Nuclear talks slow going
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana ruled out yesterday any "great breakthrough" in his talks with Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani on Tehran's controversial nuclear program. "We had a constructive meeting [but] we will not be in a position to make a great breakthrough during this visit," he told reporters. Solana and Larijani arrived on Wednesday and had a five-hour meeting about ending the stand-off resulting from Iran's defiance of UN Security Council demands for it to stop enriching uranium. Speaking to reporters late on Wednesday, Larijani reported some progress, telling reporters: "There are ideas on the table ... In about two weeks time again we would be having some more talks."
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Blaze halts trains
Trains stopped running and more than 200 people evacuated yesterday because of a large fire near railway tracks in south London, the fire brigade and Southeastern trains said. "A range of buildings of one or two floors in an area of 150 by 50m, 60 percent of buildings are alight," a fire brigade spokeswoman said. The fire took place in Lewisham. The spokeswoman said a 200m exclusion zone had been thrown up around the area and about 200 people evacuated by police. No one was hurt and about 40 firefighting trucks were on the scene.
■ UNITED STATES
Calls for Wolfowitz to quit
Calls for the resignation of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz grew on Wednesday as the European Parliament voiced its displeasure over allegations that Wolfowitz showed favoritism in arranging a promotion and pay package for his girlfriend. The demand by the EU's legislature that the development chief step down comes as a special panel at the bank is investigating whether Wolfowitz violated any bank rules in his handling of the promotion of bank employee Shaha Riza to a high-paying job at the State Department in 2005. The World Bank's 24-member board will ultimately decide what action, if any, to take.
■ UNITED STATES
Cops nab Captain America
A man dressed as the comic book hero Captain America was arrested after allegedly grabbing a woman inappropriately at a Florida bar and fighting with her boyfriend. Raymond Adamcik, 54, was arrested on Saturday night. He later tried to flush marijuana he had likely hidden in his costume down a toilet at a police station, police spokeswoman Jill Frederiksen said. She said a number of patrons at the bar were dressed in costumes as part of a bar crawl. A handful of people dressed as Captain America were asked to step outside so the woman could identify the individual, Frederiksen said.
AIDS expert speaks out
One of Africa's leading AIDS specialists, Souleymane Mboup, has accused the Gambian government of covertly obtaining blood tests from his laboratory to try to convince the world of the efficacy of the Gambian president's herbal remedy for the disease. President Yahya Jammeh has been treating people with HIV in the compound of the presidential palace with herbal rubs and drinks, which he claims are a cure. To the alarm of the International Aids Society (IAS) his patients have stopped taking antiretroviral drugs.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete