PM al-Jaafari to head
next Iraqi government
BAGHDAD, Feb 12 (AP): Shiite lawmakers Sunday chose Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to head the new government, selecting the incumbent by a one-vote margin over Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Shiite officials said. Kurdish leaders expressed concern over the Shiite choice.
Al-Jaafari's win in the Shiite caucus vote is tantamount to appointment, since the law requires the president to offer the post to the choice of the biggest parliament bloc - the Shiites.
Al-Jaafari's selection is a key step in the formation of Iraq's next government, which will have a four-year mandate. Iraqi and U.S. authorities hope the government will bring together Iraq's Shiite Muslim, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders and help reduce the violence.
G8 cite oil prices as
MOSCOW (Bloomberg): Finance ministers from the Group of Eight nations (G8) singled out high oil prices as the top threat to the world economy and focused talks in Moscow on ensuring access to fuel supplies.
With oil costing more than US $60 a barrel, energy security emerged as the G8's chief concern as they met for the first time in Russia, the second largest producer of crude.
A January standoff between Ukraine and Russia cut natural-gas supplies to parts of Europe, while Iran is using oil as a bargaining chip in a diplomatic dispute over its nuclear programme.
Oil prices have risen 30 per cent in the past 12 months.
India warns EU against
racism in Mittal bid to
LONDON (AFX): Indian Trade and Industry Minister Kamal Nath warned European governments against racist reactions to Netherland-based Mittal Steel's takeover bid for rival Arcelor of Luxembourg, the Financial Times reported.
The Mittal group headed by Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal has made an 18.6 b euro bid for Arcelor, which would create a steel company with an output three times bigger than its three nearest rivals combined.
Iran affirms commitment to NPT
TEHRAN (Xinhuanet): The Iranian Foreign Ministry Sunday affirmed Iran's commitment to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
Hamid Reza Asefi, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, also called for a peaceful solution to his country's nuclear issue.
The remarks came one day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened to revise the nuclear policy.
Speaking at a weekly news conference, the spokesman said, "We are still committed to the provisions of the NPT. But we can't accept its use as a (political) instrument. We will cooperate in the treaty and the safeguards' framework."