Enrichment stepped up
The government was yesterday to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna over its start of a process to increase the nation’s uranium enrichment capacity, Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told Iranian Students News Agency. Kamalvandi said the nation had the capacity to accelerate production of centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday said that he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment capacity if a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after the US withdrawal from it last month. European signatories of the accord back the deal, but have concerns over Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its influence in the Middle East. Under the agreement with the US, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran strictly limited uranium enrichment capacity to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop nuclear bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions.
Students to tour nation
High school students in Parkland, Florida — where a former student shot dead 17 people in February — are to start traveling across the nation this month to urge young people to stand up and vote against the powerful gun lobby. The national tour announced on Monday and dubbed “March For Our Lives: Road to Change” is to begin on Friday next week and is scheduled to make 50 stops in more than 20 states — “places where the NRA [National Rifle Association] has bought and paid for politicians who refuse to take simple steps to save our lives,” the movement’s Web site said. The goal is to “hold politicians accountable,” said Cameron Kasky, a teenage activist who helped found the March For Our Lives campaign after surviving the carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “Our generation and many generations that are helping us can change the game,” the 17-year-old said. “We do not have to surrender to dirty, awful politics.”
Incoming asteroid burns up
A boulder-size asteroid disintegrated harmlessly over Africa, just hours after its weekend discovery. It was only the third time scientists had spotted an incoming asteroid on a direct collision course with Earth. NASA reported the latest episode on Sunday night. The asteroid was discovered out near the moon’s orbit early on Saturday, aiming straight for Earth. Asteroid trackers at NASA and elsewhere quickly determined the rock — 1m to 2m across — was too small to pose any danger. It burned up in the Saturday evening sky over Botswana, eight hours after first being spotted. NASA said the scramble among scientists and asteroid observers was a good training exercise.
Record price for Van Gogh
A painting by a young Vincent van Gogh was sold at an auction in Paris on Monday for more than 7 million euros (US$8.2 million), the Artcurial auction house said. Raccommodeuses de Filets dans les Dunes (Women Mending Nets in the Fields) dates from 1882 and was bought by a US collector in a hot bidding battle that boosted the selling price far above the estimated value of between 2 million and 5 million euros. “It’s a world record for a Van Gogh landscape, in the Dutch period, sold at auction,” Artcurial said. Monday’s event was the first auction of a painting by the Dutch artist in more than two decades in the nation.
PASTA PUNCHLINE: Billy McLean’s spoof poking fun at misinformation on the coronavirus was meant for friends, but is being eaten up by frazzled Britons It started off as an ad-libbed joke for some friends in a soccer banter group and ended up being heard by vast numbers of Britons within hours. However, the man responsible for a joke WhatsApp audio clip that claimed the UK Ministry of Defence was about to requisition Wembley Stadium to cook the world’s biggest lasagna has said his viral success also shows the risks of believing everything that gets sent to you on the messaging service. Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner who works in software sales, came forward to the Guardian to identify himself as the creator of the much-shared clip
‘AN HONORABLE TASK’: The brigade to Italy is the sixth contingent of doctors the nation has sent abroad to aid governments contending with the COVID-19 pandemic Cuba has dispatched doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help fight COVID-19 at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy, it said. The Caribbean nation has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution, with doctors on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s. Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including