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Asia Top News and Analysis Iran

  • JERUSALEM-- Israel officially opened its election season on Monday as parliament dissolved itself and scheduled a vote for January, plunging the country into a vicious, three-month political campaign. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted of his achievements, while the opposition heckled and insulted him mercilessly.

  • The governor, Sinan al-Shabibi, is seen as a politically independent economist who has led the bank since shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.. Iraqi Integrity Commission spokesman Hassan Karim Aati said it has received documents from a parliamentary committee investigating the allegations and is looking into the matter.

  • LUXEMBOURG-- The European Union, concerned by what it called Iran's refusal to come clean on its nuclear program, imposed a new range of sanctions Monday intended to hit the country's treasury and increase pressure on its Islamic regime.

  • LOS ANGELES-- Liam Neeson's "Taken 2" has defended its box-office title with a narrow win over Ben Affleck's "Argo." Sony's "Here Comes the Boom," with Kevin James as a teacher who becomes a mixed martial arts sensation, started weakly at No. 5 with $12 million.

  • Satellite provider Eutelsat agreed with media services company Arqiva to block the Irib channels as of Monday morning because of "reinforced EU council sanctions" Eutelsat spokeswoman Vanessa O'Connor said. Irib's access to Eutelsat was via a contract with Arqiva.

  • *Turkey- Syria tensions, lower N. Sea output support. Expectations of a looser market weighed on prices after a report by the International Energy Agency's forecast higher supplies and declining oil consumption after concerns about North Sea oil supplies and Middle East tensions supported Brent for most of the week.

  • BRUSSELS, Oct 12- The European Union provisionally approved new economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme on Friday, with senior diplomats giving their backing to measures against Tehran's banking sector, industry and shipping.

  • *Turkey- Syria tensions, lower N. Sea output support. The International Energy Agency's prediction of a further decline in oil consumption and higher supplies weighed on oil prices that have received support from slowed North Sea production and fears of potential supply disruptions from the Middle East.

  • WASHINGTON-- Fierce and focused, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan gave voters the kind of substantive showdown that was everything the presidential debate was not. "Not a single thing he said is accurate," Biden shot back when Ryan leveled a charge that President Barack Obama was projecting U.S. weakness.

  • *EU diplomats approve new Iran sanctions. BRUSSELS, Oct 12- The European Union provisionally approved substantial new economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme on Friday, with senior diplomats giving their backing to measures against Tehran's banking sector and industry.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 12- Antonio "Tony" Mendez is the rarest of creatures: A former spy who has come out of the woodwork. His story is the subject of Ben Affleck's new film, "Argo," released in the United States Friday, and tipped to feature in Hollywood's awards season.

  • BRUSSELS, Oct 12- Senior European Union diplomats gave their preliminary approval to new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear progamme on Friday, including major measures against the Islamic Republic's banking sector and industry, an EU diplomat said on Friday.

  • WASHINGTON-- Anyone who paid attention to a hearing in Congress this week knew that the administration had been implored to beef up security at the U.S. Consulate in Libya before the deadly terrorist attack there. But in the vice presidential debate Thursday night, Joe Biden seemed unaware.

  • DANVILLE, Ky.-- In a spirited debate that laid out stark choices, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan teed up pointed arguments on the economy, social policy and America's place in the world that President Barack Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney now will drive forward into the campaign's final stretch.

  • London, Oct 12- Turkish imports of Iranian crude oil plummeted to around 100,000 barrels per day in September after spiking in August, data from Reuters AIS Live ship tracking and a shipping source showed.

  • *Pressure on OPEC to produce more easing. *Iraq, North America to increase oil production steeply. LONDON, Oct 12- The world could see a gradual easing of oil prices over the next five years due to sluggish economic growth and rising energy efficiency and as production increases steeply in Iraq and North America, the West's energy watchdog said on Friday.

  • *Pressure on OPEC to produce more easing. *Iraq, North America to increase oil production steeply. LONDON, Oct 12- The world could see a gradual easing of oil prices over the next five years due to sluggish economic growth and rising energy efficiency and as production increases steeply in Iraq and North America, the West's energy watchdog said on Friday.

  • *IEA cuts demand growth outlook due to sluggish economy* Pressure on OPEC to produce more easing* Iraq, North America to increase oil production steeply By Dmitry Zhdannikov and Christopher Johnson.

  • Just hours later, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the cyberthreat from Iran has grown, and he declared that the Pentagon is prepared to take action if American is threatened by a computer-based assault.

  • TOKYO, Oct 12- Iran's finance minister said on Friday that despite sanctions imposed on the country by Western nations, Iran's foreign exchange reserves are in a "good position".