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Iran resumes uranium enrichment at Fordow plant

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Tehran, Nov 7 The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) on Thursday said that it has officially started injecting gas into hundreds of centrifuges at the underground Fordow nuclear plant in Tehran’s fourth step to reduce its commitments to the 2015 landmark nuclear deal.

According to an AEOI statement, the operation started at 12 a.m. on Thursday after the transfer of a 2,800-kg cylinder containing 2,000 kg of UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) from Natanz nuclear facility to Fordow – near the city of Qom, where 1,044 centrifuges are installed, Press TV reported.

The 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), allowed the first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Fordow to spin without uranium gas.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the AEOI, had earlier said the injection of uranium hexafluoride is being monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Kamalvandi said the plant will then resume uranium enrichment, and that the level of purity of enrichment will reach 4.5 per cent by Saturday, when the inspectors will come back to check the process again.

An IAEA spokesman confirmed that UN inspectors were on the ground in Iran and would report back on relevant activities.

The fourth step in Iran’s commitment reductions was initially announced by President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday.

The President had said that Iran was ready to resume its nuclear commitments when the remaining parties to the deal fulfilled their end of the bargain.

On the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the deal on May 8, 2019, Tehran decided to reduce its commitments to the JCPOA and set a deadline for Europeans to remedy breaches, said the state-run IRNA news agency.

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Trump will be seventh US President to visit India

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Donald Trump

New York, Feb 24 : When Donald Trump is greeted with a crescendo of “Namastes” when he lands in Ahmedabad he will be the seventh US President to visit India while in office.

He visited India in 2014 as a real estate businessman, but this will be a presidential visit.

President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, who came to India in 1959 at the height of the Cold War was the first to visit India as it was coming into its own as an independent nation and the laboratory of democracy.

The visits reflect in some ways the status of India in the US world view.

Eisenhower’s visit was to explore India as young democracy with hopes of closer cooperation, perhaps moving away from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s nonalignment.

While there have been gaps of about a decade between some of the visits, since Bill Clinton in 2000 every president has come to India in a sign of its rising importance in world efforts.

There was a ten-year gap between Eisenhower’s visit and the next.

Democrats John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson had skipped India firmly ensconced in the nonaligned movement. (Johnson, however, had visited Pakistan, then a US ally.)

President Richard Nixon, another, Republican, visited India in 1969 and his successor Gerald Ford did not.

Nine years later, Democrat Jimmy Carter made the India trip in 1978 while Moraji Desai of the Janata Party was prime minister.

His mother, Lillian Carter, had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Mumbai.

Ronald Reagan and George Bush (the senior) skipped India.

Democrat Bill Clinton came to India in 2000, ending the 12-year gap in presidential visits.

Since then, every president has come to India.

The highlight of Republican George W Bush’s visit in 2006 was the signing of the landmark US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement – which was the only time a substantive agreement between the two countries was signed during a presidential visit.

The agreement, which he signed with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, virtually recognises India as a nuclear weapons power exempting it from some of the US nuclear nonproliferation restrictions in order for both the countries to cooperate in the nuclear field with access to some civilian nuclear technology and materials.

It effectively neutralised some of the stringent sanctions imposed on India after its 1974 nuclear test.

Barack Obama, a Democrat, is the only president to have visited India twice.

He first visited India in 2010 when Singh was the Prime Minister.

Modi was the Prime Minister during his second visit in 2015 when he was the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected])

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Disaster

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits Iran

According to local reports, communication means within the quake-hit region as well as the power network have been disrupted.

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Iran Turkey Earthquake

Tehran, Feb 24 : Another 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit Qotur region in West Azerbaijan Province in the northwest of Iran, according to Iran’s Seismological Centre.

The earthquake took place at 7:30 p.m. (local time) on Sunday, with the epicentre at the depth of 12 km, 38.505 degrees north latitude and 44.388 degrees east longitude.

Earlier in the day, another 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit the same region, injuring nearly 100 people and damaging dozens of villages, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to local reports, communication means within the quake-hit region as well as the power network have been disrupted.

The governor of the West Azerbaijan province told IRIB TV that the access to the region is very difficult, as the quake has took place in the mountain area.

He said that rescue operators have been sent to the area.

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India

COVID-19: Airports to screen passengers from 4 more countrie

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coronavirus test
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New Delhi, Passengers arriving from Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam will also be screened for novel coronavirus infection at Indian airports, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Sunday.

So far, the in-bound passengers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore have been screened to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The DGCA circular said that the universal screening of passengers “shall be ensured immdiately once they step out of the specific locations at all the airports and getting the self-declation form filled by the passengers as per the instructions of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare”.

All airlines shall make in-flight announcement in flights coming from these countries and ensure strict compliance, said the circular sent to all the international airport operators in India and the scheduled airlines operating from the four countries.

Cases of the deadly coronavirus have been reported in several countries including India.

The overall death toll in mainland China due to the deadly coronavirus increased to 2,442 on Sunday, while the number of confirmed cases reached 76,936, according to health authorities.

The National Health Commission said that it received reports of 648 new confirmed casesand 97 deaths on Saturday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, reports Xinhua news agency.

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