Britain: Marriage age raised

LONDON — Britain's Home Office says it is raising the age at which someone can bring a foreign spouse to Britain in an attempt to reduce forced marriages.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says raising the age from 18 to 21 will reduce the number of marriages in which young British women, many from immigrant families, are taken abroad and pressured into marrying men their families have chosen for them.

The government says 30 percent of cases at its Forced Marriage Unit — which helps British nationals who fear they may be forced into marriage overseas — involves people between 18 and 21.

France: Radioactive mishap

PARIS — Radioactive particles spewed from a pipe at a French nuclear reactor on Wednesday, slightly contaminating 100 employees, a spokeswoman for the national electric company said.

It was the fourth incident at a French nuclear site in recent weeks and the second in five days.

Caroline Muller, a spokeswoman for Electricite de France, said 100 EDF employees were "slightly contaminated" by radioactive particles that escaped from the pipe at a reactor complex in Tricastin, in southern France.

Guatemala: Stolen baby adopted

GUATEMALA CITY — DNA tests for the first time have confirmed that a baby was stolen from her mother and adopted for profit in Guatemala.

The baby, Esther Zulamita, was taken by armed men in 2007 at her family's shoe shop. Her mother, Ana Escobar, has spent the past year searching for the child.

In May, Escobar saw the toddler with an American woman who was adopting the girl.

She pressed authorities to check the DNA samples on file, and they found they were falsified. New tests proved Escobar was the mother. Escobar convinced a Guatemalan judge in May to let her care for the child while the new DNA tests were performed.

Iran: Leader praises talks

YASOUJ — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that the United States' participation in the latest round of nuclear talks is a step toward recognizing Tehran's right to acquire nuclear technology.

A senior diplomat from the U.S. joined envoys from five other world powers in Switzerland at Saturday's talks on Iran's nuclear program. Ahmadinejad told thousands of supporters gathered in the southern Iranian town of Yasouj that U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns "spoke politely and in a dignified manner."

"It was a step toward recognizing the rights of the Iranian nation, toward justice, toward repairing your image in the world, toward cleaning 50 years of crimes you committed against the Iranian nation," Ahmadinejad said, addressing the U.S.

Iraq: Election bill vetoed

BAGHDAD — Iraq's president vetoed legislation on provincial elections on Wednesday, sending it back to lawmakers for revisions as political leaders continued to try to strike a deal that would allow the vote to be held this year as planned.

Provincial elections are seen as central to political progress in Iraq, but their timing was thrown into doubt on Tuesday when Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the parliamentary vote on the legislation, insisting that it be rewritten.

Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and at least one of his vice presidents vetoed the legislation, according to Mahmoud Othman, an independent Kurdish politician. Talabani's office earlier in the day had issued a statement promising a veto, saying that the legislation in its current form would deepen "the sectarian and national isolation and expand the circle of extremism."

Nigeria: Oil pipeline threatened

LAGOS — Nigeria's main militant group is threatening to destroy the country's major oil pipelines within 30 days.

A spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta says in an e-mail statement it would take the action to counter allegations that militants have received money from the nation's state-run oil company to protect oil facilities.

The militant group said Wednesday that it would destroy major pipelines within 30 days to prove they are not part of the deal.