MOSCOW -- Russian health regulators announced formidable new barriers to the import of meat from the United States late Friday, in a move some analysts saw as retaliation for U.S. legislation punishing Russian officials linked to human rights violations.
The new Russian regulation requires imported meat to undergo testing for and be certified free of ractopamine, which is added to animal feed in the U.S. to make meat more lean.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers ractopamine safe and does not test for it. The U.S. exports more than $500 million worth of beef and pork to Russia.
A notice published on the regulator's website Friday said the regulation would go into force immediately, and that during an unspecified "transition period" Russia will conduct its own testing. After the transition period ends, foreign countries will be required to certify their meat exports as ractopamine-free.
ROME -- Prime Minister Mario Monti said he intended to resign after losing the backing of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party, according to a statement issued late Saturday by the president's office.
Mr. Monti said that he would first try to muster the votes needed to pass a budget for 2013 but that the withdrawal of support last week by Mr. Berlusconi's People of Liberty party represented a "categorical motion of no confidence in the government," according to the statement.
Only hours earlier, Mr. Berlusconi said that he was ready to run for office again, promising to bring the change Italy needed.
KABUL -- President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that the suicide bombing that seriously wounded his nation's spy chief was planned in Pakistan, an accusation that further strained relations between the neighboring countries.
Mr. Karzai did not directly accuse the Pakistani government. Afghan officials often accuse Pakistan of meddling by supporting the Taliban and attempting to undercut the U.S.-backed government in Kabul. The Afghan intelligence chief, Asadullah Khalid, is a fierce critic of Pakistan.
HONG KONG -- North Korea said today that it might have to postpone a rocket launching it had previously said would take place as early as Monday, citing unspecified problems encountered by its technicians.
A spokesman for the Korean Committee of Space Technology offered no details in the remarks carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
The United States, South Korea and Japan have urged the North to cancel the launching, and China, the North's main ally, called on it to show "restraint."
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania -- The Southern African Development Community said it is seeking to raise $100 million toward the Dec. 14 deployment of an international "neutral force" in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the eastern city of Goma was under the control of rebels until last week.
"DRC has already deposited a contribution, and we urge other members to contribute too," Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete told reporters Saturday after a summit meeting there.
He said the group is also open to contributions from the international community.
-- Compiled from news services