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IAEA Expresses Alarm at Iranian Defiance

September 6, 2010 at 6:27 PM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.N. nuclear agency expressed alarm at Iran’s continued defiance over its nuclear program. In a new report, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has banned two of its most experienced inspectors and still refuses to answer questions about its nuclear intentions.

The Iranian government called the report unbalanced and said its nuclear operations are under complete supervision by the IAEA. This comes just three months after the U.N. Security Council enacted its harshest sanctions yet against Iran.

Hundreds of Afghans rallied today to protest an American church’s plan to burn the Koran. The protesters gathered in Kabul and burned American flags and cardboard effigies of the pastor of the Florida church. He and his congregation plan to burn the Islamic holy book to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has condemned the church’s plan.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, NATO announced a U.S. soldier was killed in fighting in the east on Sunday. It was the fifth American death in Afghanistan in September. Also today, it was widely reported the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan has asked for 2,000 additional troops. General David Petraeus wants them to join the 140,000-strong international force to help train Afghan security forces.

In Pakistan today, at least 19 people died and 40 more were wounded in a suicide bombing near a police station. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the car bomb in the northwestern town of Lakki Marwat. A spokesman said the bombing targeted police because they encourage residents to set up militias and fight the Taliban.

At least 44 people have died in landslides in Guatemala, and dozens more are missing. Heavy rains unleashed multiple landslides this weekend, including on one of the country’s main highways. Rescue workers struggled today to try and free more than 30 people buried in the wreckage. More rain was forecast for the rest of the week.

Tropical Storm Hermine headed for the Texas-Mexico border region today. The National Weather Service put the Gulf Coast area under a hurricane watch, predicting the storm could reach hurricane strength before it hits land early Tuesday.

Separately, heavy rain from a tropical depression has caused flooding in southern Mexico, forcing thousands to move to shelters. Forecasters are predicting up to a foot of rain in some areas.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Jeff.