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DAILY BRIEFING

Gates links Iran to Taliban weapons

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates tied Iran's government to large shipments of weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan and said yesterday such quantities were unlikely without Tehran's knowledge. Gates's comments, following accusations by a State Department official, were the strongest yet by a Cabinet secretary about Iran's support of the militant group in Afghanistan. (AP)

UNITED NATIONS

EU says Iran faces further sanctions
VIENNA -- EU powers told Iran yesterday it faced further sanctions for expanding uranium enrichment and curbing UN inspectors' access to its nuclear program. "Iran continues to ignore its obligations and has not taken any steps to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its program," Britain, France, and Germany told the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors in a joint statement. (Reuters)

GUATEMALA

Strong earthquake rattles the region
GUATEMALA CITY -- A powerful earthquake shook Guatemala and parts of neighboring nations yesterday, sending some residents in El Salvador's capital rushing into the streets for safety. Officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage. (AP)

RUSSIA

Russia set to free N. Korea funds
MOSCOW -- Russia said yesterday it was poised to transfer North Korean funds frozen at a Macau bank, raising prospects for an end to the deadlock that has stalled a nuclear disarmament deal with Pyongyang. Russia has said it was ready to give the green light to one of its banks to transfer the $25 million stuck in Banco Delta Asia, provided Washington gave written guarantees it would not fall foul of US sanctions against North Korea. (Reuters)

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