TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's president says the Islamic Republic rejects the manufacture of nuclear weapons out of principle, not because it is prevented so by treaties.
Hassan Rouhani also said that, had Iran wanted weapons of mass destruction, it would be easier for it to make chemical or biological weapons. He made the comments Saturday while addressing Iran's defense ministry officials.
Rouhani said that Iran's "beliefs" and commitment to "ethical principles" prevent it from making a bomb.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already issued a religious decree banning the production and use of nuclear weapons. He says having such arms is a sin.
The U.S. and its allies fear that Iran seeks to develop the ability to make a nuclear weapon, should it want one. Iran denies the charge.
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- A Libyan security official says gunmen have shot dead an officer in the air defense branch in the eastern city of Benghazi.
The official says Colonel Wanis Massoud al-Barghathi was gunned down Friday night. He didn't provide further details, and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
A wave of assassinations and bombings has targeted police and army officers in Benghazi, a stronghold of militias with roots in the rebel brigades that fought against slain dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Some of the groups are Islamic hard-liners with al-Qaida links.
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's new Cabinet is being sworn in, days after the country's interim president chose a new prime minister.
State television aired the ministers being sworn in live from the presidential palace Saturday.
The new Cabinet keeps Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as the country's defense minister. El-Sissi is widely expected to be running for president.
The country's Interior Minister, in charge of police, also remains the same.
The new Cabinet is led by former Housing Minister Ibrahim Mehlib, who held a senior position in the now dissolved party of ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The surprise resignation of the Cabinet earlier this week, including then-Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, comes a few months before the presidential vote. Mehlib will keep 20 ministers from el-Beblawi's government and appointed 11 new ones, mostly technocrats.
CHINA-TRAIN STATION ATTACK
BEIJING (AP) -- State media is reporting that more than 10 knife-wielding attackers slashed people at a train station in southwestern China late Saturday in what authorities are calling a terrorist attack by Uighur (WEE'-gur) separatists.
Xinhua (shihn-wah) News Agency says police fatally shot four of the assailants, leaving 33 people dead and 130 others wounded.
A witness says the suspects, most of them dressed in black, stormed the Kunming train station in Yunnan province and started attacking people in the late evening. Xinhua says one was arrested.
The agency quotes the municipal government as saying that evidence found at the scene shows it was "a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang (shihn-jahng) separatist forces. Authorities consider it to be "an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack."
The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by separatists among parts of the Muslim Uighur population.
BEIJING (AP) -- A Chinese industry group says the country's factory activities expanded at the slowest pace since June, amid government efforts to rein in credit and investment growth.
The China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing said Saturday that its purchasing managers index for February slid to 50.2, down from 50.5 in the previous month.
The measure is a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate increasing activity.
China's economic activity has slowed steadily as the government tries to reduce reliance on investment in industry and infrastructure and encourage more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption.
Analyst Zhang Liqun said the February data could have been distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday, when factories shut down for two weeks when workers went home in late January and early February.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- A spokesman says U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will meet Monday with Venezuela's foreign minister.
Spokesman Martin Nesirky says Ban will meet in Geneva with Foreign Minister Elias Jaua, while Venezuela remains tense after weeks of violent student-led protests.
One of the opposition's highest profile leaders, former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, tweeted Saturday: "We also ask to be allowed to report on the actual situation, NO official bias!"
The opposition refuses to open a dialogue until President Nicolas Maduro releases protesters from jail and stops harsh crackdowns on protests.
The U.N. human rights chief called Friday for the Venezuelan government to respect peaceful assemblies and expressed concern about the use of excessive force against protesters.
Venezuelans face inflation that hit 56 percent last year, scarce basic necessities and runaway violent crime.
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) -- Bolivian authorities now say four people were killed and more than 60 injured when an overloaded metal footbridge collapsed onto a group of musicians marching in the opening parade of Carnival in the highlands city of Oruro.
Interior Minister Carlos Romero says three of the dead were musicians.
Dozens were on the bridge when it collapsed and the normally festive, even raucous, parade of colorfully clad musicians and dancers became a funereal march.
The four-day annual event is Bolivia's most celebrated festival, drawing at least 20,000 musicians and dancers, and tens of thousands more tourists to the regional capital.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Streets across Brazil have been swamped with Carnival revelers, with the largest parties attracting more than 1 million merrymakers.
In Rio de Janeiro, one of the most traditional "bloco" street parties hit fever pitch before noon, with the city's tourism officials saying more than 1 million people gathered in central Rio for the bash.
At the "Heaven on Earth" party in Rio's bohemian Santa Teresa neighborhood, thousands gathered at dawn. One of the party's themes this year is a protest against the billions being spent to host the World Cup football tournament. The crowd occasionally chanted "There will be no Cup! There will be no Cup!"
Carnival runs until Ash Wednesday, though bashes continue to pop up for a few weeks after.
BAGHDAD (AP) -- A senior Iraqi official says oil exports have shot up in February to 2.8 million barrels per day from nearly 2.3 million in the previous month, thanks to a small group of international oil companies developing oil fields and export infrastructure.
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for energy, Hussain al-Shahristani, also said Saturday in the southern oil-rich city of Basra that average production, including the exports, exceeded 3.5 million barrels per day last month. Al-Shahristani described the figures as "unprecedented."
Iraq's daily oil production and exports have climbed steadily since 2011, nearly two years after Iraq awarded rights to develop its major oil fields to international oil companies. It holds the world's fourth largest oil reserves, some 143.1 billion barrels, and oil revenues make up nearly 95 percent of its budget.
HAVANA (AP) -- Thousands of Cubans rallied at the University of Havana on Saturday night for a concert to give a hero's welcome to the second of five intelligence agents to return to the island after completing long prison terms in the United States.
The steps of the university were packed for the concert featuring nearly a dozen musical acts, including headliners and popular salsa act Los Van Van.
"I publicly reiterate my infinite gratitude for these 15 years of support and struggle that I know will not cease until Gerardo, Ramon and Tony have returned," said Fernando Gonzalez, who walked out of an Arizona prison on Thursday, referring to the three agents still behind bars.
Gonzalez, 50, returned to Cuba on Friday.
He and the other four agents were arrested in 1998 in Florida and subsequently sentenced to long prison terms on spy-related charges. Havana maintains they were only monitoring militant Cuban exile groups to prevent terror attacks on the island.
Gonzalez was in the front row at the concert along with family members, first Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Rene Gonzalez -- no relation -- the first of the Cuban Five to be released. He returned to Cuba last year.
Musicians including rocker David Blanco and troubadors Vicente Feliu and Gerardo Alfonso sang in front of a huge crowd of islanders waving Cuban flags and brandishing signs in support of the Cuban Five.
HAVANA (AP) -- Cigar enthusiasts paid more than (euro) 798,000 ($1.1 million) for six handmade Cuban humidors early Saturday at the gala closing of Havana's 16th annual Cigar Festival.
The hot item was a one-of-a-kind handcrafted humidor packed with Montecristo cigars that fetched (euro) 170,000 ($235,000).
Welsh crooner Tom Jones was among the invitees at Saturday's auction and sang three songs for attending guests, including his signature "It's Not Unusual."
"I love Cuban cigars to start with. I started smoking Cuban cigars in the `60s and I've never been to Cuba before. So this was a wonderful opportunity to come," Jones said.
The most expensive Cuban cigars, currently the Cohiba Behike, can cost upward of (euro) 50 ($69) each in Europe and Canada.
Officials said this week that sales of Cuban cigars rose 8 percent last year, despite increasing anti-smoking measures around the world, continued recession fears in Europe and the U.S. embargo which bars Americans from purchasing island-made stogies.
While Europe remains the top market for Cuban cigar brands, sales in Asian nations including China are growing.
Proceeds from the auction were to go to Cuba's state-run health-care system.