EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 17, 2013

Around the World and Nation


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — GENEVA (AP) — Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers ended on an upbeat note Wednesday, with top Western and Iranian negotiators announcing a follow-up round early next month while speaking of significant progress in efforts to reduce fears that Tehran may be seeking atomic arms.

Despite abandoning the pessimistic tone of previous meetings, however, negotiators refused to reveal details on what — if any — concessions Iran offered. That gives potential traction to skeptics who can claim the conference was aimed more at building trust and silencing critics at home than in resolving the thorny issues that have blocked progress over a decade of talks.

Iran denies suspicions that it wants nuclear arms and has resisted incentives and tough penalties aimed at curbing its atomic activities. But since reformist Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office in August, senior officials from Rouhani on down have pledged to meet international concerns in exchange for an easing of crippling economic sanctions.

The post-meeting optimism expressed by senior Western and Iranian officials suggested that Tehran had put forward serious proposals at the two-day talks.

Coast Guard: 4 people dead when boat capsizes near Florida; others rescued

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Ten people were found clinging to the hull of a small boat that capsized early Wednesday off South Florida, trapping the bodies of four dead women and one survivor in a tiny pocket of air beneath it.

The fifteen people appeared to be making a perilous journey that thousands try each year. Migrants from Haiti, Cuba and other Caribbean countries routinely attempt to illegally enter the U.S. by reaching Florida’s coast in overloaded or unseaworthy vessels, often through established smuggling networks that include islands in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

Early Wednesday, one of the survivors called 911 on a cellphone, alerting authorities to their location seven miles east of Miami.

Dozens of Syrian fighting groups break ties withmain opposition

BEIRUT (AP) — Several dozen rebel groups in southern Syria have broken with the main political opposition group in exile, a local commander said in a video posted Wednesday, dealing a potential new setback to Western efforts to unify moderates battling President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition, the political arm of the Free Syrian Army rebel group, has long struggled to win respect and recognition from the fighters. It is widely seen as cut off from events on the ground and ineffective in funneling aid and weapons to the rebels.

In the video, a rebel in military fatigues read a statement with about two dozen fighters standing behind him, some holding a banner with FSA emblems.

FSA spokesman Louay Mikdad told The Associated Press that the video is authentic and identified the man speaking as a captain in one of the rebel groups, Anwar al-Sunna, which posted the video.

The rebel in the video said political opposition leaders have failed to represent those trying to bring down Assad.

JPMorgan paying $100M, admitting manipulation of prices in settlement over $6B trading loss

WASHINGTON (AP) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay a $100 million penalty and admitted that its traders acted “recklessly” during a series of London trades that ultimately cost the bank $6 billion.

The settlement announced Wednesday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission comes less than a month after JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank, agreed to pay $920 million and admit fault in a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other U.S. and British regulators.

The stunning trading losses that surfaced in April 2012 shook the financial world and damaged JPMorgan’s reputation. The CFTC deal differs from the previous agreement because JPMorgan is formally acknowledging that its traders recklessly distorted prices to reduce the banks’ losses at the expense of other market participants. In the SEC agreement, JPMorgan admitted only that it failed to supervise those traders.

The bank “recklessly disregarded the fundamental precept on which market participants rely: that prices are established based on legitimate forces of supply and demand,” the CFTC said in a news release.

According to the agency, JPMorgan traders in London sold off $7 billion in derivatives tied to a price index of corporate bonds in one day — including $4.6 billion worth in a three-hour span.