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Chatter: Iran won't talk nuclear to the US

Iran's supreme leader says no to direct talks with the US, the EU battles over its budget, and Japan is alarmed by David's anatomy.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Iran won't talk nuclear to the US. Hopes were raised by recent flirtation between the respective governments, only to be dashed by the Islamic Republic's supreme leader. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pronounced today that he remains opposed to any one-on-one conversation while the US continues to impose sanctions on Iran – and what he says, goes.

It's not clear whether his opposition also extends to the multi-nation nuclear talks that Iran is due to hold with six other countries, including the US, later this month.

Hold on to your hats: it's EU budget time again. Europe's most powerful are gathering in Brussels today for the start of a two-day budget summit, this one to decide how – and how much – the EU spends for the next seven years.

Sounds dry? Well, in these times of austerity, debt and Euroskepticism, such meetings can get famously rowdy. As rowdy as a room full of Eurocrats talking fiscal responsibility can get, anyhow.

WANT TO KNOW

Let's talk drones. John Brennan, noted drone enthusiast and President Barack Obama's nominee for the next head of the CIA, can't avoid the topic at his Senate confirmation hearing today. And it's not just him: after a leaked memo (now to be handed over to Congress) justifying the US government's death strikes and the exposure of a secret CIA drone base in Saudi Arabia, unmanned aerial vehicles are on everyone's mind.

It's time to think about the ethical and legal implications. GlobalPost's Jean MacKenzie analyzes what it means for the war on terror when the rules don't apply.

How'd you say Texan in German? If you'd been to south-central Texas a hundred years ago, plenty of people could have told you. More than 100,000 people spoke Texas German, an Anglo-Deutsch dialect sown by German settlers in the Lone Star State.

Now only a few thousand Texans speak it, and all of those are over 60. Linguists are racing to record the dialect before it disappears forever – and with it, an entire culture. Listen to it here on GlobalPost, while you still can.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

There's a fine line between art and obscenity – and Japan is usually cheerfully straddling it. But now, the country that gave us eel porn and genital cannibalism has turned prudish: residents in the small town of Okuizumo want a local replica of Michelangelo's nude David to put on some darn underpants.

To be fair, the sculpture is 16-foot high and towers over the town's playground. Okuizumans say the larger-than-life artwork is "frightening the children and worrying the adults with its nakedness." Not like, say, this. Oh no.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-iran-wont-talk-nuclear-us