By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran is trying to accelerate its uranium enrichment program, a U.N. nuclear report showed, but experts said it was unclear when Tehran's new machines could start operating and how efficiently they would work. The Islamic state's progress in introducing next-generation centrifuges is closely watched in the West and Israel as it would enable Tehran to speed up accumulation of material that could be used to build atomic bombs. Iran denies any such aim. …
Read more here: Iran seeks to speed up nuclear activity, capacity unclear
By Siva Sithraputhran KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian police arrested several opposition politicians and activists on Thursday, launching a crackdown on dissent three weeks after an election exposed deep divisions in the country and sparked a series of opposition protest rallies. Police also raided the offices of opposition newspapers and seized thousands of copies of their publications, according to online media reports. …
Read more here: Malaysia police arrest opposition figures in crackdown
MOSCOW (AP) — Beatles frontman Paul McCartney has asked a Russian judge to release members of the Pussy Riot punk group from prison.
Read more here: Paul McCartney writes in support of Pussy Riot
By Kevin Yao BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s plan to spend $6.5 trillion on urbanization to bolster the economy is running into snags, sources close to the government said, as top leaders fear another spending binge could push up local debt levels and inflate a property bubble. Premier Li Keqiang has rejected an urbanization proposal drafted by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), seeking changes to put more emphasis on economic reform, according to the sources, who are familiar with the matter. …
Read more here: Exclusive :China urbanization plan hits roadblock over spending fears-sources
NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Attackers in Niger detonated two car bombs, one in the city of Agadez where a military barracks was targeted and one in Arlit where a French company operates a uranium mine, injuring more than a dozen people.
Read more here: Simultaneous car bomb attacks in Niger
PARIS (Reuters) – Areva said on Thursday that 13 staff had been injured in an attack at its Somair mine near Arlit in northern Niger. The French nuclear reactor maker condemned what it called a “despicable attack” and said it was working closely with the Niger and French forces. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by John Irish)
Read more here: Areva says 13 staff injured in Niger attack
BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese security official says five people have been killed in overnight gunbattles between opponents and supporters of the Syrian regime in the Lebanese city of Tripoli.
Read more here: 5 dead in Lebanon clash of Assad foes, backers
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian authorities detained three anti-government figures, charged a student activist with sedition and seized hundreds of opposition newspapers Thursday, raising political tensions after recent national elections triggered claims of fraud.
Read more here: Malaysian charged with sedition, 3 more arrested
TOKYO (AP) — Keeping the meltdown-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in northeastern Japan in stable condition requires a cast of thousands. Increasingly the plant's operator is struggling to find enough workers, a trend that many expect to worsen and hamper progress in the decades-long effort to safely decommission it.
Read more here: Stricken Japan nuke plant struggles to keep staff
By Andrei Khalip LISBON (Reuters) – President Anibal Cavaco Silva thanked Portugal's patron saint for a long-delayed approval of Lisbon's bailout review last week, but the head of state could claim a share of the credit for himself. The conservative president's role has grown far beyond his figurehead status in the past few weeks. With the president on his side, Prime Minister Passos Coelho appears immune to opposition calls for an early election, despite a teetering coalition, record-low popularity in opinion polls and protests and strikes promised for late May and June. …
Read more here: Portuguese leaders build faith in bailout exit