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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Wayne Rooney scored one, made one and was perhaps fortunate not to be sent off as Manchester United were denied a fourth successive league win by Kim Bo-Kyung's last gasp 2-2 equaliser in Cardiff on Sunday. The England striker opened the scoring in the 15th minute and delivered the perfect corner for Patrice Evra in the 43rd, after Cardiff City had equalised through the former United youngster Fraizer Campbell.
By Noah Barkin BERLIN (Reuters) - Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) head into a decisive week of German coalition talks on track to form a government but under fire from their own members for a series of policy compromises. The chancellor's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) beat the SPD in an election two months ago, but failed to secure a parliamentary majority, forcing her into talks with her arch-rivals. But complaints within the CDU about policy compromises have grown louder in recent weeks as the SPD has demanded and won concessions from Merkel on a minimum wage and other measures conservatives fear could hurt the economy. "The news from the coalition talks is setting off alarm bells in industry," Kurt Lauck, president of a business lobby within the CDU, wrote to Merkel in a letter published in German newspapers at the weekend.
By Arshad Mohammed and Parisa Hafezi GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. and Iranian officials met secretly in such out-of-the-way places as Oman, using military planes, side entrances and service elevators to conceal their efforts to lay the ground for Sunday's nuclear agreement. The contacts, first reported in detail by the Associated Press and later confirmed by U.S. officials and a former Iranian official, helped to bring about a deal that could help to end a decade-long impasse over Iran's suspect nuclear work. They also illustrate a U.S. desire, dating to the start of U.S. President Barack Obama's administration in January 2009, to explore whether there might be a way to reconcile two nations that have been at odds for more than a third of a century. After four days of talks, Iran and six world powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, known as the P5+1 - clinched an interim deal curbing the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for some sanctions relief.
Dubbed the "1:12" initiative after the legally-binding ratio it would have set between the top and bottom salaries in a firm, the plan met with stiff opposition from Switzerland's business community and political right. Ahead of the vote, its critics issued stark warnings that inscribing salary restrictions into the law would make the wealthy Alpine nation less competitive and break with a Swiss tradition of limited official meddling in business. Christoph Darbellay, head of the centre-right Christian Democratic Party, told AFP that voting Yes would be tantamount to "shooting ourselves in the foot". Switzerland's cross-party government had urged a No vote, saying a 1:12 law would dent tax revenues and scare off foreign firms.
By Andrew Osborn LONDON (Reuters) - Scotland will become independent of the United Kingdom on March 24, 2016 if a majority of Scots vote to end their 306-year-old union next year, the Scottish government said on Sunday, naming its "date with destiny" for the first time. Scotland's devolved government, which is controlled by the Scottish National Party (SNP), made the announcement as it prepared to release on Tuesday what it said would be the most detailed blueprint for an independent country yet. Trailing in the independence debate by about 10 percentage points, the SNP hopes to seize the political initiative with the publication of the prospectus, which it says will shift the dynamic and the momentum of the debate in its favour. "We have previously said that we would aim for Scotland to be independent in March 2016 and in the white paper we go further than that and name the date of the 24th of March," Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's Deputy First Minister, told BBC TV.
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Gazprom's South Stream pipeline, which will bypass Ukraine to transport Russian natural gas to Europe, is vital for Serbia because it will provide jobs and boost the Balkan country's regional position, the prime minister said Sunday, insisting that traditionally close ties with Russia will not affect his nation's bid to join the European Union.