Printed on: November 26, 2013

World news briefly


Syria talks aim to build on Iran deal

BEIRUT (AP) -- Within 24 hours of an interim deal aimed at reining in Iran's nuclear program, world powers raised hopes Monday for the first face-to-face talks to end the Syrian civil war as the United Nations called the warring parties to the table.

But huge gaps remain. The opposition remains vague on whether it will even attend the Geneva conference called for Jan. 22, and both sides hold fundamentally different visions on the very basics, particularly the future role of President Bashar Assad.

Nevertheless, Monday's announcement of a date for the talks raised hopes that a deal could be reached to end the nearly 3-year-old civil war in Syria that has killed more than 100,000 people.

Law invoked amid Thailand protests

BANGKOK (AP) -- Thailand's prime minister invoked an emergency law Monday

after demonstrators seeking to remove her from office occupied parts of the finance and foreign ministries.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced that the Internal Security Act would cover all of Bangkok and large parts of surrounding areas. Three especially sensitive districts of the capital have been under the law since August.

The law authorizes officials to seal off roads, take action against security threats, impose curfews and ban the use of electronic devices in designated areas.

Egypt defends law restricting protests

CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptian government officials on Monday defended a new law that sharply restricts the right to protest as needed to bring security, trying to counter a storm of criticism from allies and opponents alike who say the rules stifle freedom of expression and endanger the country's democratic transition.

The law bans public gatherings of more than 10 people without prior government approval, imposing hefty fines and prison terms for violators. It also empowered security agencies to use force to break up protests.

Anti-gov't protests continue in Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko declared a hunger strike Monday to push the government to sign a landmark integration deal with the European Union. Thousands rallied in the Ukrainian capital against the government's decision to freeze the agreement.

The previous day saw a demonstration of about 50,000, the largest since the Orange Revolution in 2004.

After years of preparations for a landmark deal with the EU, President Viktor Yanukovych's government announced abruptly last week that it was putting the agreement on hold and that Ukraine would focus on improving ties with its giant neighbor, Russia.