World briefs: Iran nuclear talks hit snag

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ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Iran and six world powers weren't able to seal a deal to curb the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program on the first of two days of talks, which ended with the two sides still far apart.

Diplomats from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China met with Iranian officials for more than five hours Friday. The Iranians met separately with the Chinese, Russian, British and German delegates, and the full group will convene again today, officials said.

Iran's deputy negotiator said that his side had offered "practical" suggestions to resolve the nuclear dispute.

Western diplomats complained that Iran failed to respond to the specifics of a confidence-building proposal made six weeks ago that would ease some economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran's curbing uranium enrichment.

U.N. suspends aid in Gaza

JERUSALEM -- The U.N. Relief and Works Agency has indefinitely suspended food distribution in the Gaza Strip after protesters angry over the curtailing of a cash-assistance program for the poor stormed the agency's main compound in Gaza City on Thursday, an official said Friday.

"There will be no food tomorrow," said Adnan Abu-Hasna, a spokesman for the agency, which provides nutrition, education, health and other services to some 815,000 Palestinian refugees, nearly half of Gaza's population. "The food-distribution centers and the relief offices will be closed in the coming days unless there's a real security being provided to the life of our staff, because there is a great concern about their safety."

Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, told reporters Friday that his government would pursue "urgent and quick talks" with the agency in hopes of restoring the food distribution and other services.

45 die in building collapse

NEW DELHI -- A multi-story building under construction has collapsed near Mumbai, killing at least 45 people and injuring 70, police said Friday.

Emergency and police teams rescued about 50 people from the rubble of the seven-story building, which collapsed in the Thane area on the northern outskirts of the coastal city late Thursday.

Police filed a complaint of culpable homicide against the builders.

Japan, U.S. strike a deal

TOKYO -- The U.S. and Japan agreed Friday on the return of some land used by the American military on Okinawa in a bid to ease local opposition over the planned relocation of a Marine base to another part of the island.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Ambassador John Roos signed the agreement Friday in Tokyo, which also seeks to move the controversial Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less crowded area by 2022.

A 1996 accord to relocate the base has been blocked by local residents who want it moved off of Okinawa, citing noise, pollution and crime.

Also in the world ...

Pope Francis said Friday that the Catholic Church should "act decisively" against cases of sexual abuse, continuing in the vein of his predecessor Benedict XVI, the Vatican said. Francis had discussed the church's sexual abuse scandal with Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or CDF, the church's top disciplinary body. ... Paris City Hall this week installed a small flock of sheep to mow the lawn at the city's gardens, replacing gas-guzzling lawnmowers.

-- Compiled from news services



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