UPPER HOUSE APPROVES GLOBAL CLIMATE ACCORD
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's upper house of parliament today ratified the Kyoto Protocol and sent it to President Vladimir Putin for the final stamp of approval that would bring the global climate pact into force early next year.
The Federation Council voted, 139-1 with one abstention, to endorse the protocol, which aims to stem global warming by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The vote came four days after the lower house ratified the treaty.
Without Russia's support, the pact -- which has been rejected by the United States and Australia -- cannot come into effect. It needs ratification by 55 industrialized nations accounting for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 1990.
"Without Russia's participation, the world community's efforts for many years to establish a global mechanism for solving environmental problems would be doomed to failure," Mikhail Margelov, the Kremlin-linked chief of the council's foreign affairs committee, told lawmakers.
IRAN REFUSES TO HALT URANIUM ENRICHMENT
VIENNA, AUSTRIA (AP) -- Iran today ruled out suspending its uranium enrichment program as a second round of talks with European negotiators failed to produce an agreement aimed at avoiding a showdown and the possible threat of U.N. sanctions.
Britain, France and Germany have offered Iran incentives -- a trade deal and peaceful nuclear technology -- in return for assurances that Iran will stop enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear energy and weapons.
"Total suspension will not be accepted under any circumstances," said Sirus Naseri, a member of the Iranian delegation that met in Vienna with the European envoys. But he said Iran was still trying to work out a compromise with the Europeans, with another meeting to be held soon.
The deal aims at easing fears in the United States and Europe that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Diplomats called the EU package a "last chance" offer to Iran ahead of a key Nov. 25 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which could result in Iran's defiance being reported to the U.N. Security Council, which can impose sanctions.
3 U.S. TROOPS, 1 AFGHAN HURT IN CONVOY BOMBING
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (AP) -- A bomb hit a U.S. military convoy in southeastern Afghanistan today, injuring three American troops and an Afghan soldier, the military said.
The bomb exploded near the injured soldiers' Humvee near Qalat, the capital of Zabul province, a U.S. military statement said.
Two of the U.S. soldiers were evacuated to the American base at Kandahar for treatment. One had shrapnel injuries and one had a possible concussion. Both were in stable condition, the statement said.
The third American and a soldier from the Afghan National Army were treated at the scene for cuts.
The United States has some 17,000 troops in Afghanistan hunting remnants of the Taliban regime ousted three years ago as well as al-Qaida militants and followers of renegade warlords.
The soldiers come under regular attack in areas including Zabul, a lawless province on the Pakistani border, where U.S. forces say they have killed scores of militants this year.