World Briefs / Iran's Rouhani to address U.N.

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TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who swept to power with a vow to improve relations with the world, has a pulpit to do so Tuesday with his first speech to the United Nations.

Mr. Rouhani, 64, will address the U.N. General Assembly less than two months after replacing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His comments come as sanctions against the country fuel joblessness and inflation, and as Israel and the U.S. threaten military force to end what they say is an attempt to build atomic weapons.

The new president will blend a softer tone with gestures to hasten a return to dialogue, possibly offering to allow more open inspection of nuclear sites, said Ali Ansari, director of the Institute of Iranian Studies at St. Andrew's University in Scotland. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace estimated the sanctions cost Iran more than $100 billion in lost foreign investment and oil revenue.

Failure to return from New York with some progress could increase pressures on Ayatollah Khamenei to withdraw his apparent backing for Mr. Rouhani's overtures with Washington.

Asia typhoon weakens

HONG KONG -- A powerful typhoon weakened sharply Sunday and started veering away from Hong Kong, but local officials continued to warn residents to take precautions for extreme weather.

The Hong Kong Observatory warned of possible flooding in low-lying areas, strong winds and a storm surge from ocean waters pushed higher up the shoreline than usual by the wind. At 6:40 p.m. local time, the observatory raised its No. 8 signal, which warns of gale-force winds. The top signal is 10.

Suu Kyi cautious

SINGAPORE -- There is no surety that Myanmar won't return to military rule, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said, even as she called for "responsible investment" to accelerate the country's economic development.

Myanmar's shift to democracy after five decades of military rule has drawn interest from companies including Google, Coca-Cola and Unilever, while MasterCard last September became the first payments network to issue a license to a bank in the country. Chinese and Japanese companies are also investing in the nation, which borders India, China and Thailand.

Still, the country needs to improve its rule of law and democratic overhauls must not wait for 2015, when general elections are scheduled to be held, Ms. Suu Kyi said Saturday during her visit to Singapore.

Indonesia pols mimic 'Idol'

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's party is putting its presidential hopefuls through an American Idol-style contest that will see them criss-crossing the country for eight months while footing some of the cost.

The contestant who tops a nationwide public survey held by May will win the Democrat Party nomination for the July election, according to Suaidi Marasabessy, secretary of its convention committee.

Israeli soldier killed

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli military said a soldier was shot and killed in the biblical city of Hebron in the West Bank.

It said the soldier was critically injured by direct fire Sunday evening and later died in the hospital.

He was securing an area where over 1,000 people were visiting for the Jewish holiday of Sukkoth, the military said.

-- Compiled from news services



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