Iranian leaders scoffed at proposed new UN sanctions over their nuclear program, insisting that their government has "gone beyond its obligations" to disclose the full scope of activity, which it would not be pressured into stopping. Diplomats close to the International Atomic Energy Agency appeared to agree with the Iranian position, noting that senior IAEA officials had been permitted to see an advanced uranium-enrichment site. The latest proposed sanctions would not be "harsh," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
Stock indexes rose on Asian markets Wednesday in response to the latest cut in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve. The advance was led by Hong Kong's Hang Seng, which closed 10.7 percent higher, its biggest gain in a decade. The Sensex in India recovered almost half of its 12 percent loss earlier in the week. Australia's market ended a 12-day slump, closing up 4.4 percent. In Tokyo, the Nikkei index reversed a two-day decline, gaining 2 percent. Major European markets, however, were down by at least 3.7 percent at midday Wednesday.
Police in Kenya broke up another day of rioting, firing tear gas at young supporters of defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga as a funeral ceremony for victims of earlier trouble turned violent. But Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement said it would honor a request by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to hold no further protests while he conducts mediation efforts to try to end the three-week-old crisis. Above, a rioter in Nairobi retreats from the heat of a burning car.
Opponents of President Robert Mugabe scattered in Zimbabwe's capital Wednesday when police tear-gassed them as they walked to a protest rally in a sports stadium. Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tvangirai, who was taken from his home for questioning before the incident, said the police conduct proved that Mugabe is not committed to free and fair elections in March and vowed that the protests would intensify. Earlier Wednesday, the High Court ruled that the MDC could rally in the stadium, but police said attendees were violating an order not to march there.
A plane carrying Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Turkey's capital Wednesday for the first official visit by a Greek leader since 1959. His three-day stay was to include a speech to a business conference and meetings with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul, and the patriarch of the world's Orthodox Christians. Analysts speculated, however, that the trip would do little to resolve the numerous disputes between the two nations. Above, Erdogan (l.) guides Karamanlis to a welcoming ceremony.
To try to head off further rioting in France's immigrant-dominated neighborhoods, the government proposed an education and employment program for disaffected youths. It calls for 45,000 new jobs over the next three years, improved public transportation for poorly served areas, and tutors to help prepare undereducated youths for full employment. President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged not to "let anyone down" – but on condition that "those who've been given advice and training make the effort to get up in the morning." Leftists quickly attacked the plan as a "masquerade."
Police in China scored another success in an ongoing crackdown against online pornography, the Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday. It said 33 people were arrested in the city of Zhuhai and a website featuring live sexual performances was shut down. The raid came on top of the closure of 44,000 websites last year after President Hu Jintao said the Internet posed a danger to "social stability." The crackdown is due to continue until the Olympic Summer Games in Beijing close in September.