Monday 18 December 2017

Iran edges towards deal on nukes as Tuesday talks deadline draws near

Iran stands to receive a windfall of about 25pc of its entire economy if $100bn (€90bn) of frozen assets are released under a nuclear deal. This sum is likely to be unlocked - in whole or in part - if America and Iran meet Tuesday's deadline for a final agreement that would settle the confrontation over Tehran's nuclear programme.

"We have never been closer to a lasting outcome," said Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, who is holding daily meetings with John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, in Vienna.

After more than a week of talks with his American counterpart, Mr Zarif released a video message cautioning that there was "no guarantee" of success and "some differences" still remained. But Mr Zarif added: "I see hope because I see the emergence of reason over illusion. I sense that my negotiating partners have recognised that coercion and pressure never lead to lasting solutions, but to more conflict and further hostility."

Libya clashes after car bombs kill 10

at least 10 civilians were killed when three separate car bombs exploded simultaneously in the eastern city of Darna in Libya, according to Hamid Albandag, the city's representative to the internationally recognised government. Mr Albandag says the bombings, which went off Friday evening, set off clashes between militants belonging to the Isil's local affiliate and al-Qaeda-linked militias that continued into yesterday afternoon.

The Libyan army has surrounded the city from all directions for months and appears to be restraining from fighting the al-Qaeda-linked militias.

14 al Qaeda dead in mosque bombing

A BOMB has exploded inside a mosque where al-Qaeda's branch in Syria was holding a fast-breaking meal, killing at least 14, according to activists.

Salem Mosque in the town of Ariha was bombed when scores of Nusra Front members gathered during Ramadan. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the explosion killed 31 Nusra Front members, including five commanders, while a Syria-based activist said 15 Nusra Front fighters were killed and 30 wounded.

Murder probe for crew of tragic ferry

Police in the Philippines have filed murder complaints against the owner and crew of a ferry that capsized shortly after casting off, leaving more than 50 dead.

Complaints were filed with the local prosecutor as the 36-ton MB Kim Nirvana was lifted from the sea.

A coast guard commander said that at least 59 died and 145 survived, including all 18 crew members. The ferry overturned minutes after pulling out of the port on its voyage last Thursday to an island to the south.

Princess Charlotte baptism today

Britain's Princess Charlotte is being christened today at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham. The Cambridges will appear in public for the first time as a family of four at the nine-week-old's baptism. Guests will include the princess's great-grandparents, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh; grandparents, the Prince of Wales and Carole and Michael Middleton; step-grandmother, the Duchess of Cornwall and Kate's siblings Pippa and James.

Egyptian warplanes kill 25 in Sinai

Egyptian warplanes yesterday killed 25 Islamist militants in North Sinai, as the Egyptian president visited the province after a major escalation of the conflict there.

The air strikes hit militant targets near the town of Sheikh Zuweid, destroying weapons and explosives caches.

They also said security forces had found about half a tonne of explosives in a tunnel on the border between the Sinai and Gaza.

Mozambique to destroy a ton of ivory

Mozambique plans to destroy more than one ton of confiscated ivory and 53 rhino horns in its fight against poaching. The Wildlife Conservation Society in New York says they will be destroyed in the capital, Maputo.

Some 340 elephant tusks and 65 rhino horns were seized in a May 12 raid in Matola city. Ten days later, 12 of the horns were stolen from a police warehouse. At least four officers suspected of involvement in the theft were arrested.

Champion eater devours 62 hot dogs

PRO-eater Matt Stonie shocked the competitive eating world yesterday by upsetting Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut at the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest at Nathan's Famous in Coney Island, breaking Chestnut's bid for a ninth straight victory.

Stonie, 23, who finished second last year, downed 62 hot dogs and buns, beating Chestnut by two. Both are from San Jose, California.

Sunday Independent

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