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Iran tells U.N. watchdog to remove surveillance

By wire services
Published February 7, 2006

VIENNA - Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove surveillance cameras and agency seals from sites and nuclear equipment by the end of next week in response to referral to the U.N. Security Council, the agency said Monday.

Iran's demands came two days after the IAEA reported Tehran to the council over its disputed atomic program.

In a confidential report to the IAEA's 35-member board on Monday, agency head Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran also announced a sharp reduction in the number and kind of IAEA inspections, effective immediately. The report was made available to the Associated Press.

Relatives of victims storm ferry company's office

SAFAGA, Egypt - Hundreds of relatives of passengers on a ferry that sank in the Red Sea attacked the offices of the ship's owners Monday, throwing furniture into the street and tearing down the company's sign. Riot police fired tear gas to restore order.

Family members also tried to storm a hospital in Hurghada after it displayed photographs of bodies retrieved from the sea. They told authorities they wanted inside to identify the bodies.

The relatives are desperate to know whether their loved ones were among the more than 1,000 who drowned and they say El Salam Maritime still has not released the victims' names. They also accuse Egypt's government of mishandling the rescue.

The Al-Salaam Boccaccio 98 sank in the Red Sea early Friday on its way from Saudi Arabia to Safaga.

The governor of Red Sea province, Bakr al-Rashidi, said Monday that only 388 of the more than 1,400 people on board were known to have survived. This was 13 people fewer than the survivor total given by Egyptian police on Sunday, but there was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.

Royal Air Force clears controller in U.S. deaths

LONDON - An air traffic controller guiding two U.S. Air Force pilots who crashed into a Scottish mountaintop made serious mistakes but was not directly to blame for their deaths, a British military investigation concluded Monday.

Lt. Col. Kenneth Hyvonen, 40, of Michigan and Capt. Kirk Jones, 27, of Arizona were killed when they crashed in March 2001.

A U.S. Air Force inquiry ruled that the crash followed a breakdown in communication with an air traffic controller, but a report released Monday by Britain's Royal Air Force said he had not directly caused the accident.

In 2003, a jury of six senior officers cleared RAF Leuchars air base controller Flight Lt. Malcolm Williams of causing the deaths.

Williams was found to have directed Hyvonen to descend to 4,000 feet over the Cairngorms, even though the minimum safe altitude was 6,500 feet.

The report concluded that "the controller's actions were not the cause of the accident, though they made it very likely to occur."

Costa Rica plans recount in close election

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Oscar Arias, a former president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, held a razor-thin lead Monday over a lesser known economist who opposes ratifying a regional free-trade accord with the United States.

Arias, a supporter of the commercial pact, had 40.5 percent of the vote from Sunday's balloting to 40.2 percent for Otton Solis, with votes from 88 percent of the polling places counted. Twelve other candidates split much of the rest.

The counting was suspended Monday night with Arias just 3,250 votes ahead, and a manual recount was planned for today.

[Last modified February 7, 2006, 01:13:13]

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