LONDON — Iraq has notified the United Nations that Sunni militants seized nuclear material from a university in the northern city of Mosul last month as they advanced toward Baghdad, the nuclear regulatory body of the United Nations said Thursday
Gill Tudor, a spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is based in Vienna, said in a statement that the organization’s experts believed the material — thought to be uranium — was “low grade and would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk.”
Word of the seizure first emerged in a letter to the United Nations dated Tuesday and seen by reporters from Reuters, which quoted it as saying that “terrorists” from the insurgent Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS, had taken control of the materials.
Kurdish officials protest
BAGHDAD — Kurdish ministers said on Thursday they were suspending their attendance at meetings of Iraq's national caretaker government.
They said in a signed statement the move was in protest at Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's branding of the Kurdish capital of Arbil a center for terrorism.
A senior Kurdish official told Reuters that the officials would continue running their ministries, making clear that they "did not pull out from the government.”
Lebanese firm penalized
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration Thursday leveled sanctions against a Lebanon-based company it called a front for the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
It said the firm was used to buy equipment for surveillance drones flown over Syria and Israel.
The Treasury Department froze the U.S. assets of Stars Group Holding, a Beirut-based consumer electronics business.
Data storage legislation
LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled emergency legislation Thursday to compel phone companies and Internet providers to store their customers’ records, arguing that data needed to track down criminals and terrorists could otherwise be deleted.
The British move comes three months after the European Court of Justice ruled that forcing communications companies to keep records of their customers’ calls and Internet use violated rights to privacy and protection of personal data.
WASHINGTON — The cases of thousands of Afghan interpreters who worked with the U.S. military and hope to relocate to the United States are in limbo because the government will soon run out of visas designated for the resettlement program, State Department officials said Thursday.
Worried about the welfare of linguists who are under threat for their affiliation with the U.S. government, State Department officials are asking Congress to allow the issuing of more visas during the remainder of the fiscal year and to extend the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, which is set to expire in September.
World’s tallest statue
NEW DELHI — India has just presented its annual budget, which contains measures that seek to encourage growth and limit the deficit.
The equivalent of about $33 million also has been set aside to help build a 600-foot statue, with a museum, research center and an underwater aquarium, as a tribute to Sardar (Chief) Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the founding fathers of modern India.
As envisioned, the statue would be almost twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty and five times as tall as the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
— Compiled from wire reports