Iran says the latest IAEA report has failed to mention significant events on the country's nuclear activities including the recent Tehran declaration.
In a new nine-page report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) covered the very recent developments regarding Iran's nuclear work including enrichment and reprocessing activities but failed to mention the recent Tehran declaration signed between Iran, Turkey and Brazil on a swap deal to provide fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR).
Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh told Press TV that Iran was surprised to see the report fail to cover the Tehran nuclear declaration.
"It was very surprising because we expected that this important historical event, which was the result of positive, constructive and … honest approach … and is one hundred percent related to the IAEA activities, should have been reported here."
Following talks between Iran, Turkey and Brazil, a nuclear declaration was issued on May 17 based on which Tehran announced its readiness to send some 1,200 kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for a total of 120 kg of higher enriched uranium.
The declaration came as part of an earlier plan to supply fuel to the TRR, which produces medical isotopes for cancer patients.
The declaration has been hailed as a major confidence-building measure not only by its signatories but also by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
According to Soltanieh, the report raised "repetitive" issues, which he said damaged the IAEA credibility.
“The continuation of this trend is seriously damaging the IAEA and the General Secretariat. Therefore, Mr. Amano should put an end to this boring game and this sort of repetitive request and partial reflection of facts," he went on to say.
While the IAEA report once again verified the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, it called on Iran to increase its cooperation with the IAEA and abide by UN Security Council resolutions to suspend uranium enrichment.
The Islamic Republic, however, says it has been fully cooperating with the IAEA even far beyond its legal obligations. Tehran also says it has answered all questions remaining about its nuclear work.
The report will be discussed at the regular meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors next week.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128596§ionid=351020104
2. IAEA Report Reduces Chances of Iran Fuel Swap Deal
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Iran has amassed more than two tons of enriched uranium, the U.N. atomic agency said Monday in a report that heightened Western concerns about the country developing the ability to produce a nuclear weapon.
Two tons of uranium would be enough for two nuclear warheads, although Iran says it does not want weapons and is only pursuing civilian nuclear energy.
The U.S. and the four other permanent U.N. Security Council members — Russia, China, Britain and France — have tentatively backed a draft fourth set of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its refusal to stop enriching uranium.
Separately, the International Atomic Energy Agency — the U.N. nuclear watchdog — said Syria continues to stonewall agency reports to follow up on U.S. assertions that a facility destroyed three years ago by Israeli warplanes was a secretly built reactor meant to produce plutonium.
"Syria has not cooperated with the agency since June 2008" on most aspects of its investigation, according to the IAEA's Syria report. But it noted that Syria has admitted to small-scale nuclear experiments that it had previously not owned up to.
Syria denies allegations it was being helped by Iran and North Korea in developing a covert program.
But diplomats familiar with the Syria probe told The Associated Press of a visit to Syria in January by a high-ranking Iranian nuclear delegation led by Mahdi Kaniki, a deputy to Ali Akhbar Salehi, an Iranian deputy president and head of his country's nuclear program. The two diplomats asked for anonymity because their information was confidential.
For seven months, Iran refused to accept a deal brokered by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency that foresaw Iran exporting 2,640 pounds (1,200 kilograms) of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France to be turned into fuel for Tehran's research reactor.
The West backed that offer because it would have committed Iran to exporting most of the enriched uranium it had produced and left it with less than the 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of material needed to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb.
Iran rejected the offer then but now says it is ready to ship out the same amount of material and has enlisted the backing of Turkey and Brazil in trying to reach a compromise and derail the new sanctions push.
Iran insists it has no interest in nuclear weapons. But its refusal to stop enrichment — which can create both nuclear fuel and warhead material — and its stonewalling of IAEA efforts to investigate suspicions it is interested in developing such arms have increased international worry.
The restricted International Atomic Energy Agency report said that the IAEA "remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities, involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile."
On enrichment, the report made available to the AP shortly after release to the U.N. Security Council and the IAEA's 35-nation board said Iran had now enriched 2,427 kilograms to just over three percent level.
That means shipping out 2,640 pounds (1,200 kilograms) now would still leave Iran with more than enough material to make a nuclear weapon. That makes the deal unattractive to the U.S and its allies
The report confirmed that Iran continues a separate program of small-scale enrichment of uranium, using 3.5 percent feedstock and enriching to near 20 percent — another hurdle for the West. Iran could produce weapons grade uranium much more quickly from the 20 percent level, making the separate program another hurdle to any fuel swap deal.
The U.S. and its allies view Tehran's insistence on continuing higher enrichment even as it offers to accept the swap deal with suspicion since it originally said it had to enrich to 20 percent as the first step in making fuel for the Tehran research reactor.
The IAEA also said that equipment had been removed from a laboratory it was investigating, confirming a report last week to the AP from diplomats familiar with the issue.
At issue is pyroprocessing, a procedure that can be used to purify uranium metal used in nuclear warheads.
In January, Iran told the agency that it had carried out pyroprocessing experiments, prompting a request from the nuclear agency for more information — but then backtracked in March and denied conducting such activities.
IAEA experts last month revisited the site — the Jabr Ibn Jayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory in Tehran — only to establish "that the electrochemical cell had been removed" from the unit used in the experiments, said the report.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iijfYgMUu7W_-ZKg8BjH5QNTww5QD9G20TA00
3. Iran Foreign Minister Optimistic on Uranium Deal
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Iran's foreign minister said Monday he is optimistic for international approval on a deal to swap nuclear fuel with Turkey, and that Tehran hopes to restore diplomatic relations with Washington in the future.
Iran last week submitted the deal for approval to the International Atomic Energy Agency. It involves exchanging enriched uranium for fuel rods that can be used in nuclear reactors but not in nuclear weapons.
The agreement does not keep Iran from continuing to enrich more high-grade uranium on its own, leading to criticism from the U.S. and other countries, which are pushing for fresh sanctions against the country.
But Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Monday called it an opportunity to finally make progress on the issue.
"In terms of realizing this agreement, it is my belief that all countries involved are searching for a way out of the current circumstances," he said.
Mottaki spoke to business leaders, scholars and reporters at a luncheon in a Tokyo hotel.
The fuel-exchange deal was brokered by Brazil and Turkey, whose leaders say it is a starting point for negotiations and have defended it from U.S. criticism.
It comes as the U.N. Security Council considers a new set of sanctions in response to Iran's refusal to halt high-level uranium enrichment. Iran originally said it needed the material to fuel its research reactor, after an earlier deal to secure such fuel from abroad fell apart.
Washington and Tehran broke off direct diplomatic relations following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and Switzerland handles U.S. interests inside Iran. Mottaki said a restoration of official ties was a possibility, without setting a timeline.
"It is not our intention to permanently have no diplomatic relations with America," he said.
Mottaki repeatedly referred to Iran's close ties with Japan in his comments. He said he had held numerous long discussions on the telephone with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada about an agreement similar to the one submitted to the IAEA last week, and that Tokyo could help the current deal go through.
"I believe strongly that Japan can have a beneficial and constructive role in realizing the terms of the agreement," Mottaki said.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gAwA1Ran9oxD0YBnM0pFLpYeaPywD9G1OMK80
4. Nuclear Equipment Missing From Iranian Lab, IAEA Report Says
Los Angeles Times
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An apparatus that could be used to extract plutonium for an atomic bomb is gone, the United Nations watchdog agency says.
International arms control inspectors say sensitive equipment that could be used to extract plutonium for an atomic bomb has gone missing from a Tehran laboratory months after the apparatus was disclosed to a United Nations watchdog agency, according to an official report released Monday.
The report is expected to feed suspicions in the West that Iran is attempting to hide the nature and scope of its nuclear program.
On the other hand, Iran agreed in May to allow inspectors greater surveillance and access to the area where it is producing 20% enriched uranium meant for a Tehran medical reactor, clearing up one of the points of contention between the Islamic Republic and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Still, analysts and diplomats say overall cooperation between Iran and the agency seems to continue to deteriorate, a dynamic that emerged after the tenure of new IAEA Secretary-General Yukiya Amano began late last year.
"If Iran were really interested in cooperation with the agency, it would have allowed the IAEA to undertake additional surveillance measures before it started enriching up to 20%," said a Western diplomat in Vienna, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Iran's nuclear program has been a major point of contention with the West and Israel, which suspect the Islamic Republic of putting together the infrastructure to eventually build an atomic bomb. Tehran insists its nuclear program is meant for civilian purposes only and it accuses the West of trying to deny Iranians' their rights and national aspirations.
IAEA inspectors were told in January by a scientist or official at Tehran's Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory that Iran was conducting pyro-processing experiments, work potentially consistent with creating warheads that could be used in developing a nuclear weapon.
But during an April 14 inspection of the laboratory, the equipment — used to remove impurities from uranium metal — had been removed, said the agency's report to its board of governors ahead of a meeting next week. Iran had earlier backtracked, insisting to inspectors it was not engaged in pyro-processing work.
Arms control experts say the apparent attempt to experiment with pyro-processing adds to the cloud of suspicion that hangs over Iran's nuclear program.
"It will bring Iran close to being able to separate plutonium and thus have a second path to a nuclear weapon," said Mark Fitzpatrick, a former State Department nonproliferation specialist serving as an analyst for the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. "Given the evidence of military connections to Iran's nuclear program, it is worth asking the purpose for which Iran is studying the production of uranium metal."
The latest quarterly report by inspectors to the IAEA board of governors also suggested that Iran continues to produce enriched uranium at far less than capacity, feeding uranium into only 3,936 of the 8,528 centrifuges installed at a plant near the central town of Natanz.
Analysts have been divided over why Iran has failed to use its full enrichment capacity. Some have argued that evidence suggests Iran is experiencing technical and supply troubles. Others suggest Iran is hoarding its uranium supplies to use when it perfects a generation of more efficient centrifuges.
Available at: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran-nukes-20100601,0,5560294.story
1. North Korea 'Trading Nuclear Technology' Says UN Panel
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A United Nations panel has accused North Korea of continuing to export nuclear and missile technology in defiance of a UN ban.
The experts said North Korea has used front companies and intermediaries to sell weapons and provide illegal assistance to Iran, Syria and Burma.
The preliminary report was compiled by a seven-member group that monitors Pyongyang's compliance with sanctions.
The panel has called for further, urgent investigations.
The 47-page report outlined a broad range of techniques used by North Korea to evade sanctions imposed by the UN after the North's nuclear tests of 2006 and 2009, the Associated Press reports.
The report said North Korea had moved quickly to replace banned individuals and entities with others to enable it to continue the nuclear trade.
Among a number of "masking techniques", it said the North describes exports falsely, mislabels shipping container contents, falsifies information about the destinations of goods and uses "multiple layers of intermediaries, shell companies, and financial institutions".
The report said North Korea has a range of legitimate trade offices but also sustains links with international criminal organisations to pursue the banned trades.
An unnamed diplomat told Reuters the findings were "not entirely surprising".
"The point is that North Korea has been providing that kind of aid to Iran, Syria and Burma," he said.
The report comes before a crucial day of talks in New York about the future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It also comes at a time of increased tension surrounding what international investigators say was a deadly North Korean torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in March.
Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10180497.stm
1. IAEA Chief Welcomes Outcome of Nuclear Treaty Review Conference
U.N. News Center
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The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today welcomed the unanimous adoption at the end of the latest review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of a document which, among other things, contains steps towards achieving a nuclear-free Middle East.
The final document of the five-yearly gathering, issued on Friday, called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the co-sponsors of a 1995 resolution proposing a Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction to convene a conference to be attended by all States in the region.
Director General Yukiya Amano said he was “delighted” that the conference “gave full support to all the areas of work of the IAEA that are relevant to the three pillars of the NPT: preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, the promotion of safe and secure use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and nuclear disarmament.”
He noted that the month-long gathering's success “is particularly important as it can enhance confidence in the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which in turn will provide the IAEA with a stronger basis for its work in all areas.”
In a statement issued by his spokesperson on Friday, Mr. Ban hailed the “strong spirit of compromise and cooperation” that has “delivered a significant agreement to build a safer and more secure world.”
The action plan adopted by nations lays a solid foundation to further strengthen the treaty and address the challenges that lie ahead, he said.
Available at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=34869&Cr=nuclear&Cr1=
Iran’s permanent envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh has said the final declaration of 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference is a step forward to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
“The final document did not meet our demands, but it was a step forward,” Soltanieh said on Sunday.
He also said the West could not achieve its goal to include the accusation that Iran has violated the NPT in the final document.
“They expected that this conference could have been an opportunity to accuse Iran of violating the NPT. However, Iran’s name is not mentioned in the final declaration of the conference and they could not bring up Iran’s (nuclear) issue directly or indirectly,” he stated.
Soltanieh said some points concerning the Zionist regime, India, Pakistan and North Korea are included in the document, and the declaration calls on the Zionist regime to sign the NPT.
“The current political pressure on the Zionist regime is notable,” he opined.
“Most of signatories have called for preventing the Zionist regime from violating the international rules and demanded that this regime must immediately and unconditionally sign the NPT,” he explained.
He went on to say the Western states tried to make it binding for all signatories to sign the additional protocol, but Iran, Brazil, Cuba, Egypt and some other countries opposed the motion and the proposal was not approved.
On the content of the accord, he said the signatories’ right to have nuclear fuel cycle and enrichment is recognized, he added.
Soltanieh also said a proposal by Iran banning any strike on nuclear facilities was ratified.
Iran will diligently pursue the implementation of the provisions of this accord, Soltanieh added.
The accord was agreed by 189 signatories at the 2010 NPT review conference in New York on Friday.
Under the agreement, the U.S., Iran and Arab nations agreed to call for talks in 2012 on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons in the Middle East and to establish a region free of nuclear weapons.
The declaration also said Israel should ratify the treaty and allow inspection of its nuclear facilities by the IAEA.
In the final document, the names of Israel, Pakistan and India are mentioned as the countries that have not signed the NPT, and also North Korea was mentioned for pulling out of the treaty several years ago.
Available at: http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=220444
3. India Says No to NPT Again, Terms it Discriminatory
The Economic Times
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Against the backdrop of the UN asking it to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India on Sunday made it clear that it can't be a party to an agreement that it regards as "discriminatory".
"Our position on NPT has been clearly articulated before. India's credentials in non-proliferation are well-known," said a government source here.
"We have made it clear that we want complete, verifiable and universal disarmament," the source added.
India will not be party to any agreement that it regards as discriminatory, government sources stressed, while reiterating India's oft-repeated position.
At the end of the nearly month-long NPT review conference Friday, the UN has asked India, Pakistan and Israel to join the NPT and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) without further delay and pre-conditions.
Issues relating to non-proliferation are likely to be discussed in the first India-US strategic dialogue, chaired by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Washington June 3.
India, a de facto nuclear weapons state, has consistently rejected the NPT on grounds that it divides the world into the nuclear haves and have-nots and has instead pitched for universal nuclear disarmament.
Available at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/India-says-no-to-NPT-again-terms-it-discriminatory/articleshow/5991794.cms
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a U.N. declaration that urged his country to put its nuclear facilities under U.N. safeguards, saying it singled out Israel while letting Iran off the hook.
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcast on Sunday night, Netanyahu said he did not think Israel would participate the U.N. resolution's implementation.
The declaration adopted on Friday by all 189 parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the United States, called for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
The creation of such a zone could ultimately force Israel to sign the NPT and abandon any atomic weapons it has.
The document urged Israel to sign the NPT and open its nuclear facilities to U.N. inspection.
"I thought that was a particularly distorted and flawed resolution because it singled out Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East and the only country anywhere on Earth threatened with annihilation," Netanyahu told CBC.
"It failed to mention Iran, which brazenly violates the Non-Proliferation Treaty, is racing to arm itself with atomic weapons and openly expresses its wish to see Israel wiped off the face of the Earth," Netanyahu said.
Israel is presumed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal but neither confirms nor denies it. It is the only Middle East state that has not signed the NPT and, like India and Pakistan, which have exploded nuclear devices, did not participate in a month-long U.N. meeting in New York to review the NPT.
The declaration contained plans for further disarmament, strengthening global non-proliferation efforts and ensuring access to technology for peaceful uses. It called on North Korea to return to the NPT, which it left in 2003.
The Obama administration opposed efforts to single out Israel and said it would not put the Jewish state under any pressure to do anything that would undermine its security. The White House deplored the document's failure to mention Iran.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful generation of electric power. The United States and other Western countries suspect it is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu said the U.N. should be focusing on Iran.
"The greatest threat to mankind today ... is if a radical Islamic regime meets up with nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons meet up with a radical Islamic regime," he told CBC,
"The first is called Iran and the second is called the Taliban takeover of Pakistan. These developments could ... change the world," Netanyahu said.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64U19320100531
Syria has told the UN atomic watchdog about past nuclear experiments, but is still refusing to cooperate over allegations that it was building a secret nuclear reactor with North Korea's help, a new report revealed Monday.
In a restricted four-page report obtained by AFP, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Syria "provided the Agency with information concerning previously unreported uranium conversion and irradiation activities" at a small research reactor in Damascus.
Syria insists the scale of the experiment was small, "involving tens of grammes of nuclear material" and took place in 2004.
A senior diplomat familiar with the IAEA investigation said it was too early to determine whether the experiments were purely of a small scientific nature, as Syria claimed, or part of wider, more extensive research.
At the same time, the IAEA complained that Syria had not cooperated with its investigation into allegations that Damascus had been building an undeclared reactor at a remote desert site called Dair Alzour until it was bombed by Israeli planes in September 2007.
The IAEA has been investigating the allegations since 2008 and has already said that the building bore some of the characteristics of a nuclear facility.
UN inspectors also detected "significant" traces of man-made uranium at that site, as yet unexplained by Damascus.
It has also requested access to three other locations allegedly functionally related to Dair Alzour, but so far to no avail.
"As a consequence, the Agency has not been able to make progress towards resolving the outstanding issues related to those sites," the watchdog said.
"Furthermore, with time, some of the necessary information may deteriorate or be lost entirely."
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano urged Syria "to cooperate with the Agency on these issues in a timely manner."
The report is scheduled to be discussed at a meeting of the IAEA's 35-member board of governors at a meeting next week.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g-yO7LNgfTKd3S3UcurA2x0IE23w
3. India and Pakistan Urged to Join Anti-Nuclear Pacts
Associated Press of Pakistan
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A UN-sponsored review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended Friday after adopting a declaration that calls on India, Pakistan and Israel to unconditionally join the 1970 pact and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) “without further delay”
“The conference remains convinced that universal adherence to the treaty can achieve this goal (of non-proliferation) and it calls upon all States not parties to the Treaty, India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to it without further delay and without conditions,” the final document, agreed after tough month-long negotiations, said.
Delegates called it “significant” that the NPT conference departed from its tradition and named the three holdouts, instead of making references to issues.
The 189 delegates to the conference also called on the “three states, operating unsafeguarded nuclear facilities to reverse clearly and urgently any policies to pursue any nuclear weapon development or deployment and to refrain from any action which would undermine regional peace and security,” it said.
The NPT review conference is held every five years to assess the progress in reaching the goals set out in the 1970 treaty to disarm and stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
India, Pakistan and Israel have not signed thew treaty which aims at limiting nuclear wepons. The last conference in 2005 had ended in failure. In a section on South Asia in the text, the UN urged India and Pakistan to place all nuclear facilities under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“The conference urges both states to strengthen their non-proliferation export control measures over technologies, material and equipment that can be used for the production of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems,” it said. Several Non-Aligned Movement countries criticized the final document because many of the Western nations did not make any concrete pledge to reduce their nuclear arsenal nor was the timeline of 2025 to get rid of the nuclear weapons accepted in the draft.
“We are aware that the adopted final document did not benefit to a great extent from the elements of a plan of action presented by the Non-Aligned Movement on the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” said Maged Abdelaziz, Egypt’s ambassador to the UN, speaking on behalf of the NAM countries.
“The position taken by certain nuclear weapon states manifested that they are not ready to refrain from their previously established undertakings and commitments,” noted Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh.
One of the few concrete steps included in the document was scheduling a meeting in 2012 to discuss the creation of a Middle East Nuclear Free Zone. The US took exception to the fact that Israel had been singled out in the text—a key demand of the Arab states.
“The Conference recalls the affirmation by the 2000 Review Conference of the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguard,” the document said.
US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ellen Tauscher, noted that the ability of the US to help with the regional conference had been “seriously jeopardised because the final document singles out Israel in the Middle East section, a fact that the United States deeply regrets.”
1. Brazil Commission Gives Go-Ahead For Angra 3 Nuclear Plant
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Brazil's Nuclear Energy Commission, or Cnen, issued a license Monday for the Angra 3 nuclear plant, clearing the last major bureaucratic obstacle to the construction of the reactor.
The plant will be Brazil's third nuclear power station and will be built close to the other two in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro state.
Angra 3 is pegged to start operations in 2015.
Hydroelectric dams account for more than 80% of Brazil's power capacity, but the government is keen to diversify. The Mines and Energy Ministry are studying the possibility of building up to eight nuclear plants by 2030.
Available at: http://news.morningstar.com/newsnet/ViewNews.aspx?article=/DJ/201005311305DOWJONESDJONLINE000189_univ.xml
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