World Briefs / Nobel winner pushes ban

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OSLO, Norway -- The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons demanded that the six nations, including Israel, that have yet to adopt the convention banning the use of the arms to join without delay or conditions.

"There has long been no reasonable defense for not doing so -- all the more now in the wake of the robust international reaction to recent use of chemical weapons," Ahmet Uzumcu, OPCW director general, said Tuesday in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo.

The intergovernmental watchdog was formed in 1997 to enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the development, production, stockpiling and use of such weapons of mass destruction.

Non-members of the OPCW include Israel and Myanmar, which have yet to ratify the convention, and Angola, Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan, which have "neither signed nor acceded" to the convention. Syria became the latest member in October.

'Round table' convened

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's embattled president, Viktor Yanukovych, who is facing the dual problems of a financial crisis and protesters in a central square in the capital, convened Tuesday what his government is calling a round-table discussion of cultural figures and former politicians.

Before the talks, Mr. Yanukovych strengthened his negotiating position by boosting the police presence in Kiev. While the main demonstration continued in the plaza, Independence Square, on Tuesday, the police dislodged protesters from several smaller outlying camps they had erected in a district of government buildings, largely without violence.

Thai leader won't resign

BANGKOK -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday rejected demands by anti-government protesters that she step aside before the country's February elections.

There is no constitutional provision for Ms. Yingluck, who announced Monday that she would call fresh elections, to leave office before the February elections. Thai law says that she and her Cabinet must serve as caretakers until a new government is elected.

Gunmen abduct lawyer

NABEK, Syria -- Masked gunmen abducted a leading Syrian human rights lawyer and three other prominent activists in a rebel-held Damascus suburb Tuesday in a new sign that al-Qaida linked militants who have joined the fight against President Bashar Assad are trying to silence rivals in the opposition movement.

Razan Zaytouni, one of the most outspoken critics of President Bashar Assad as well as Islamic militants who have gained increasing sway over the fight to oust the government, was seized along with her husband and two other colleagues from her office in Douma.

No group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping,.

Faulty breast implants

MARSEILLE, France -- Jean-Claude Mas, a French businessman, was convicted of fraud and sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday for filling tens of thousands of breast implants with industrial grade silicone. But he left the courthouse freely after lodging an appeal, and thousands of women will have to wait longer to discover if they will receive damages.

The ruling in the criminal case by a court in Marseille, which has all the trappings of a class-action lawsuit, ordered up to $55 million in damages paid to a fraction of the 125,000 women worldwide who received the implants.


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