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Iran balked at language of draft nuclear deal, diplomats say

GENEVA — As Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers from other world powers sought to work out an interim agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranian government’s insistence on formal recognition of its “right” to enrich uranium emerged as a major obstacle, diplomats said Sunday.

In long hours of closed-door discussions, Western and Iranian negotiators haggled over the language of a possible agreement. Toward the end of a marathon session, some diplomats believed that only a handful of words appeared to separate the two sides.

But the dispute over enrichment rights, among other differences, meant that the talks ended not with the breakthrough many had hoped for, but with only a promise that lower-level negotiators would meet here in 10 days for more discussions.

—Michael R. Gordon, Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren,

The New York Times

Germany to form task force on looted art

After an avalanche of criticism at home and abroad, the German government announced late Monday that it will establish a task force to investigate, “as quickly and as transparently as possible,” the provenance of more than 1,400 artworks that are suspected of being traded or looted during the Nazis’ reign and that are now in the hands of authorities in Bavaria.

In a statement, the government said it planned immediately to post 25 works on the website www.lostart.de, the government-funded database for works missing since World War II. Others will be posted as their provenances are documented, it said.

According to prosecutors in the Bavarian city of Augsburg, who have so far been solely responsible for dealing with the works, some 380 are believed to have been legally taken from museums by the Nazis under the “degenerate art” law of 1938. The ownership histories of another 590 works must be examined to determine whether they were acquired from Jewish owners under duress.

The task force will consist of at least six provenance experts, as well as representatives from various ministries, the statement said.

—Patricia Cohen and Melissa Eddy, The New York Times

Typhoon casts long shadow over UN talks on new climate treaty

The typhoon that struck the Philippines produced an outpouring of emotion Monday at U.N. talks on a global climate treaty in Warsaw, where delegates were quick to suggest that a warming planet turned the storm into a lethal monster.

Olai Ngedikes, the lead negotiator for an alliance of small island nations, said in a statement that Typhoon Haiyan, which by some estimates killed 10,000 people in one city alone, “serves as a stark reminder of the cost of inaction on climate change and should serve to motivate our work in Warsaw.”

Naderev Saño, the chief representative of the Philippines at the conference, said he would stop eating in solidarity with the storm victims until “a meaningful outcome is in sight.”

“What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness; the climate crisis is madness,” Saño said. “We can stop this madness right here in Warsaw.”

His declaration, coupled with the scope of the disaster, moved many of the delegates to tears. Yet scientists remain cautious about drawing links between extreme storms like Haiyan and climate change. There is not enough data, they say, to draw conclusions about any single storm.

“Whether we’re seeing some result of climate change, we find that impossible to find out,” said Kerry A. Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

—Henry Fountain and Justin Gillis, The New York Times