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Nov. 14, 2003 at 6:38 PM
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, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- U.N. welcomes Iran's nuclear decision

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Friday welcomed Iran's recent decision to suspend all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.

Annan also welcomed Tehran's decision to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The measure would allow enhanced, unannounced and on-the-spot inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The Iranian ambassador to Austria, Ali Akbar Salehi, delivered a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, in Vienna Monday declaring his government's acceptance of the Additional Protocol to the NPT amid increasing concern of Iran's possible development of nuclear weapons.

"The Secretary-General welcomes the recent decision by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to conclude the Additional Protocol, to act in accordance with its provisions until its entry into force, and to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities," a spokesman for Anan said. "He encourages the IAEA, the government of Iran and the other governments that have been working with Iran on this matter to continue their efforts in this respect."

U.S. casualties top 9,000 in Iraq war

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The number of U.S. casualties from Operation Iraqi Freedom has passed 9,000, according to new Pentagon data.

In addition to the 397 service members who have died and the 1,967 wounded, 6,861 troops were medically evacuated for non-combat conditions between March 19 and Oct. 30, the Army Surgeon General's office told United Press International Thursday.

That brings total casualties among all services to more than 9,200, and represents an increase of nearly 3,000 non-combat medical evacuations reported since the first week of October. The Army offered no immediate explanation for the increase.

The U.S. military considers casualties as troops killed, wounded or evacuated due to injury or illness.

A leading veterans' advocate expressed concern. "We are shocked at the dramatic increase in casualties," said Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center.

Enron fees to exceed $1 billion

DALLAS, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Enron estimates the legal and accounting costs of its bankruptcy will exceed $1 billion by 2006, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday.

The budget estimate was in 1,000 pages of documents the company filed in support of its Chapter 11 plan for reorganization. A hearing is scheduled next week before the New York bankruptcy judge handling the mammoth case.

Enron has already paid out fees of more than $500 million to three dozen law firms and several accounting firms since filing for bankruptcy in December 2001 and the company expects to pay another $500 million by 2006.

Lynn Lopucki, a bankruptcy law expert at the University of California at Los Angeles, told the Chronicle the fees were "shocking."

Enron and some bankruptcy professors have defended the company's expenditures by noting it is the most complex bankruptcy ever.

German MP expelled

BERLIN, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Germany's main opposition party, CDU, voted to expel one of its MPs for his remarks against Jews, the BBC reported Friday.

Martin Hohmann was expelled because he had said on German Unity Day six weeks ago that the Jewish people were responsible for many crimes during the Russian Revolution.

Despite the expulsion vote of 195 to 28, with 16 abstentions, Hohmann will retain his seat in parliament. A separate procedure to strip him of his party membership could take years if he challenges it in court.

In his remarks, Hohmann had compared what he called the Jewish people's culpability for crimes of the Russian Revolution to Germany's responsibility for the Holocaust.

The CDU earlier resisted calls to expel Hohmann, but decided to take action after his speech caused much controversy in the country.

The issue has overshadowed the party's proposals for economic and social reforms and comes at a time when the CDU is ahead of the ruling Social Democrats in opinion polls.

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