Despite pledging to give UN inspectors access to an underground nuclear site, Iranian officials refused them entry last weekend, informed sources told Agence France-Presse. They said the inspectors would try again as early as Tuesday to visit the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz. The New York Times reported that Russia warned last week it would not supply nuclear fuel for Iran's Bushehr power plant until the enrichment is halted, as demanded by the UN Security Council.
North Korean delegates refused to attend Day 2 of negotiations over their government's nuclear weapons program. Sources said the North's representatives demanded that $25 million in assets held by a Macao bank be released first and that the transfer to a financial institution in Beijing be confirmed. It was not immediately clear how long the transfer would take.
Former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan was executed by hanging Tuesday, the fourth anniversary of the US military invasion. He was the fourth senior member of government to be put to death for their roles in the murders of 148 Shiite males in the town of Dujail in 1982. Their deaths were punishment for an assassination attempt against Saddam Hussein.
US Ambassador Christopher Dell walked out of a meeting to which foreign diplomats had been summoned in Zimbabwe after they were warned to "keep quiet" about the latest crackdown against opponents of the government. Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi admitted threatening the envoys with expulsion Monday and said "Zimbabwe will not allow any interference in its internal affairs." Dell reportedly sought to respond but was given no assurance that he'd be permitted to.
A new showdown loomed Tuesday in Quito, Ecuador, where 57 members of Congress vowed to fight through a police guard and claim their seats. The government said they'd be prevented from doing so. The legislators, all opponents of leftist President Eduardo Correa, refuse to accept their dismissal by a senior court earlier this month. The two sides are in a test of wills over Correa's desire for a national referendum on rewriting the Constitution to limit the influence of conservative parties. Last week, 20 of the legislators pushed past police, only to have to leave again for lack of a quorum.
Only the support of a separatist political party appeared to keep Canada's minority government from falling as it introduced its 2007 budget in Parliament Monday. The Bloc Quebeçois said it will vote for the $17 billion spending plan, a sizable chunk of which would go to the French-speaking province. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government needs help from oppo- sition parties to pass any legislation, and defeat on the budget would force an early election this spring. Harper's leading opponents, the Liberals and New Democrats, said they'd vote against the spending plan.
Fourteen suspects were under arrest in Panama after police, working with US narcotics agents, seized one of the largest hauls of cocaine on record. Most of those in custody were Colombian and Ecuadorean crewmen aboard a ship that was carrying 19.4 tons of the drug. Still more was thrown overboard to avoid detection, officials said Monday.
Emergency crews located only one survivor of the methane gas explosion Monday in a Siberian coal mine while confirming that the number of men killed had risen to 106. Four others were missing,, but collapsed roofs and pockets of gas were stalling efforts to find them. Ninety-three miners escaped the blast, the worst such accident in Russia in 10 years.
At least 62 residents died and 35 others were hurt as fire engulfed a nursing home in a town in southern Russia early Tuesday. Help reportedly didn't arrive for more than an hour because the nearest fire station was 32 miles away.