Isnin, 13 Januari 2014

The Star Online: World Updates

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Biden assures Israel about core sanctions on Iran - U.S. official

Posted: 13 Jan 2014 09:30 PM PST

SHANNON, Ireland (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that the United States is committed to enforcing its "sanctions architecture" against Iran even as world powers provide it with some relief in pursuit of a final nuclear deal.

In four hours of wide-ranging talks during Biden's visit to Israel for the funeral of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the vice president briefed Netanyahu on an interim agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program and sought his views on efforts to reach a broader accord, a senior U.S. official said.

Netanyahu has been at odds with the Obama administration over its diplomatic engagement with Iran, and Washington has tried to ease Israeli concerns that Tehran is getting too much in return for too few concessions.

"It is safe to say that the issue of ensuring the continued enforcement of the sanctions architecture is an important priority for us, is an important priority for Israel and was a subject of conversation," the official told reporters aboard Biden's plane on the flight back to Washington.

Biden's visit to Israel came just a day after the announcement that a six-month deal between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, to pave the way toward ending a long standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions will come into force on January 20.

The deal, hailed by President Barack Obama, calls for a verifiable freeze on Iran's most sensitive atomic work in return for limited sanctions relief. A new round of talks will seek a permanent settlement.

Some U.S. officials have cited oil and banking as the core architecture of the sanctions program that has crippled Iran's economy. Relief under the initial deal would include suspension of some restrictions on trade in gold, precious metals and petrochemicals, and in the auto industry. It also allows third-country purchases of Iranian oil to remain at current levels.

Echoing Obama, Biden also made clear to Netanyahu that Washington opposes a U.S. congressional push for new sanctions during talks on a long-term deal with Iran, the official said.

The working dinner between Biden and Netanyahu, which lasted twice as long as scheduled, also focused on renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians that have struggled to make headway under the auspices of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

While Biden did not try to negotiate the "nitty-gritty" separating the two sides, the two leaders had a "strategic conversation" about how to achieve the goal of Israel and an eventual Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security, the official said.

However, Biden reiterated the U.S. position that Israeli settlement expansion on occupied land is "not constructive" for peace efforts, the official said.

Biden's visit was his first to Israel since 2010, when the surprise Israeli announcement of a major settlement project caused an embarrassing rift between the United States and its closest Middle East ally.

Still, Iran tops the Israeli agenda. Believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear weapons power, Israel fears that its arch-foe is seeking an atomic bomb, though Tehran denies this.

Washington has resisted Netanyahu's demands to broaden the scope of nuclear talks with Iran to other issues, but the U.S. official said Biden's meeting in Jerusalem was not limited to the Iranian nuclear file.

"They spoke about Iran's ... destabilizing activities and support for terror, as well as the important implications of the election of President (Hassan) Rouhani and the activities of other actors in the Iranian system, and how the United States and Israel need to cooperate together to confront the variety of threats posed by Iran," the official said.

Biden used his eulogy for Sharon, seen as a war hero at home but reviled by many in the Arab world, to reaffirm Washington's commitment to Israel's security.

Chinese military ordered to buy locally-made vehicles

Posted: 13 Jan 2014 07:45 PM PST

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese leader Xi Jinping has ordered the military to choose domestic brands when procuring vehicles, part of a broad effort to reduce costs and buy locally-produced goods, state media reported.

The decision, contained in a circular issued late on Monday, follows a ban in April on the use of military licence plates on luxury cars, most of which were foreign brands.

Xi, who became Communist Party chief in November 2012 and also serves as president and top military leader as head of the Central Military Commission, has launched a government-wide drive to encourage frugality and fight corruption.

Government officials have already been urged to drive home-produced brands, such as Red Flag, challenging Audi, the Volkswagen-owned brand that has dominated the government market for 20 years. The Foreign Ministry has said that minister Wang Yi is now chauffered in a Red Flag H7.

The circular, approved by Xi and issued by the People's Liberation Army's staff headquarters as well as the political, logistics and armament departments, said funds used by the army should be strictly regulated and the budgeting processes improved, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The purchase of new military cars should be arranged through a centralised system, it said. The document was "aimed at promoting frugality and cutting down on waste in military and armed police forces".

In line with similar calls to directed at government officials, it urged strengthened supervision over spending and banned "personal banquets financed with public funds".

The circular also banned giving or accepting money, securities, souvenirs and local products and called for strict controls on celebrations, forums, exhibitions and performances.

(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Ron Popeski)

South Korea cuts future reliance on nuclear power, but new plants likely

Posted: 13 Jan 2014 07:35 PM PST

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has revised down its future reliance on nuclear power, although growing energy demand and the shutdown of aging reactors mean it is still likely to need more nuclear-fired plants over the coming two decades.

Asia's fourth-largest economy has been under pressure to curb its use of nuclear power in the wake of a safety scandal that led to the shutdown of some nuclear reactors to replace parts supplied with fake safety certificates.

The energy ministry said on Tuesday it has changed its energy policy to reduce the country's reliance on nuclear power to 29 percent of total power supply by 2035, down from a planned 41 percent by 2030 and in line with a draft proposal.

Nuclear power made up 26 percent of South Korea's energy mix as at end-2012.

The proposed cut is the least stringent reduction of a range of figures suggested last October by a public advisory group, following public anger over the safety scandal and in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster.

In early December, the ministry unveiled a draft of its policy revision in which the government made clear that nuclear power still had a role to play and its capacity would not be drastically slashed or expanded.

The ministry says the country will need a total of 43,000 megawatts (MW) nuclear power capacity by 2035, up from 36,000 MW by 2024.

South Korea currently has 23 nuclear reactors, which produce about a third of its electricity, and plans to add 11 more by 2024, with five already under construction.

For nuclear power to meet its share of future capacity, a further five 1,400 MW reactors would need to be built between 2025 and 2035, an energy ministry official who declined to be identified told Reuters.

Under the previous plan for nuclear power to make up 41 percent of total energy supply, South Korea would have needed to add as many as 20 additional reactors, according to industry data.

In addition, the operating licences for 14 units will expire by 2035, more than half of the current total, although the ministry has yet to announce whether it would extend their operating life or look to replace them.

The ministry also said it plans to invest 1.1 trillion won ($94.64 million) in ageing nuclear facilities by 2017 as part of efforts to strengthen nuclear safety.

The study group had recommended reducing the country's reliance on nuclear energy to between 22 to 29 percent of its total power supply.

Of the country's 23 nuclear reactors, three are offline mainly for scheduled maintenance, including a reactor which is awaiting an extension of its licence after its 30-year lifespan expired in November 2012, according to a website of nuclear operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP).

Ahead of the peak winter demand in January, the country's nuclear regulator early this month approved the restart of three reactors shut since last May to replace control cables supplied using forged safety certificates.

KHNP is fully owned by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).

(Editing by Richard Pullin)


0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved