World

Without explaining why they delayed the disclosure, scientists in Iran announced Monday that they've been conducting research into nuclear fusion for the past five years. They offered no details on the process, which can be applied to triggering a hydrogen bomb as well as to the promise of producing electricity. The announcement came as the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, prepare to meet later this week for a final vote on the package of incentives to be offered to Iran in hopes of persuading it to abandon its nuclear program - and punishing it if it does not. The Washington Post reported Monday that the Bush administration has developed a plan of tough financial sanctions to be applied to Iran if the diplomatic initiative fails and is lobbying European governments and Japan to adopt them.

Another round of emergency talks is scheduled for Tuesday in East Timor after a weekend of violence by gangs allied with dissidents from the tiny nation's Army. Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who has sent thousands of troops there in response to an appeal for help, described the situation as worse than the aftermath of the 1999 vote for independence from Indonesia. Reports from the capital, Dili, said houses were still being set on fire Monday following a rampage through the city the day before by gangs armed with spears, clubs, and machetes.

Despite stinging defeats at the hands of voters in France and the Netherlands last year, the European Union decided to try to resurrect its proposed constitution. Meeting near Vienna Sunday, EU foreign ministers agreed to keep debate on the controversial charter alive until after national elections in France and the Netherlands next May in the hope that the political climates there will have changed. The ministers reportedly also discussed the possibility of pushing through some provisions of the draft charter by dropping the name constitution and seeking approval in the form of a treaty. Fifteen EU members have ratified it so far, and Finland is scheduled to open voting later this week.

Senior members of the ruling junta in Burma (Myanmar) rejected international criticism for extending the house arrest of Nobel Peace Prize-winning democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, calling the matter "a domestic issue." Her detention was due to expire Saturday, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on junta chief Than Shwe by name to "do the right thing" and free her. Instead, security around her residence was reinforced and the detention was extended for another year. Since 2003, telephone service to her home has been denied and she has been allowed no visitors except for a maid and a physician.

Angry survivors tried unsuccessfully to attack the lone surviving terrorist involved in the 2004 public school massacre in Beslan, Russia, after a court sentenced him to life in prison. Nurpashi Kulayev deserves execution, the judge declared last Friday, but could only be returned to jail because of a moratorium on the death penalty. Kulayev admitted in the emotion- charged, year-long trial to taking part in the seizure of the school, but said he'd been forced by fellow Chechen radicals to participate and denied killing anyone.

Conservative President Alvaro Uribe won reelection in Colombia by a landslide, ending a series of triumphs by leftists elsewhere across South America. He had campaigned on the claim that he needed four more years to finish wresting control of the country from communist guerrillas and narcotics traffickers and was rewarded with 62 percent of the vote over leftist Sen. Carlos Gaviria in the most peaceful election in years. Earlier, leftists had won presidential elections in Venezuela, Argen-tina, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Bolivia.

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