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President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to discuss an international nuclear deal with Iran that has threatened to raise tensions between the close allies, the White House said. Just hours after the six world powers clinched the historic agreement with the Islamic republic, Netanyahu lashed out at what he called a "historic mistake" that left open Iran's ability to develop a nuclear arsenal. But the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany -- known as the P5+1 -- involved in the talks hailed it as a key first step that for now warded off the prospect of military escalation. "The two leaders reaffirmed their shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One As Obama headed to the US West Coast.
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a potentially history-shaping choice of diplomacy over confrontation, the U.S. and other world powers agreed Sunday to give Iran six months to open its nuclear sites to possible daily inspections in exchange for allowing Tehran to maintain the central elements of its uranium program, in a multi-layered deal to test Iran's claim that it does not seek atomic weapons.
President Barack Obama hailed an historic interim deal with Iran Saturday as "an important first step" towards a comprehensive pact to end the showdown over Teheran’s nuclear program. The president however quickly ran into criticism from opponents on Capitol Hill, reflecting the deep mistrust of Tehran after more than 30 years of Cold War-style hostilities and Obama's own ragged domestic political fortunes. "While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal," Obama said in a late night statement from the White House after the agreement was clinched in talks between P5+1 world powers and Iran in Geneva. "For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back."
The surface of the sun has been surprisingly calm of late -- with fewer sunspots than anytime in in the last century -- prompting curious scientists to wonder just what it might mean here on Earth. But this cycle -- dubbed cycle 24 -- has surprised scientists with its sluggishness. "It is the weakest cycle the sun has been in for all the space age, for 50 years," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association physicist Doug Biesecker told AFP. The intense electromagnetic energy from sunspots has a significant impact on the sun's ultraviolet and X-ray emissions as well as on solar storms.
By Rachel Armstrong SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Tiny Singapore does not look at first sight like one of Apple Inc's priority markets: it has no official Apple Store and doesn't even rate a mention in the company's latest annual report. Apple South Asia Pte Ltd, however, its Singapore entity, booked $14.9 billion in revenue for the 12 months to September 2012 - more than it would have received had the country's entire 5.3 million population each bought an iPhone 5S, an iPad Air and a MacBook Pro. There is nothing illegal about the accounting practices employed by the computer giant, which, like many multinational companies ranging from Google Inc and Microsoft Corp to BHP Billiton and Huawei Technology Co, uses the city-state as a key hub for its Asia business. Singapore has so far largely stayed out of the debate raging in Europe and the United States about the ways multinationals try to lower their tax bills.
By Gabriel Stargardter and Gustavo Palencia TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Hondurans voted for a new president on Sunday, choosing between a tough militarized response to drug gang violence fueling the world's highest murder rate, and a shift to the left that could revive the political career of deposed leader Manuel Zelaya. A photo-finish finale is expected in a race that pits the ruling National Party's candidate, conservative Juan Hernandez, the head of Congress viewed as Honduras' most powerful politician, against Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro. The two rivals offer distinct visions for Honduras, the biggest coffee exporter in Central America - and a nation saddled with a murder rate of 85 per 100,000, the world's worst. "You can't go out onto the street," said Luis Alberto Lopez, a 54-year-old bricklayer in Tegucigalpa.
By Hamid Shalizi and Mirwais Harooni KABUL (Reuters) - An assembly of Afghan elders endorsed a crucial security deal on Sunday to enable U.S. troops to operate in the country beyond next year, but President Hamid Karzai left the matter up in the air by refusing to say whether he would sign it into law. The gathering, known as the Loya Jirga, had been convened by the president to debate the pact outlines the legal terms of continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. It voted in favour and advised Karzai sign it promptly. But Karzai, in his final remarks to the four-day meeting, said he would not sign it until after a presidential election due next April.