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BBC

A blast knocked out the power system at Natanz on Sunday, causing damage to thousands of uranium centrifuges. Mr Rouhani warned the perpetrators that enrichment would now be ramped up as a response to "your wickedness". But he reiterated that Iran's nuclear activities were "exclusively peaceful". France, Germany and the UK expressed "grave concern" at the move, saying Iran had "no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level". more...

Scott Neuman

The top U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday provided their assessment of worldwide threats affecting U.S. interests, focusing on cybersecurity and military concerns posed by Beijing and Moscow, but also the threat of both domestic and international terrorism. It was the first such assessment formally presented at a hearing to Congress in two years due to tensions between former President Donald Trump and the nation's intelligence community. more...

SAMY MAGDY

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities impounded a massive cargo vessel that blocked the Suez Canal last month amid a financial dispute with its owner, the canal chief and a judicial official said Tuesday. Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie said the hulking Ever Given would not be allowed to leave the country until a compensation amount is settled on with the vessel's Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. “The vessel is now officially impounded,” he told Egypt’s state-run television late Monday. “They do not want to pay anything.” more...

By Tom Metcalfe - Live Science Contributor 3 hours ago

They could be Europe's oldest. Some 100,000 years ago, an extended family of 36 Neanderthals walked along a beach, with the kids jumping and frolicking in the sand, scientists report after analyzing the beachgoers' fossilized footprints in what is now southern Spain. "We have found some areas where several small footprints appeared grouped in a chaotic arrangement," said Eduardo Mayoral, a paleontologist at the University of Huelva and lead author of the study, which was published online March 11 in the journal Scientific Reports. The footprints "could indicate an area of passage of very young individuals, as if they were playing or loitering on the shore of the nearby waterlogged area," Mayoral told Live Science in an email. more...

by Abid Rahman

The BBC's decision to cut into its television and radio schedule and devote wall-to-wall coverage of the death of Prince Philip last Friday led to over 110,000 complaints from the public. The Guardian newspaper reports that a record number of people in the U.K. complained directly to the BBC over the public broadcaster's coverage in the 24 hours after the announcement of the Duke of Edinburgh's death at the age of 99. more...

By MARI YAMAGUCHI

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s government announced Tuesday it would start releasing treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in two years. It’s a move that’s fiercely opposed by fishermen, residents and Japan’s neighbors. The decision, long speculated at but delayed for years because of safety worries and protests, came during a meeting of Cabinet ministers who endorsed the ocean release as the best option. The accumulating water has been stored in tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant since 2011, when a massive earthquake and tsunami damaged its reactors and their cooling water became contaminated and began leaking. The plant’s storage capacity will be full late next year. more...

By Christina Zhao

A Windsor, Virginia police officer who escalated a traffic stop of a Black and Latino Army Lieutenant has been fired from the force. In December 2020, Windsor cops Daniel Crocker and Joe Gutierrez pulled over Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and drew their guns before using pepper spray and knocking him to the ground. Footage of the incident was shared online Friday, prompting national attention and widespread criticism. In a statement released Sunday evening, the Town of Windsor announced that Gutierrez had been "terminated from his employment." more...

If Israel was responsible, it would further heighten tensions between the two nations, already engaged in a shadow conflict across the wider Middle East.
By The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran on Monday blamed Israel for a sabotage attack on its underground Natanz nuclear facility that damaged the centrifuges it uses to enrich uranium there, warning that it would take revenge for the assault. The comments by Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh represent the first official accusation leveled against Israel for the incident Sunday that cut power across the facility. Israel has not directly claimed responsibility for the attack. However, suspicion fell immediately on it as Israeli media widely reported that a devastating cyberattack orchestrated by Israel caused the blackout. more...

BBC

A nuclear facility in Iran was hit by a "terrorist act" a day after it unveiled new advanced uranium centrifuges, a top nuclear official says. He did not say who was to blame but urged the international community to deal with nuclear terrorism. Israeli media suggest the incident was a result of an Israeli cyber attack. Last year, a fire broke out at the Natanz underground facility, which the authorities alleged was the result of cyber sabotage. The latest incident comes as diplomatic efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal - abandoned by the US under the Trump administration in 2018 - have resumed. more...

BBC

The military is reported to have taken away the bodies of those killed, and the true number of deaths may never be accurately established. Witnesses told local media that soldiers had used heavy weapons and had shot at anything that moved. More than 600 people have been killed since the 1 February military coup. The military has resorted to increasing levels of violence to maintain its grip on power. The latest killings in Bago, near the main city of Yangon, are reported to have happened on Friday but took a whole day to emerge as many residents were forced to flee to nearby villages. more...

Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIJING — In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost. Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu. more...

The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran's underground Natanz nuclear facility lost power Sunday just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium faster, the latest incident to strike the site amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers. As Iranian officials investigated the outage, many Israeli media outlets offered the similar assessment that a cyberattack darkened Natanz and damaged a facility that is home to sensitive centrifuges. While the reports offered no sourcing for the evaluation, Israeli media maintains a close relationship with the country's military and intelligence agencies. If Israel caused the blackout, it further heightens the tensions between the two nations already engaged in a shadow conflict across the wider Middle East. more...

By Jordan Williams

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an end to ‘worrying’ escalation at the border between Russia and Ukraine. Erdogan made the call at a news conference alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after meeting with his counterpart for three hours, Reuters reported. Erdogan added that Turkey was ready to provide "any support necessary," if the escalation in conflict between the two countries did not subside, Reuters reported. more...

By David Stanway, Scott Murdoch

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) -China slapped a record 18 billion yuan ($2.75 billion) fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Saturday, after an anti-monopoly probe found the e-commerce giant had abused its dominant market position for several years. The fine, about 4% of Alibaba’s 2019 domestic revenues, comes amid a crackdown on technology conglomerates and indicates China’s antitrust enforcement on internet platforms has entered a new era after years of laissez-faire approach. The Alibaba business empire has come under intense scrutiny in China since billionaire founder Jack Ma’s stinging public criticism of the country’s regulatory system in October. more...

David Pierson, KYAW HSAN HLAING

The 26-year-old student has never touched a gun, but she is heading into the jungles to enlist with rebels seeking to overthrow the military junta in a nation tumbling toward civil war. The student, who lives in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, will soon embark on a treacherous journey snaking past military checkpoints close to the border with Thailand. Her hope of studying in Europe has been set aside so she can train in guerrilla warfare alongside ethnic insurgents, including her fellow majority Buddhist Bamars, who are determined to resist Myanmar’s military junta, which seized power in a February coup. more...

By Nikki Battiste CBS News

Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine is facing a double dose of problems. Georgia is the third state to temporarily shut down a vaccine site after eight people suffered adverse reactions to the shot. Earlier this week, 18 people in North Carolina reported side effects, while 11 people in Colorado reacted to the shot with symptoms ranging from dizziness, nausea and fainting. "This is a really potent vaccine, and what we're seeing is some of that potency relating at a very rare side effect that we just have to be aware of," said Dr. David Agus, a CBS News medical contributor. All three major U.S. vaccines produced adverse reactions in more than 60,000 people nationwide. For each manufacturer — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — just one-tenth of 1% of all people have reported side effects. Another problem facing Johnson & Johnson is distribution. The company is dramatically scaling back shipments to states by 86% next week. more...

Nick Paton Walsh 2018
Analysis by Nick Paton Walsh, CNN

London (CNN)For an army given to masking its moves, surely the worst way to disguise a potential imminent invasion of a country is by overtly preparing for it. This is the paradox around Russia's visible buildup in its west, not far from the Ukrainian border. Were Moscow trying to reverse the military stalemate around the Donbas separatist region -- that it truncated from Ukraine in 2014 -- would it want to telegraph its moves so blatantly? Russia's signals are obvious. Relentless social media videos show armored convoys moving towards the general border area. These led to open-source intelligence sleuths @CITeam_en spotting a congregation of likely hundreds of vehicles not far from the Russian city of Voronezh. That is still over 100 miles from Ukraine, but it is a sizeable buildup that was captured on satellite images from the Maxar technology group. more...

Heard on Morning Edition
Vicki Barker

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband and the Duke of Edinburgh, died Friday at age 99, Buckingham Palace announced. He was the first male royal consort since Queen Victoria's time in the 1800s — and the longest-serving consort in British history. "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the Royal Family's official website said. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will [be] made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss." more...

BBC

A top Russian official has warned that Moscow could intervene to help Russian-speaking residents in eastern Ukraine if Ukraine launches an all-out assault on separatists there. Russian-backed separatist rebels and Ukrainian troops have been clashing in the east of the country. Russia has also been building up troops on the border with Ukraine. The official, Dmitry Kozak, said that Russian forces could intervene to "defend" its citizens. "Everything depends on the scale of the conflagration," he said. He also warned that an escalation could mark the "beginning of the end" for Ukraine - "not a shot in the leg, but in the face". The United States and Germany have both expressed concern at the increase in tensions. more...

North Korea’s sports ministry announced on April 6, 2021, that the country will withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games, citing Covid-19 risks. The international sporting event, which was originally scheduled to happen in 2020, has been postponed until July 23, 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic. News about Pyongyang’s decision to pull out of the event came just after Olympics organisers announced that international spectators would not be allowed at the Games. video...

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a law allowing him to potentially hold onto power until 2036, a move that formalizes constitutional changes endorsed in a vote last year. The July 1 constitutional vote included a provision that reset Putin’s previous term limits, allowing him to run for president two more times. The change was rubber-stamped by the Kremlin-controlled legislature and the relevant law signed by Putin was posted Monday on an official portal of legal information. The 68-year-old Russian president, who has been in power for more than two decades — longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin — said he would decide later whether to run again in 2024 when his current six-year term ends. more...

By ILAN BEN ZION

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at prosecutors in his corruption trial, accusing them of trying to oust him. In a nationally televised statement, Netanyahu said the case against him is threatening to undermine the will of the country’s voters. “This is what a coup attempt looks like,” he said. Netanyahu spoke shortly after his corruption trial resumed and with the country’s president holding post-election consultations on choosing the next prime minister designate. more...

BBC

The former crown prince of Jordan is accused of trying to mobilise tribal leaders against the government, the country's deputy prime minister says. Prince Hamzah bin Hussein worked with "foreign entities" to destabilise the state, Ayman Safadi said. The prince had earlier released two videos to the BBC, claiming he was being held under house arrest. He denied conspiracy, but accused Jordan's leaders of corruption and incompetence. Sixteen people, including a former adviser to King Abdullah and another member of the royal family, were arrested on Saturday for allegedly threatening security. more...

By Reuters Staff

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that any attempts to start a new military conflict in Ukraine’s war-torn east could end up destroying Ukraine, the TASS news agency reported. more...

Sinéad Baker

Russia now requires all smart devices, including smartphones, computers, and smart TVs, in the country to be pre-installed with Russian software, in what some locals have called a "law against Apple." The new came into force on Thursday, applying to all devices bought in the country from that day onwards. Reuters noted that Russia views it as a way to help Russian software companies compete with international ones. The outlet added that the law had been an issue for Apple, with many in the country calling it a "law against Apple." more...

By Brad Lendon, CNN

Hong Kong (CNN)The Philippine military said Thursday it has discovered illegally built structures on features in the Union Banks, a series of reefs in the South China Sea near where Manila says Chinese maritime militia boats have been swarming in recent weeks. The military said the structures were spotted during maritime patrols conducted on Tuesday, but it did not give the precise location of the structures or more details as to who erected them or as to their construction, saying only their presence violated international law. "These structures are illegal," military chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement. "The Laws of the Sea gives the Philippines indisputable and exclusive rights over the area. These constructions and other activities, economic or otherwise, are prejudicial to peace, good order, and security of our territorial waters," Sobejana said. more...


Details surrounding the claim by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that he is the victim of an extortion plot involving allegations of a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old now portend to connect it to a search for an FBI agent who went missing in Iran 14 years ago. According to documents obtained and reported by the Washington Examiner, Gaetz's family was approached by former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent, who claimed that he had located former agent Robert Levinson, whose family presumed him to be dead. Kent reportedly sought a $25 million loan to fund an operation to rescue Levinson, and promised to help the congressman with legal woes in return. more...

SAMY MAGDY

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt is expecting more than $1 billion in compensation after a cargo ship blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week, according to the top canal official. He also warned the ship and its cargo will not be allowed leave Egypt if the issue of damages goes to court. Lt. Gen. Ossama Rabei, head of the canal authority, said in a phone interview with a pro-government TV talk show on Wednesday that the amount takes into account the salvage operation, costs of stalled traffic, and lost transit fees for the week that the Ever Given had blocked the Suez Canal. “It’s the country’s right,” Rabei said, without specifying who would be responsible for paying the compensation. He added that in the past, canal authorities and the ship's owners have had a good relationship. more...

By JILL LAWLESS

LONDON (AP) — The most senior Black adviser to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned, the government said Thursday, the day after a report on racial disparities concluded that Britain does not have a systemic problem with racism. The government denied any link between the departure of Samuel Kasumu and the much-criticized report, which activists and academics have accused of ignoring the experiences of ethnic-minority Britons. The prime minister’s office said Kasumu would leave his job as a special adviser for civil society and communities in May, as had “been his plan for several months.” It denied the resignation was related to Wednesday’s publication of a report by the government-appointed Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which concluded that Britain is not an institutionally racist country. more...

Academics say they were not asked to produce research specifically for commission on racial disparities
Aamna Mohdin Community affairs correspondent

Leading academics cited in the government’s controversial racial disparity report say they were not properly consulted, and claim that they were never tasked to produce research specifically for the commission. The report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, released on Wednesday, says that while racism and racial injustice do still exist, geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion all have a greater impact on life chances. The commission notes it requested new research from a number of sources, including Veena Raleigh and Shilpa Ross from The King’s Fund. But a spokesperson for the independent thinktank said this was not “strictly true”. more...

Walter Biot acted out of financial desperation if he sold confidential documents as alleged, wife says
Angela Giuffrida in Rome

The wife of an Italian navy captain arrested this week for allegedly passing confidential documents to a Russian official has said her husband must have acted “out of desperation”. Tensions between Rome and Moscow are running high after the Italian foreign ministry ordered the expulsion on Wednesday of the Russian military official allegedly involved in the spying case and another official. The navy captain, identified by the Italian press as Walter Biot, was arrested on Tuesday night after police caught him allegedly handing secret files to an employee of the Russian embassy’s military attache in return for cash. Biot’s wife, Claudia Carbonara, said she had not been aware of her husband’s alleged actions, but insisted he was not a spy. more...

Walter Biot himself has refused to answer questions from an investigating judge, but his wife spoke to the media on his behalf.

"He was just desperate," she said. The 54 year old was arrested in a car park on the southern fringes of Rome on Tuesday, accused of exchanging secrets for thousands of euros in cash. In an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper, his wife Claudia Carbonara was adamant "he gave the minimum he could to the Russians" but was unable to cope with the financial strains of living on a monthly salary of €3,000 (£2,500; $3,500). She insisted he would do nothing to harm Italy. more...

Scott Neuman

A Hong Kong court has convicted seven prominent pro-democracy advocates, including lawyer Martin Lee and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, of unlawful assembly for their roles in organizing an anti-government protest. The convictions on Thursday come amid a general crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong and just days after Chinese officials approved a major overhaul of the its electoral system that gives Beijing near-total control in choosing the territory's leaders. Leung Kwok-hung, a former Hong Kong lawmaker known as "Long Hair," was also among those convicted. "Shame on political prosecution! Peaceful demonstration is not a crime," Leung shouted after the conviction, according to the South China Morning Post. Others found guilty were Margaret Ng, Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho, and Cyd Ho — all veterans of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement. more...

Holly Ellyatt

LONDON — A significant rise in tensions between Russia and Ukraine in recent weeks is prompting fears of a revival of the military conflict. Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, there have been ongoing skirmishes between Ukraine’s troops and pro-Russian separatists in Donbass, a region in eastern Ukraine. The fighting, which has been punctuated by periods of cease-fire (which both sides have accused the other of violating), is believed to have killed around 14,000 people. Last week, Ukraine said four of its soldiers had been killed by shelling by Russian forces in Donbass. more...

John Bacon USA TODAY

The cost of blocking shipping for almost a week through one of the most crucial waterways on earth apparently comes in at right around $1 billion. And that's just the bill Egypt could soon be trying to collect. It does not include damages for the owners of more than 400 boats delayed by the calamity on the Suez Canal, nor compensation that could be sought by companies whose materials or products were on those boats. Lt. Gen. Ossama Rabei, head of Suez Canal Authority, told Egypt's Sada ElBalad news that Egypt will likely seek $1 billion in compensation for physical and financial damages resulting from the grounding of the massive cargo ship Ever Given. Rabei said the compensation would cover losses from transit fees, the cost of six days of dredging and tugboat activity – and damage to the canal from the dredging. more...

By Pamela Falk

A U.N. special envoy warned the 15-nation Security Council on Wednesday that "a bloodbath is imminent" in Myanmar if it does not act to curb the violent military crackdown against protesters, according to a copy of her remarks obtained by CBS News. "Looking back ten years from now, how will history judge this inaction?" Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Christine Schraner Burgener asked the diplomats. "I hope you can act while there is still time to avoid the worst outcome by overcoming caution and disagreement." The violence in Myanmar, sparked by a February 1 coup of the nation's democratically elected leader, intensified over the weekend, when activists say more than 100 people were killed by the military junta's security forces in what appeared to be the bloodiest day yet of the conflict between protesters and the junta.  more..


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