.

N. Korea says there are no plans for summit with U.S.: North Korea reiterated that it has no immediate plans to resume nuclear negotiations with the United States unless Washington discards what it describes as "hostile" polices toward Pyongyang. The statement by North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui came after President Trump's former national security adviser, John Bolton, told reporters that Trump might seek another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as an "October surprise" ahead of the U.S. presidential election. Kim and Trump have met three times, but negotiations have faltered.

— From news services