Wikinews:Briefs/May 2, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, May 2, 2007.

US President Bush vetos spending bill

Tuesday United States President George W. Bush vetoed a US$124 billion supplemental appropriations bill that would provide funding for US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill set benchmarks for the Iraqi government to reach and also included a time-table for withdrawal from Iraq, if those benchmarks were not met.

"It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars. ... Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible," Bush said.

The bill allows the US to maintain forces in Iraq even after a withdrawal to target al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

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Estonia closes consulate in Russia

Estonia has closed its consulate in Moscow, Russia, after riots erupted outside. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleged that an attempt was made to assault the ambassador at a press conference and that this amounts to violation of diplomatic conventions.

The riots were in protest of Estonia's decision to relocate the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, a Soviet-era war memorial. Estonians feel the statue is a reminder of Soviet occupation, while Russians say it is a tribute to the soldiers that defeated Nazi Germany.

Meanwhile, Russia has halted deliveries of oil and coal products to Estonia.

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Former Iranian nuclear envoy arrested

State-run news agencies in Iran stated that Hossein Mousavian, a former envoy on Iran's nuclear program who worked for Hassan Rowhani, has been apprehended in Tehran. Mousavian was a key ally of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani. Mousavian is likely to be charged with espionage. An anonymous Iranian news agency official said, "Mousavian was arrested because of connections and exchange of information with foreign elements."