World briefs (2/15/13)
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Horsemeat scandal grows
PARIS -- The government on Thursday pinned the bulk of the blame on a French wholesaler at the heart of a growing horsemeat scandal in Europe.
Police in Britain, meanwhile, announced the arrests Thursday of three men on suspicion of fraud at two meat plants inspected earlier this week by the country's Food Standards Agency.
The two separate developments were part of an escalating scare that has raised questions about food controls in the European Union.
Europol, the European Union police agency, is coordinating a broad continent-wide fraud investigation amid allegations of an international criminal conspiracy to substitute horse for more expensive beef.
No date set for nuke talks
VIENNA --The United Nations atomic watchdog failed to reach a deal with Iran that would give inspectors access to alleged nuclear facilities and couldn't agree on a date for a future meeting, the agency's top negotiator said Thursday.
A team of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors met Wednesday with Iranian officials to win access to people and places, including a military base in Parchin, about 12 miles southeast of Tehran. The IAEA says it was provided with intelligence that Iran may have built a blast chamber for testing nuclear-weapons components at the military location.
SARS-like virus on the rise
HONG KONG -- A new virus related to the one that caused SARS a decade ago was reported in an 11th person this week, spurring scientists to find the source of the lethal germ.
The latest case, identified in Britain, was probably the result of human to human transmission and increases the need for countries to watch for unusual patterns of respiratory disease, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. The infected person hadn't traveled recently and is related to a person whose infection was announced Monday.
S. Korea shows muscle
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea flexed its military muscle Thursday by staging large military drills and disclosing a new cruise missile capable of hitting any target in North Korea, as the North became increasingly candid about its intentions to build intercontinental ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.
"We no longer hide but publicly declare: If the imperialists have nuclear weapons, we must have them, and if they have intercontinental ballistic missiles, we must have them, too," the North's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the most authoritative mouthpiece for the North's leadership, said in a commentary on Thursday.
"Imperialist" is the word that North Korea uses to refer to the United States.
Malaysia encircles intruders
MANILA, Philippines -- Police in Malaysia were in a standoff late Thursday with at least 80 militiamen from the Philippines who were seeking to stay by right of historic claims on the island of Borneo, police said.
The men, who arrived by boat Tuesday in Sabah State, on the Malaysian side of Borneo, said they were descendants of the leaders of the Sultanate of Sulu, an area ruled from the southern Philippines that in the 18th century included swaths of the island.
Lahad Datu, the small village in eastern Malaysia where the men are, is less than two hours by speedboat from the southern Philippines, where several violent rebel groups operate.
Iranian commander buried
TEHRAN -- Iranian officials held a funeral Thursday for a Revolutionary Guards commander who they said was killed by supporters of Israel on his way to Lebanon from Syria.
Iranian authorities held the funeral for Gen. Hassan Shateri in a mosque in the Iranian capital, the state-run Fars news agency reported. Gen. Shateri was killed by "backers of the Zionist regime" as he travelled to Beirut from Damascus, Fars said.
Gen. Shateri headed an Iranian agency in charge of reconstructing areas of Lebanon that had been demolished during the 2006 war between the Islamic militant group Hezbollah and Israel, officials said.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published February 15, 2013 12:00 am