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World news in brief: Clinton: No Iran illusions

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said America had no illusions that Iran would return to negotiations about its nuclear programme and would not wait much longer for Tehran to respond.

Both Mrs Clinton and national security adviser James Jones said Washington had little choice but to deal with the government of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, despite claims of a fraudulent election and sympathy for the thousands who protested against the outcome.

"We were under no illusions before their elections that we can get the kind of engagement we are seeking," Mrs Clinton said. "If there is a response, it needs to be on a fast track. We're not going to keep the window open forever."

FLU TOPS SUMMIT

Swine flu will top the agenda at a lightning-quick, three-way summit in Guadalajara, Mexico, between Mexico, the US and Canada.

US president Barack Obama, Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper will try to build on earlier co-operation to handle an expected new wave of cases during North America's upcoming flu season.

America's first- and third-largest trade relationships are with Canada and Mexico. All three are partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement, the largest free-trade zone in the world.

9/11 POLICE HAVE CANCER

Researchers say a small number of young police officers who took part in the World Trade Centre rescue and clean-up operation after the September 11 2001 terror attacks have developed an immune system cancer.

The numbers are tiny, and experts do not know whether there is any link between the multiple myeloma cases and toxins released during the disaster.

But doctors who co-ordinated the study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, said people who worked at the site should continue to have their health monitored.

HONDURAS ACCEPTS 'OBSERVER'

Honduras' interim government says it will accept a visit by foreign delegates aimed at resolving the country's political crisis provided one controversial delegate attends only as an observer.

The foreign relations ministry said Organisation of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza, who has insisted on the reinstatement of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, would have to attend as an observer.

The statement by the ministry came hours after the interim government had postponed the visit, objecting to Mr Insulza's participation. The ministry says the visit will now be rescheduled for a date "that will be decided in the next two days".

UNDERWORLD LAWYER MURDERED

A Mexican lawyer known for defending high-profile drug trafficking suspects was shot dead at a street market in the northern city of Monterrey.

Silvia Raquenel Villanueva defended a number of high-profile drug suspects and had survived previous attempts on her life, including a 1999 attack in Mexico City in which she was wounded by gunfire.

Nobody else was hurt in the shooting at the normally crowded Pulga Rio market, suggesting an execution-style attack.

PANAMA LEAVES 5-NATION BODY

Panama's foreign minister says his country will quit the Central American Parliament.

Juan Carlos Varela called the group "part of the past" and said it had contributed little to resolving the region's problems.

The Central American Parliament is based in Guatemala City and has 132 members representing five nations. Panama's Cabinet has already approved the proposal to exit the largely consultative body.

HISTORIC HOTEL FACELIFT

Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts are claiming victory in their bid to restore the architect's last standing hotel, a northern Iowa landmark that has fallen apart over the past few decades.

The Park Inn Hotel in Mason City, designed by Wright and completed in 1910, has been used as a hotel, apartments and even a strip club.

Now a private group, Wright on the Park, has taken over the £10.8m renovation effort. The Park Inn will have 20 suites when it reopens to the public in early 2011.

OX CLEVER SAYS CASTRO

In China it's the year of the ox - and it could be for Cuba, too.

President Raul Castro is promoting the beasts of burden as a way for the economically-strapped communist country to step up food production while conserving energy.

He has suggested expanding a pilot programme that gives private farmers fallow government land to cultivate - but without gas-guzzling machinery. "For this programme we should forget about tractors and fuel, even if we had enough. The idea is to work basically with oxen," Mr Castro told parliament.

Belfast Telegraph


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