UNITED NATIONS: Iran sees hint of nuke thaw

Iran for the first time sees the "possibility for a breakthrough" in negotiations next month over its nuclear program, the Islamic Republic's UN ambassador said. Talks in Kazakhstan three weeks ago marked a "turning point" at which the United States and five other powers seemed "more realistic" about Iran's bottom-line position that it has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful use, Mohammad Khazaee said in an interview. The six nations proposed at a two-day meeting last month in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the easing of sanctions in exchange for Iran ceasing production of medium-enriched uranium, according to officials involved in the talks. Talks among senior political representatives are to resume April 5 in Almaty.


AFGHANISTAN: Karzai lets up on U.S. forces

President Hamid Karzai relented Wednesday in his demand for all U.S. special operations forces to withdraw from Wardak province, agreeing to a compromise calling for the pullout of one team implicated in abuse allegations the Americans have rejected. Wardak, viewed as a gateway to Kabul, has been the focus of counterinsurgency efforts. Last month, Karzai ordered all U.S. special operations forces out after villagers accused Afghan troops working with them of torture and illegal detentions. The coalition denied the allegations.


VENEZUELA: Living with Chávez's legacy

As the election to replace Hugo Chávez approaches, people go on living with the problems he left behind. The tense capital of Caracas embodies many of Venezuela's problems, with crumbling apartment towers and food lines. "More than anything, the government continues fighting with everyone, and does everything badly," said Francisco Olivero, 54, a carpenter. He said wartime-levels of street violence were his top worry as he and his wife were in a block-long line to buy coffee, butter and other staples.

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