U.K. hopes Mideast nuclear talks can be held next year

Britain said yesterday it hoped that a conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East could take place "as soon as possible," after the United States said Friday it would not be held in December as planned.

The U.S. State Department said the conference could not be convened "because of present conditions in the Middle East" and lack of agreement on "acceptable conditions for a conference."

Washington had feared the conference could be used as an anti-Israel forum. Britain, one of the co-organizers, said the conference has been postponed, not canceled.

(Reuters )

Tibetan man sets self on fire in protest in China

A Tibetan herdsman has died after setting himself on fire in northwest China's Qinghai province, state media reported yesterday, in the latest in a series of protests against Chinese rule. The official Xinhua News Agency said Dazheng, 27, self-immolated in Zekog county on Friday night, but provided no further details. The death came one day after Libong Tsering, 19, self-immolated in Tongren county in the same province on Thursday, according to an earlier Xinhua report. About 80 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 in protest against what overseas supporters say is China's suffocating security presence in Tibetan regions.

(AP )

Pope appoints six non-European cardinals

Pope Benedict made six non-European prelates Roman Catholic cardinals yesterday. They range in age from 53 to 72, and are from the United States, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Lebanon and Colombia.

All six are "cardinal electors," under 80 years old, and therefore eligible to enter the conclave that will eventually choose Benedict's successor. Popes usually reign for life, but Benedict has stated that he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to resign in more than 700 years if he felt no longer able "physically, psychologically and spiritually" to run the Catholic Church.

(Reuters )