7:15 AM EDT, May 22, 2012
UN nuclear agency chief says deal reached with Iran on IAEA probe of country’s nuclear sites
VIENNA (AP) — Despite some differences, a deal has been reached with Iran that will allow the U.N. nuclear agency to restart a long-stalled probe into suspicions that Tehran has secretly worked on developing nuclear arms, the U.N. nuclear chief said Tuesday.
The news from International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano, who returned from Tehran on Tuesday, comes just a day before Iran and six world powers meet in Baghdad for negotiations and could present a significant turning point in the heated dispute over Iran’s nuclear intentions. The six nations hope the talks will result in an agreement by the Islamic Republic to stop enriching uranium to a higher level that could be turned quickly into the fissile core of nuclear arms.
Iran denies it seeks nuclear arms and says its reactors are only for power and medical applications.
By compromising on the IAEA probe, Iranian negotiators in Baghdad could argue that the onus was now on the other side to show some flexibility and temper its demands. Although Amano’s trip and the talks in Baghdad are formally separate, Iran hopes progress with the IAEA can boost its chances Wednesday in pressing the U.S. and Europe to roll back sanctions that have hit Iran’s critical oil exports and blacklisted the country from international banking networks.
It was unclear, though, how far the results achieved by Amano would serve that purpose, with his trip failing to seal a deal, despite his upbeat comments.
Major gatherings of world leaders conclude with no surprises but no mishaps
CHICAGO (AP) — A long weekend of economic and security summits was heavy on stagecraft and light on surprises.
The Group of Eight gathering in Camp David, Md., and the larger gathering of NATO leaders in Chicago yielded agreements worked out in advance and already made public. Lengthy statements summing up the summit to-do lists were largely written before the leaders arrived.
Although the gatherings occurred in the midst of a European financial crisis and looming threats in Syria, North Korea and Iran, any meaty discussions or disagreements took place out of earshot of the news media.
President Barack Obama, host for both events, came away with no unexpected accomplishments apart from concluding the gatherings without major mishap. There were no private conversations inconveniently picked up by an open microphone or tales of drunken romps with prostitutes by Obama’s Secret Service officers, as happened at the last two international gatherings Obama attended.
In the custom of such assemblies, however, just having the meetings at all counts as a plus.
Passenger train rams into parked freight train in southern India, killing 24, injuring dozens
HYDERABAD, India (AP) — A passenger train rammed into a parked freight train and caught fire before dawn Tuesday in southern India, killing at least 24 people and injuring dozens more.
Rescuers worked for about six hours to pull some 70 survivors from the twisted and smoldering wreckage near the southwestern border of Andhra Pradesh state.
At least 40 people were hospitalized with injuries, with about 10 in critical condition, local police chief Charu Sinha said.
The driver of the Hampi Express, upon seeing the cargo train stopped on the tracks ahead, slammed on the emergency brakes, which caused four of the Express cars to derail, officials said.
The collision then caused its first car to catch fire, burning to death 16 people who were inside, Sinha said.
Bomb apparently targeting restaurant in Syrian capital kills 5
BEIRUT (AP) — Activists and state media say a bomb has exploded in the Syrian capital, killing at least five people.
The blast appears to have targeted a restaurant, according to photographs released Tuesday by the state-run news agency SANA.
SANA and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said the blast occurred late Monday in the Damascus neighborhood of Qaboun.
Qaboun has been the site of anti-government protests since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in March 2011.
The tightly-controlled Syrian capital has been hit by a wave of explosions, mostly targeting security agencies.
As Obama criticism peaks, Romney’s Bain playbook unclear
NEW YORK (AP) — The core of his presidential candidacy under attack, Mitt Romney has yet to shape a playbook to defend a quarter-century in the business world that created great riches for himself and great hardship, at times, for some American workers.
Romney and his aides have struggled to respond consistently to intensifying criticism about his tenure at Bain Capital and how it would be reflected in his presidency. The lack of a cohesive message stems, in part, from Romney’s fundamental belief that any debate that puts the economy front and center is a win for Republicans. Public polling shows most Americans are not satisfied with the pace of the recovery under Obama’s watch.
The election, Romney aides say, will be a referendum on Obama’s economic leadership far more than a question of Romney’s business career, regardless of how much Democrats highlight that issue.
So far, Romney aides have let Democrats — led by President Barack Obama — do most of the talking.
Obama sharply attacked Romney’s background as a venture capitalist on Monday, offering his most expansive comments to date about how Romney’s role as founder of the Boston-based private equity firm doesn’t necessarily translate to the White House.
Born to run barefoot? Unshod trend is no panacea in avoiding injuries, foot specialists say
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Swept by the barefoot running craze, ultramarathoner Ryan Carter ditched his sneakers for footwear that mimics the experience of striding unshod.
The first time he tried it two years ago, he ran a third of a mile on grass. Within three weeks of switching over, he was clocking six miles on the road.
During a training run with a friend along a picturesque bike path near downtown Minneapolis, Carter suddenly stopped, unable to take another step. His right foot seared in pain.
“It was as though someone had taken a hammer and hit me with it,” he recalled.
Carter convinced his friend to run on without him. He hobbled home and rested his foot. When the throbbing became unbearable days later, he went to the doctor. The diagnosis: a stress fracture.
Rutgers webcam sentence renews questions about application of hate crime laws
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A week before Dharun Ravi was sentenced to jail for using a webcam to spy on a gay college roommate who later killed himself, supporters rallied in his support, arguing that New Jersey laws should be changed so that someone in his situation could not be found guilty of a hate crime.
In sentencing Ravi to 30 days in jail when he could have gotten years, the judge said he does not consider the case a hate crime, even though the most serious charge, bias intimidation, is the legal name for what most people — and legislators who have endorsed laws on the issue — call a hate crime.
“I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi,” Judge Glen Berman said Monday. “He had no reason to, but I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity.”
The dramatic and emotional saga reignited, in practical terms, some questions where philosophy eclipses law: What is hate, and how can it be a crime?
In this case, Clementi and Ravi were assigned at random to be roommates in their first year at Rutgers, New Jersey’s flagship public university, in the fall of 2010. By all evidence, they hardly talked. But Ravi told friends his roommate was gay — and he wasn’t happy about it.