Pakistani president won’t end state of emergency

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s government dismissed a last-ditch U.S. call to end emergency rule, leaving the Bush administration with limited options yesterday in steering its nuclear-armed ally back toward democracy.

Pakistan said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte brought no new proposals on a make-or-break visit, and received no assurances after urging Musharraf to restore the constitution and free thousands of political opponents.

“This is nothing new,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq told The Associated Press. “The U.S. has been saying this for many days. He (Negroponte) has said that same thing. He has reiterated it.”

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia

OPEC considers pulling reserves out of dollar

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday that OPEC’s members have expressed interest in converting their cash reserves into a currency other than the depreciating U.S. dollar, which he called a “worthless piece of paper.”

His comments at the end of a rare summit of OPEC heads of state exposed fissures within the 13-member cartel – especially after U.S. ally Saudi Arabia was reluctant to mention concerns about the falling dollar in the summit’s final declaration.

The hardline Iranian leader’s comments also highlighted the growing challenge that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, faces from Iran and its ally Venezuela within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia

Tribunal arrests former Khmer Rouge chief

The U.N.-backed genocide tribunal in Cambodia arrested the former Khmer Rouge head of state Monday following his release from a hospital in the capital, officials said.

Khieu Samphan’s arrest makes him the fifth senior Khmer Rouge official to be detained ahead of the long-delayed tribunal that is expected to begin next year.

The arrests come almost three decades after the group fell from power, with many fearing the aging suspects might die before they ever see a courtroom.

Police escorted Khieu Samphan from the hospital today, holding his arms for support, and led him to a police car that sped away in a convoy of about a half dozen police vehicles.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia

Explosion in natural gas pipeline kills 28

An accidental explosion and fire on a natural gas pipeline in eastern Saudi Arabia yesterday killed 28 people and left 12 missing, Saudi officials said.

An unspecified number were wounded in the blaze, which did not disrupt gas supplies, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters during a summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Riyadh.

National oil company Saudi Aramco said the fire broke out just after midnight while contract workers were linking a new pipe to the line during some maintenance work.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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