All signs appeared to point to an Iranian rejection of a new offer of incentives for the suspension of uranium enrichment. A senior member of parliament said the proposal would be reviewed but that abandoning enrichment is a "red line" that cannot be crossed. A newspaper considered the mouthpiece of Iran's clerical leaders described it as "blackmail" since it is accompanied by the threat of new UN sanctions if turned down.Skip to next paragraph
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Convoys of Iraqi tanks and troops were arriving in the southern city of Amara for the start of the government's latest crackdown against Shiite militias. The mission, expected to begin Thursday, will focus on hundreds of "outlaws, criminal gangs, and those who violate security," its commander told reporters. US troops would be available to provide support if needed, he said. The Defense Ministry also announced it will assume responsibility for its 10th province, Qadisiya, next month.
Despite the rejection by voters in Ireland of the latest proposed European Union charter, proponents vowed to press ahead with ratification efforts. EU foreign ministers are to gather Monday to discuss strategies for when Britain and the Czech Republic act on the new charter. Irish voters dealt the so-called Treaty of Lisbon a 53.4 percent-to-46.6 percent defeat. It is due to take effect on Jan. 1 but first must be ratified by all 27 EU members. Only 14 have done so to date.
Security was tight, but ceremonies were low key in Kosovo, whose new Constitution took effect Sunday, giving the Albanian majority full control over government. But to point up continued efforts to undermine independence, the highest-ranking Serb official in Kosovo boycotted the ceremony, visiting the divided city of Mitrovica instead. The UN has administered Kosovo for nine years but is due to turn over its "supervised independence" duties to the EU.
Antigovernment rebels in eastern Chad attacked a town where thousands of refugees from Darfur are sheltered, then left after a heavy skirmish with its defenders and EU troops monitoring the area. At least 24 people were wounded. Rebel chief Aboud Mackaye claimed the goal of his forces was to capture the capital, N'Djamena, by Sunday if possible. In February, the rebels managed to reach President Idriss Deby's palace before being pushed back .
Farmers in Argentina fought with military police over the weekend as they sought to block highways in a fourth resumption of their strike against a tax increase on exports. Organizers said the latest protest would run through Wednesday in the most serious challenge so far to leftist President Cristina Fernandez. Her government has refused to rescind the tax increase, which she says is aimed at generating new revenue to build needed housing, hospitals, and roads.
Aftershocks were hampering search and rescue efforts in northern Japan following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake early Saturday – the strongest there in years. At least nine people were killed, more than 200 others were hurt, property damage was heavy, and electrical service was cut to tens of thousands of residents. Authorities worried that a dam may have been cracked in the quake and could give way without warning.
Twenty-seven workers died and seven others were trapped after an explosion inside a coal mine in northern China's Shanxi Province, reports said Sunday. Another 24 escaped or were rescued. The mine recently passed a safety inspection, the reports said, but was using substandard explosives.