LONDON -- Iranian state television said Monday that the country's scientists had succeeded in sending a monkey into space "as a prelude to sending humans."
Press TV, the state-run satellite broadcaster, said the animal was launched in a space capsule code named Pishgam, or Pioneer.
The development coincided with continued stalemate in the unrelated Western effort to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program, which Western powers maintain is designed to create nuclear weapons technology -- an assertion Iran denies.
Press TV quoted the director of the Iran Space Agency, Hamid Fazeli, as saying that Iran would send a human into space within the "next five to eight years," and that Iran would send its Sharifsat satellite into orbit before the end of March.
Posthumous trial sought
MOSCOW -- Russia took the unusual step of attempting to put a dead man on trial Monday, when it tried to open posthumous proceedings against Sergei Magnitsky, the whistle-blowing lawyer who died three years ago in a Moscow jail cell.
The effort to prosecute Magnitsky stoked tensions in a case that has already damaged Russia's image abroad and strained relations with the United States.
Authorities said he was detained on tax evasion charges and died of a heart attack. His advocates say that he was jailed for investigating hundreds of millions of dollars possibly taken by the authorities in a fraudulent tax case, and that he was beaten and denied medical care.
Last month, the U.S. Congress passed a law barring anyone linked to Magnitsky's imprisonment or the initial fraud from entering the United States. In retaliation, Russia's Parliament in December prohibited Americans from adopting Russian orphans.
Bodies found in well
MEXICO CITY -- Bodies found Sunday dumped in a well in northeastern Mexico may be those of the 18 musicians and staff of a band that went missing after a Thursday night performance, authorities said Monday.
The members of Kombo Kolombia were reported missing Friday by family members who said they lost contact with the group after it performed at a bar along a highway about 30 miles north of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon state.
Japan fault line concerns
TOKYO -- An earthquake fault line under Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tsuruga nuclear plant may be active, a report commissioned Monday by the Nuclear Regulation Authority has concluded, raising the likelihood it will be permanently shut.
The Tsuruga atomic station is one of six nuclear plants being investigated for active fault lines as part of a safety overhaul following the Fukushima disaster. Laws in Japan, which experiences about 10 percent of the world's earthquakes, prohibit building reactors on active faults.
Court victory for Iceland
BRUSSELS -- Iceland on Monday won a landmark case at a European court, ending an acrimonious legacy from the collapse of its banking system more than four years ago.
The court upheld the country's refusal to promptly cover the losses of British and Dutch depositors who had put more than $10 billion in Icesave, the bankrupt online offshoot of a failed Icelandic bank.
-- Compiled from news services