Sinn Fein accepts

N. Ireland police

DUBLIN, Ireland - Sinn Fein members voted overwhelmingly yesterday to begin cooperating with the Northern Ireland police, a long-unthinkable commitment that could spur the return of a Catholic-Protestant administration for the British territory.

The vote - confirmed by a sea of raised hands but no formally recorded tally - strongly improved the chances of reviving power sharing, the long-elusive goal of the 1998 Good Friday peace pact, by Britain's deadline of March 26.

The Democratic Unionists, the party that represents most of Northern Ireland's Protestant majority, have insisted they will form a cabinet alongside Sinn Fein only if the largely Catholic party demonstrates support for law and order.

- AP

Iran says it needs

time to study plan

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran said yesterday that it needed time to review a plan proposed by the head of the U.N nuclear watchdog agency that calls for holding off on imposing U.N. Security Council sanctions if the Iranian government suspends uranium enrichment.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei proposed the simultaneous time-out plan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in an effort to end the standoff between the West and Iran over the country's suspect nuclear program.

"Time should be allocated to see if the plan has the capacity to solve the [nuclear] case," said Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator.

- AP

U.S., N. Korea set

for new bank talks

BEIJING - A U.S. Treasury official arrived in Beijing yesterday to resume negotiations with North Korea over alleged illicit financial dealings, an issue that has hobbled the North Korean nuclear disarmament talks.

Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Daniel Glaser said that he would meet with North Korean officials tomorrow.

The United States took action against the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia in 2005, accusing the small, privately run bank of laundering counterfeit money and abetting other unspecified criminal acts by North Korea. The move has caused other banks to steer clear of North Korean business for fear of losing access to the U.S. market, and thereby crimped the North's access to the international banking system.

- AP


The Netherlands has extradited a naturalized Dutch citizen charged with involvement in terror attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Justice Ministry said. Iraqi-born Wesam al Delaema, 32, was on a plane headed for an undisclosed location in the United States, a Justice Ministry spokesman said Saturday.

Dozens of people sitting on the roof of a crowded passenger train were by hit by an overhead power line in southern Pakistan yesterday. As many as 11 were reported killed and scores were injured in the incident near the town of Sukkur.