2011-11-29 / World

BRIEFS

Iranian students storm British Embassy

TEHRAN, Iran ( AP) — Dozens of hard-line Iranian students have stormed the British Embassy in Tehran, bringing down the British flag and throwing documents from windows.

The students clashed with anti-riot police and chanted “ the Embassy of Britain should be taken over” and “death to England.”

Today’s incident comes two days after Iranian parliament approved a bill that reduces diplomatic relations with Britain following London’s support of recently upgraded U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

Rep. Barney Frank says he’s retiring

WASHINGTON ( AP) — Rep. Barney Frank says he’s retiring because his Massachusetts district has changed so much he’d have to spend too much time campaigning for re-election.

Frank tells NBC’s “Today” show his decision has nothing to do with Democratic prospects for retaking control of the House.

Asked what people should think, the 71-year-old Frank says: “ This does not mean that we’re not going to take back the House.”

But he says redistricting has given him 325,000 constituents he doesn’t know. Because of this, the veteran Democrat says, he was afraid he’d have to spend too much time next year raising money and campaigning in the district.

Force in Afghanistan will shrink by 40,000

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Drawdown plans announced by the U. S. and more than a dozen other nations will shrink the foreign military footprint in Afghanistan by 40,000 troops at the close of next year, leaving Afghan forces increasingly on the frontlines of the decade-long war.

The United States is pulling out the most — 33,000 by the end of 2012. That’s one-third of 101,000 American troops who were in Afghanistan in June — the peak of U.S. military presence in the war, according to figures provided by the Pentagon.

Others in the 49- nation coalition have announced withdrawal plans too, even as they insist they are not rushing to leave. Many nations have vowed to keep troops in Afghanistan to continue training the Afghan police and army in the years to come. And many have pledged to keep sending aid to the impoverished country after the international combat mission ends in 2014.

Still, the exit is making Afghans nervous.

They fear their nation could plunge into civil war once the foreign forces go home. Their confidence in the Afghan security forces has risen, but they don’t share the U. S.- led coalition’s stated belief that the Afghan soldiers and policemen will be ready to secure the entire nation in three years. Others worry the Afghan economy will collapse if foreigners leave and donors get stingy with aid.

American Airlines parent seeks Ch. 11

American Airlines’ parent company is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it seeks to unload massive debt built up by years of accelerating jet fuel prices and labor struggles.

The nation’s third largest airline also said today that its CEO Gerard Arpey will step down. He’s being replaced by Thomas Horton, currently the company’s president.

Fort Worth, Texas- based AMR Corp., along with its regional affiliate AMR Eagle Holding Corp., said today that they filed voluntary petitions to reorganize.

American says it sought protection to reduce its costs and debt to remain competitive. The airline will continue normal flight operations during the reorganization.

American is the only U.S. legacy airline that hasn’t filed for bankruptcy protection. The last major airline to file for bankruptcy protection was Delta in 2005.

American says labor-contract rules force it to spend at least $600 million more than other airlines. That’s partly a result of AMR avoiding bankruptcy last decade, while airlines like United and Delta were able to scrap existing labor contracts after filing Chapter 11.

L.A. occupiers defy efforts to move camps

LOS ANGELES ( AP) — Occupy Wall Street protesters who defied a deadline to remove their weeks- old encampment on the Los Angeles City Hall lawn stood their ground today as they faced uncertainty over when or if police would push them out of the park — and if an eviction could happen without the kind of violence that has engulfed the removal of protest sites in other cities.

Protesters in the nation’s second largest city have turned to the federal courts to keep officers away after disobeying a city-imposed 12:01 a.m. deadline Monday to take down their camp. They argue that the City Council passed a resolution in support of the movement and that the city’s mayor and police did not have the authority to evict them.

China’s vaccine makers gearing up

BEIJING (AP) — The world should get ready for a new Made in China product — vaccines.

China’s vaccine makers are gearing up over the next few years to push exports in a move that should lower costs of lifesaving immunizations for the world’s poor and provide major new competition for the big Western pharmaceutical companies.

However, it may take some time before some parts of the world are ready to embrace Chinese products when safety is as sensitive an issue as it is with vaccines — especially given the food, drug and other scandals the country has seen.

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