Title: Iran, U.N. Nuclear Agency To Resume Talks In Dec
November 9, 2012

Abstract: Iran will return to talks with the U.N. nuclear agency next month, both sides said on Friday, the latest push to seek a peaceful end to a dispute that has raised fears of a new Middle East war.

The news came days after U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election, which some analysts say may give fresh impetus to efforts to end a decade-old standoff with a country the West accuses of working towards a nuclear weapons capability.

In a reminder of how tensions could escalate, the Pentagon said on Thursday that Iranian warplanes had fired at a U.S. drone in international airspace last week and Iran said it had chased off an "unidentified" aircraft that had crossed its borders.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it hoped the talks in Tehran on Dec. 13 would produce an agreement to allow it to resume a long-stalled investigation into possible military aspects of Iran's nuclear programme.

The agency says it has "credible information indicating that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device" and wants Tehran to give it access to sites, officials and documents to clarify the issue.

Iran denies it wants nuclear bombs and has repeatedly ruled out stopping its atomic activities.

A series of meetings since early this year, the last one in August, failed to make concrete progress.

Israel, assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, has threatened military action if it looks like Tehran is close to getting nuclear weapons capability.

Washington gave the news of the new talks a cautious welcome.

"We will see how this round goes. In the past Iran has been unwilling to do what it needs to do despite the best efforts of the IAEA. But we commend the IAEA for keeping at it and we call on Iran to do what it needs to do to meet the international community's concerns," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news briefing.

A Western diplomat was also sceptical, noting that the talks would only take place after the next meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board.

"So it is the usual scenario: defer criticism now by promising something later. Something that has failed to materialise the last four times," the envoy said.

Initial Step?
The IAEA's talks with Iran are separate from Tehran's nuclear discussions with six world powers - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - which resumed in April but have also so far failed to reach any breakthrough.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton - who represents the powers in talks with Iran - sees the new IAEA-Iran meeting as long overdue.

It "could be an initial step on the path to resolve outstanding issues," Maja Kocijancic, Ashton's spokeswoman, said, adding that Iran had so far failed to cooperate in substance.

She reiterated concerns about the Parchin military site, which the IAEA wants to visit as part of its inquiry and where Western diplomats suspect Iran is now trying to clean up any evidence of past illicit nuclear-related activity.

The IAEA mission is likely to be headed by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, the chief U.N. nuclear inspector, diplomatic sources said.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, later confirmed to Reuters that his country would hold talks with the U.N. agency next month.

Years of talks and sanctions have failed to end the dispute.

But, now assured of a second term, Obama, who has so far resisted calls in the United States and Israel for an attack on Iran, appears free to pursue a diplomatic settlement while threatening yet heavier sanctions if Tehran does not bend.

The United States and its allies want Iran to curb its uranium enrichment programme. Iran, one of the world's largest oil producers, says the West must first lift the increasingly harsh sanctions (Reuters, 2012).

Title: Family Of Dr. Stabbed On Mag Mile Issues Statement
November 19, 2012
NBC Chicago

The family of 67-year-old Dr. Mir Shah watched in horror as their loved one struggled with an attacker Saturday night.

"This was an enjoyable night out for the family turned horribly tragic, but it could have been much worse," the family issued in a statement Sunday afternoon. "Dr. Shah was senselessly attacked last night but managed to escape and we were fortunate to be able to summon help and to be so close to a world-class facility in Northwestern Hospital."

Shah, a radiation oncologist, was downtown with more than a million people to watch the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, when he was attacked inside of a bathroom at the Westin Hotel.

His family said they had just been seated for dinner at "The Grill" when he excused himself to use the restroom. That is when the assailant made his move.

Shah was punched, stabbed and struggled to escape for help. His family said they found him with a bruised face and bloody wound in his neck. They applied pressure to the wound and tried to stabilize him.

Meanwhile, a bartender saw the suspect run through the restaurant and immediately followed him.  The assailant turned and cut him too. A restaurant manager who did not want to release the bartender's name stated his employee made a bold move, adding that in moments like this normal people do extraordinary things.

Both Shah and the bartender were taken to Northwestern Hospital to be treated. Shah had surgery this morning and is expected to fully recover. The bartender received some stitches.

Police on Monday charged 56-year-old Jimmy Harris with attempted first-degree murder, unlawful restraint and two counts of aggravated battery in connection with the attack (NBC Chicago, 2012).

Title: New Idea Of Halting Militancy: UK’s Lord Gilbert Suggests Govt To Drop Neutron Bomb On Pak-Afghan Border
November 23, 2012
News Tribe

London: Britain’s House of Lords member Lord Gilbert on Friday advised his government to drop a neutron bomb in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, in order to eliminate the safe heavens of militant outfits.

During a debate over eliminating nukes across the world, the member of the upper house of the UK’s parliament said that the borders could be made safe after dropping ERRB warheads commonly known as neutron bombs in the respective areas.

“Your Lordships may say that this is impractical, but nobody lives up in the mountains on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan except for a few goats and a handful of people herding them. If you told them that some ERRB warheads were going to be dropped there and that it would be a very unpleasant place to go, they would not go there. You would greatly reduce your problem of protecting those borders from infiltration from one side or another.”

According to reports, the members of the House of Lords were shocked after listening to an unexpected speech from Gilbert. The parliament members heavily criticized Gilbert and rejected his suggestion saying that it was not possible to drop a bomb in the Pak-Afghan border areas.

Labour former defence secretary Lord Browne of Ladyton rounded on Lord Gilbert over his remarks, accusing him of being at his “most challenging and contrarian”.

Cabinet Office spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire said the Government did not share Lord Gilbert’s “rumbustious” views on the sensitive issue. “The UK retains a firm commitment to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” he said. “Our aim is to build an international environment in which no state feels the need to possess nuclear weapons – an environment that will allow nuclear states to disarm in a balanced and verifiable manner.”

It is to be mentioned here that Taliban and al-Qaeda militants have been using the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan as safe heavens to launch attacks on US, Nato and Afghan forces in Afghanistan and on Pakistani law enforcing authorities inside Pakistan (News Tribe, 2012).