Sanctions hurting Iran

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Sanctions hurting Iran

WASHINGTON -- Stringent new sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European Union against Iran have curbed the country's oil exports by more than 1 million barrels of oil per day, according to new data released by the International Energy Agency.

The data paints the first detailed picture on how hard the sanctions have hit Iran: The agency estimates the country's oil exports have fallen by almost a third over the past three months, representing a substantial loss of income for the government.

The effect has been compounded, IEA said, because Iran's government was apparently caught off-guard by buyers' strict compliance with the sanctions and by new restrictions preventing shipping insurance for vessels delivering Iranian goods.

Syrian airstrikes kill 90

BEIRUT -- The Syrian military unleashed heavy airstrikes and artillery bombardments targeting rebel strongholds in the north on Tuesday, killing at least 90 people according to activists.

The airstrikes hit northern Idlib and Aleppo provinces, both bordering Turkey. Activists described them as some of the worst since rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad took over the key city of Maaret al-Numan in Idlib on Oct. 10.

Mr. Assad's regime has increasingly relied on warplanes in its struggle to crush rebels who have taken over territory in the north.

2 U.S. sailors arrested

TOKYO -- Two U.S. Navy sailors were arrested on suspicion of rape in Okinawa, an episode likely to further fan anger on an island increasingly outraged over the presence of a large U.S. base.

Jiji Press said the sailors, both 23, were arrested before dawn Tuesday. One has admitted to the rape, while the other denied involvement.

The small tropical island hosts more than half of the roughly 50,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan.

Smoking ban sought

MOSCOW -- Prime Minister Dmitry A. Medvedev voiced support Tuesday for a proposed ban on public smoking by 2015 in Russia, where close to a third of the population smokes.

He also proposed to ban advertising for cigarettes and increase the sales tax on them to a "substantial level."

In Russia a pack of cigarettes typically costs less than $2. Mr. Medvedev cast Russia's toll from smoking at 400,000 lives annually.

Extradition denied

LONDON--The British government, seeking to roll back its controversial treaty allowing expedited extraditions to the United States, on Tuesday blocked the handover of Gary McKinnon, 46, an autistic computer wiz who hacked U.S. military databases and moved to enact legislation that could complicate future attempts by American prosecutors to pursue alleged criminals in Britain.

The moves could ignite tensions in an otherwise close transatlantic relationship, and finds the Conservative-led British government responding to critics who have long argued against a "one-sided" 2003 treaty designed to make it easier for the United States to pursue terror suspects and other offenders on British soil.

2nd Man Booker Prize

LONDON -- Novelist Hilary Mantel won the 2012 Man Booker Prize on Tuesday for "Bring Up the Bodies," the second book in her trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's chief minister and master manipulator.

Ms. Mantel won the Booker in 2009, too, for the first book in the trilogy, "Wolf Hall." The prize is awarded annually to a novel written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, Ireland or the Commonwealth.

-- Compiled from news services

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