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World in brief

Iran restarted nuclear work on day incentives were offered

Compiled from Times wires
Published June 9, 2006

Iran restarted important nuclear activities on the same day this week that six world powers offered it incentives aimed at encouraging the complete suspension of the nuclear work, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Thursday.

On Tuesday, Iran restarted the pouring of a raw form of uranium into a set of 164 centrifuge machines to produce enriched uranium, said the nuclear monitoring agency based in Vienna.

That same day, Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, was in Tehran, where he presented Iranian leaders with an international package of incentives to help resolve the crisis caused by the country's nuclear program.

There was no explanation for Iran's decision. But it seemed to underscore its often-stated determination not to be bullied into accepting any deal requiring it to end activities related to uranium enrichment.

The decision also could be intended to win more concessions from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, which proposed the incentives package.

The revelation seems likely to stiffen the resolve of the United States and the Europeans in particular that a complete freeze of uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities is a condition for formal negotiations.

In April, Iran succeeded in enriching uranium to the low levels needed to fuel a nuclear reactor. Later that month, without explanation, it stopped introducing the raw form of uranium into the fast-spinning centrifuge machines that concentrate uranium into material that can fuel nuclear reactors or bombs. The empty machines continued to run, which is necessary to prevent them from wobbling and crashing.

Volcano's largest outburst sends Indonesians fleeing

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia - Mount Merapi spewed a column of gas and sent clouds of hot ash tumbling down its slopes Thursday, causing 15,000 villagers to flee. Some jumped into rivers to escape the heat, and others sped off in trucks.

"I thought this is it," said Udi Sutrisno, who grabbed a bag of clothes and abandoned his beloved farm with his wife and 10-year-old son as sirens wailed a warning. "We ran as fast as we could."

No injuries or deaths were reported.

Indonesia's most dangerous volcano has been venting steam and ash for weeks, and Thursday's outburst was the largest yet. Dark gray clouds of hot ash and gas rolled 3½ miles down the slope.

Historical group marks site of Hitler's bunker

BERLIN - The site of Hitler's bunker was marked publicly for the first time Thursday by a historical group trying to demystify one of the Third Reich's most burdened places.

The bunker's buried ruins lie below a parking lot, playground and adjacent apartment building. The Berlin Underworlds Association unveiled its new marker - a sign bearing graphics, photos and a chronology of events - at the edge of a sidewalk alongside the tree-dotted parking lot.

Former SS Staff Sgt. Rochus Misch, a Hitler bodyguard throughout the war, attended the unveiling and said: "History can be good or bad, but even if it's about a devil, people must be informed of history."

[Last modified June 9, 2006, 06:37:08]

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