Ian's Feed
Dec 19, 2011

Future North Korean leader attended Swiss school: friends

BERNE/VIENNA (Reuters) – Former pupils of a school in Switzerland believe the young lad who loved playing basketball and watching action movies and was always “good for a laugh” may have been none other than Kim Jong-un, son and anointed successor of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Joao Micaelo, who now works as a chef in a Vienna restaurant, told Reuters he was a good friend of a North Korean teenager with a different name when they both attended the German-speaking Steinhoelzli school in Berne from 1998 to 2000.

Dec 15, 2011

UN nuclear watchdog wants to visit Myanmar-source

VIENNA, Dec 15 (Reuters) – The United Nations nuclear
watchdog is seeking to gain access to sites in Myanmar, which
rejected allegations by an exile group last year it was trying
to develop atomic weapons, a diplomat familiar with the issue
said.

Myanmar officials signalled during talks in September that
inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
could come to the southeast Asian nation, which has initiated
radical reforms after decades of authoritarian military rule.

Dec 14, 2011

Iran ready to start nuclear work in bunker – sources

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran could soon begin sensitive atomic activities in an underground facility deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday, a move that would up the ante in a stand-off with big powers demanding Tehran curb such work.

Iranian experts have carried out the necessary preparations at Fordow near the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom, paving the way for the Islamic Republic to start higher-grade uranium enrichment at the site on a former military base.

Dec 14, 2011

Iran may soon start nuclear work in bunker: sources

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran could soon launch sensitive atomic activities in an underground facility deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday, a development likely to add to tension between Tehran and the West.

Iranian experts have carried out the necessary preparations at Fordow near the holy city of Qom, paving the way for the Islamic state to begin higher-grade uranium enrichment at the site on a former military base.

Dec 8, 2011
via Breakingviews

Irish tiger-turned-tortoise may need more help

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Ireland’s budget is more of the same – pain that seems without end. The country is making huge efforts, but the Celtic tiger has become a tortoise, weighed down by the collapse of its property bubble and bank bailouts. The unwelcome metamorphosis implies years of fiscal struggle ahead. Ireland seems likely to need more external help.

Dec 7, 2011

Experts argue over Iran nuclear bomb timeline

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran could likely build a nuclear bomb in six months or less, a U.S. defence analyst said on Wednesday, but another Western proliferation expert dismissed this as unrealistic.

The differing estimates show the difficulty in trying to assess how long it could take Iran to convert its growing uranium stockpile into weapons-grade material and how advanced it may be in other areas vital for any bid to make a bomb.

Nov 29, 2011

Analysis: For Iran, the sanctions price may be worth paying

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran regards its nuclear programme as a source of power and prestige and tougher sanctions look unlikely to alter Tehran’s cost-benefit analysis much despite the economic pain they cause.

Deep mistrust of Western intentions and security concerns in a volatile region where the United States maintains a strong military presence could help explain Iran’s resolve not to back down and curb nuclear work its foes fear have weapons aims.

Nov 24, 2011

Oil price could strangle economic recovery hopes: IEA

VIENNA (Reuters) – The high oil price could “strangle” efforts to get the global economy back on its feet and may also hamper Asia’s ability to help the West exit its crisis, the International Energy Agency’s chief economist said on Thursday.

The IEA’s Fatih Birol said the world economy was in a more fragile state now than during the crisis of 2008-2009, when oil prices were lower.

Nov 22, 2011

Middle East nuclear talks “waste of time” – Iran

VIENNA (Reuters) – Member states of the U.N. atomic agency held rare calm, constructive discussions on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, participants said on Tuesday, but absent Iran dismissed the meeting as a “waste of time.”

Israel and its Arab neighbours took part in the November 21-22 forum hosted by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen as a chance to help start a dialogue on the divisive issue of nuclear arms in the volatile region.

Nov 22, 2011

Iran says Middle East nuclear talks “waste of time”

VIENNA (Reuters) – Member states of the U.N. atomic agency held rare calm, constructive discussions on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, participants said on Tuesday, but absent Iran dismissed the meeting as a “waste of time.”

Israel and its Arab neighbors took part in the November 21-22 forum hosted by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen as a chance to help start a dialogue on the divisive issue of nuclear arms in the volatile region.