Russia: Arms deal

MOSCOW — Russia and the United States will sign a new nuclear arms deal shortly, the Russian foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Sergey Lavrov sounded upbeat Wednesday when asked about the prospects for a quick successor deal to the 1991 START I treaty that expired Friday.

Asked by a reporter whether the agreement could be signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev at the sidelines of the international climate summit in Copenhagen, Lavrov said: "The treaty will be signed soon."

Britain: Convicted

LONDON — A Muslim man was convicted Wednesday of conspiracy to murder for his role in a plan to blow up trans-Atlantic passenger jets using liquid explosives, a plot that sparked sweeping restrictions for passengers carrying on liquids and gels.

Adam Khatib, 22, was convicted of plotting with Abdulla Ahmed Ali, who in September was sentenced to 40 years in prison for leading a team that planned to down at least seven trans-Atlantic flights in simultaneous attacks officials say would have killed thousands.

Found guilty Wednesday of lesser charges in the plot were two co-defendants, Mohammed Shamin Uddin, 39, and Nabeel Hussain, 25, who was found guilty of preparing for terrorism and for possessing several items that could be used for terrorism.

Venezuela: Leftists

CARACAS — Hundreds of leftists gathered in Venezuela's capital have set plans for a regional movement in Latin America and are expressing support for insurgent groups like the rebels in Colombia.

Some 950 people from 26 nations agreed to form the Bolivarian Continental Movement, named after South American independence hero Simon Bolivar, said Zenaida Tahhan, who leads a chapter in Venezuela, said Wednesday after the conference wrapped up.

Ukraine: Iraq aid

KIEV — Ukraine will provide Iraq with $2.5 billion worth of weapons and military equipment under a deal intended to shore up Iraq's fledgling armed forces before the planned pullout of U.S. troops, a senior Ukrainian lawmaker said Wednesday.

Anatoly Grytsenko, head of the Ukrainian parliament's security and defense committee, said the agreement with the Iraqi ministry of defense calls for Ukraine to produce and deliver 420 BTR-4 armored personnel carriers, six AN-32B military transport planes and other military hardware to Iraq.

Switzerland: Collider

GENEVA — The world's largest atom smasher has recorded its first high-energy collisions of protons, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Physicists hope those collisions will help them understand suspected phenomena such as dark matter, antimatter and ultimately the creation of the universe billions of years ago, which many theorize occurred as a massive explosion known as the Big Bang.

The collisions occurred Tuesday evening as the Large Hadron Collider underwent test runs in preparation for operations next year, said Christine Sutton of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN.

Ireland: Pay cuts

DUBLIN — Ireland slashed pay for state workers, cut welfare benefits and imposed new environmental taxes on fuel Wednesday as it unveiled a record euro4 billion ($6 billion) in budget cuts to combat a runaway deficit.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said about 400,000 state workers — a fifth of the country's work force — would suffer pay cuts ranging from 5 percent to 15 percent and Prime Minister Brian Cowen will cut his salary a full 20 percent.