Not even a day after agreeing to scrap its nuclear weapons program, North Korea made a U-turn, telling the US it should "not even dream" of such an outcome until after gift light-water reactors capable of generating electricity are in place. The Bush administration immediately rejected the demand. "This is not the agreement they signed," a State Department spokesman said. "We'll give them some time to reflect on the agreement they signed." But South Korea, another party to the six-nation talks that produced the agreement Monday, preferred to characterize the North's move as "a clarification" that lays "the groundwork for the next round of negotiations."
Iran appeared to be gaining the upper hand in the confrontation with Western governments over its suspected nuclear weapons program. With the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting on the matter, senior diplomatic sources said Russia, a board member, could not be persuaded to support referring the Iranians to the UN Security Council for the imposition of sanctions. China, which also has a vote, is opposed to referral as well, and both nations are permanent members of the Security Council, which means they can veto sanctions. Iran warned Tuesday that it "will review" its cooperation with the IAEA inspectors of its nuclear facilities in case of a referral to the Security Council.
To help address world concerns over the supply of oil as the winter heating season approaches, OPEC voted to supply buyers with an extra 2 million barrels a day, beginning Oct. 1. The gesture came as hurricane Rita caused another evacuation of oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. But the provision will last only three months, and economists said it won't change the fact that refineries cannot keep up with growing demand.
Members of parliament deepened the political woes of Ukraine President Viktor Yush-chenko, rejecting his candidate to replace ousted Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The nominee, Yuri Yekhanurov, fell three votes shy of approval. It was not clear whether Yush-chenko, who'd lobbied vigorously for confirmation, would send the nomination back for a new vote, keep Yekhanurov on in an acting capacity, or nominate a new candidate. Ukranians are scheduled to vote for a new government in March.
Tributes were coming from around the world for Simon Wiesenthal, who died Tuesday in Vienna. The founder of the center in Los Angeles that bears his name called him "the conscience of the Holocaust." An architect who survived five different German concentration camps, Wiesenthal rededicated himself after World War II to hunting down Nazi criminals and to promoting the Jewish experience as a lesson for humanity. Among other honors, he received a US Congressional Gold Medal and, from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, honorary knighthood.