Iran’s President Calls for ‘Serious’ Nuclear Talks
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his government is ready to engage in “serious and substantive” negotiations with the international community over his country’s nuclear programme during his first news conference in Tehran on Tuesday. “We are ready – seriously and without wasting time – to engage in serious and substantive talks with the other sides. I am certain the concerns of the two sides would be removed through talks in a short period of time”, said Rouhani, referring to the demands made by the P5+1 group composed of the permanent members of the Security Council together with Germany. “However, demands outside any legal framework or illogical and outdated demands will not be useful. We should deal with the issue through a realistic approach.” He also added that Iran would only be engaged through “talks, not threats”. Criticising the US stance over the issue, Rouhani said Washington was not fully understanding the Iranian situation, issuing contradictory “behaviour and words”.
US and UK Pull Staff Out of Yemen
The US and the UK have withdrawn diplomatic staff from Yemen as the country’s security forces were put on high alert in the belief that an al-Qaeda attack on the country’s capital, Sana’a, was imminent. The BBC’s correspondent in the city, Abdullah Ghorab, said there were “unprecedented security measures” put in place and that a security source confirmed to the BBC that dozens of al-Qaeda members had arrived in Yemen over the past few days to implement the plot. “The source described the plot as dangerous and as including explosions and suicide attacks aimed at Western ambassadors and foreign embassies in Yemen, in addition to operations aimed at the Yemeni military headquarters”, said Ghorab. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu-Bakr al-Qirbi criticised the steps taken by the US and the UK in pulling out their staff. “Unfortunately, these measures, although they are taken to protect their citizens, in reality they serve the goals that the terrorist elements are seeking to achieve”, he said.
Indian Soldiers Killed Along Disputed Kashmir Border
Recently improved relations between India and Pakistan were threatened on Tuesday by the death of five Indian soldiers killed during an attack on their post in northern Kashmir province. Pakistani security officials denied any involvement along the two countries’ disputed border. “There was no indiscriminate firing from our side”, said a Pakistani security official quoted by the Daily Telegraph. Army officials in Delhi, however, said members of Pakistan’s elite Special Services Group had ambushed the Indian soldiers. “This is an extremely unfortunate incident. If Pakistan wants to have better relations with India, this is not the way”, said RPN Singh, an Indian MP. Analysts believe their deaths could jeopardise the upcoming peace talks between the two neighbours. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were due to meet at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September.
NHS Staff Should Not Be Blamed for Mistakes, Says Expert
A report written by a leading expert on patient safety, commissioned by the UK government, has said that NHS staff should not be blamed by mistakes that harm patients because in the majority of cases it is the systems that are at fault. “No single person, party or administration caused the problems that need to be solved and everyone can help guide the next steps if they work together”, wrote Prof Don Berwick. “Even while leaders speak out clearly and with courage, as they should when things go wrong, it is helpful to avoid drama, accusation and overstatement either in the Mid Staffordshire case or in other lapses in patient safety”, he added. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, present at the unveiling of the report, said that he had never “blamed NHS staff” and agreed that the government should look at whether NHS structures were right. Prof Berwick recommended that hospitals should ensure they had proper nursing-to-patient ratios.
Bus-Sized ‘Fatberg’ Removed from London Drain
The London utility company responsible for the capital’s water supply has revealed that it has found and removed the largest ever “fatberg” in its drains. The fatberg, a 15-tonne mass of rotting food and sanitary wipes, was found beneath a road in Kingston, in southwest London, through a CCTV investigation. “The sewer was almost completely clogged with over 15 tonnes of fat. If we hadn’t discovered it in time, raw sewage could have started spurting out of manholes across the whole of Kingston. It was so big it damaged the sewer and repairs will take up to six weeks”, said Gordon Hailwood, waste contracts supervisor for Thames Water. He added that Londoners should avoid throwing fat and wipes down their drains, choosing to bin them instead.