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May 2021
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FDA gives permission to Gentek Life Sciences to manufacture Amphotericin B injection in Wardha        England coach Silverwood to take break during SL, Pakistan ODI series        Shubman Gill receives first jab of COVID-19 vaccine        UN calls for de-escalation of Israel,Palestine conflict        Hamas turned residential areas in Gaza Strip into military strongholds: Israel Military        Cyclone Tauktae: Indian Coast Guard rescues three stranded fishermen off Kannur        PIL in SC seeking directions to use PM Cares fund for Covid vaccines, O2 plants        Cyclone Tauktae: PM Modi asks officials to pay special attention to Covid hospitals, vaccine cold chain & power back-up        Wipro Ltd appoints Tulsi Naidu to its board as an Independent Director        Bata India appoints Gunjan Shah as the new CEO        Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips earn first NZC central contracts        Training in bio-bubble has brought team closer: Gurjant Singh        Twelve dead in Afghanistan Mosque blast        KP Oli takes oath as Nepal PM; to prove majority within 30 days        Japan to send USD 18.5 Mln worth COVID-19 aid to India        Plea in SC seeks cancellation of CBSE, ICSE class 12 Exams        Monsoon likely to reach Kerala on May 31: IMD        PM releases 8th instalment of financial benefit under PM-KISAN        Women''s head coach: Incumbent Raman, ex-coach Powar appear for interview        Independent panel recommends voluntary licensing and tech transfer for producing COVID-19 vaccines        
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International News
Iran starts enriching uranium to 60%, its highest level ever
 
Dubai: Iran began enriching uranium Friday to its highest level ever, edging closer to weapons-grade levels to pressure talks in Vienna aimed at restoring its nuclear deal with world powers after an attack on its main atomic site. A top official said only a few grams an hour of uranium gas would be enriched up to 60 per cent purity — triple the level it once did but at a rate far slower than what Tehran could produce. International inspectors already said Iran planned to do so above-ground at its Natanz nuclear site, not deep within its underground halls hardened to withstand airstrikes. The move is likely to raise tensions even as Iran negotiates in Vienna over a way to allow the US back into the agreement and lift the crushing economic sanctions it faces.

However, its scope also provides Iran with a way to quickly de-escalate if it chose. The announcement also marks a significant escalation after the attack that damaged centrifuges at Natanz, an attack this past weekend suspected of having been carried out by Israel. While Israel has yet to claim it, it comes amid a long-running shadow war between the two Mideast rivals. Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, Iran''s parliament speaker, announced the move in a Twitter post later acknowledged by Iranian state television. “The young and God-believing Iranian scientists managed to achieve a 60 per cent enriched uranium product,” Qalibaf said. "I congratulate the brave nation of Islamic Iran on this success. The Iranian nation''s willpower is miraculous and can defuse any conspiracy.”

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, the country''s civilian nuclear arm, later acknowledged the move to 60 per cent, according to state TV. Ali Akbar Salehi said the centrifuges now produce 9 grams an hour, but that would drop to 5 grams an hour in the coming days. “Now, any enrichment (level) is possible if we decide it,” Salehi said. State TV later referred to the decision as a "show of power against terrorist rascality.” It wasn''t clear why the first announcement came from Qalibaf, a hard-line former leader in the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard already named as a potential presidential candidate in Iran''s upcoming June election. While 60 per cent is higher than any level Iran previously enriched uranium, it is still lower than weapons-grade levels of 90 per cent. Iran had been enriching up to 20 per cent — even that was a short technical step to weapons grade.

The deal limited Iran''s enrichment to 3.67 per cent. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iran''s nuclear program, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Earlier this week, it sent its inspectors to Natanz and confirmed Iran was preparing to begin 60 per cent enrichment at an above-ground facility at the site. The heightened enrichment could inspire a further response from Israel amid a long-running shadow war between the nations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed never to allow Tehran to obtain a nuclear weapon and his country has twice preemptively bombed Mideast nations to stop their atomic programs. Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, on a visit to Cyprus, brought up Iran in a tweet after meeting his Cypriot counterpart.

“We discussed the bilateral ties between Israel and Cyprus as well as regional issues, most significantly the importance of stopping Iran''s aggressive activities in the Middle East, which undermine regional stability and pose a danger to the entire world,” he wrote. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, though the West and the IAEA say Tehran had an organized military nuclear program up until the end of 2003. An annual US intelligence report released Tuesday maintained the American assessment that “Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities that we judge would be necessary to produce a nuclear device.” Iran previously had said it could use uranium enriched up to 60 per cent for nuclear-powered ships. However, the Islamic Republic currently has no such ships in its navy. The threat of higher enrichment by Iran already had drawn criticism from the US and three European nations in the deal — France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

On Friday, European Union spokesman Peter Stano called Iran''s decision “a very worrisome development.” "There is no credible explanation or civilian justification for such an action on the side of Iran,” Stano said. The Vienna talks aim to “make sure that we go back from such steps that bring Iran further away from delivering on its commitments and obligations” The 2015 nuclear deal, which former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from in 2018, prevented Iran from stockpiling enough high-enriched uranium to be able to pursue a nuclear weapon if it chose in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The weekend attack at Natanz was initially described only as a blackout in the electrical grid feeding both its above-ground workshops and underground enrichment halls — but later Iranian officials began calling it an attack. Alireza Zakani, the hard-line head of the Iranian parliament''s research center, referred to “several thousand centrifuges damaged and destroyed” in a state TV interview.

However, no other official has offered that figure and no images of the aftermath have been released. Satellite images from Planet Labs Inc. obtained by The Associated Press show no apparent above-ground damage at the facility.


UN calls for de-escalation of Israel,Palestine conflict
Hamas turned residential areas in Gaza Strip into military strongholds: Israel Military
Twelve dead in Afghanistan Mosque blast
KP Oli takes oath as Nepal PM; to prove majority within 30 days
Japan to send USD 18.5 Mln worth COVID-19 aid to India
Taming the virus: US deaths hit lowest level in 10 months
Rockets kill 2 Israelis; 28 die in Gaza as Israel hits Hamas
Israeli police, Palestinians clash at Jerusalem holy site
Debris from China''s disintegrating rocket falls into Indian Ocean
US Navy seizes weapons in Arabian Sea likely bound for Yemen
EU doesn''t renew order for AstraZeneca vaccine
In tense Jerusalem, flag-waving Israeli march to go ahead
Nepal PM Oli to seek vote of confidence in Parliament on Monday
WHO China chief says approval for 1st Chinese vaccine a ''milestone achievement''
Disintegrated space rocket ''highly unlikely'' to cause any damage on earth: China
Russia has registered Sputnik Light, the single-dose vaccine against COVID-19
Brunei marks 1 year without COVID-19 local transmission
China silent on falling debris of its space rocket amid rising concerns
Netanyahu again fails to form new Israeli government
Nepal''s Oli govt loses majority support after Maoist party withdraws support
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
George Clooney says Capitol attack put Trump family 'into the dustbin of history'
 Los Angeles: Hollywood star George Clooney has condemned the attack on the Capitol Hill in the US by  
'Mean Girls' won't be returning to Broadway
Ian McKellan is 'happy' Elliot Page came out as transgender
A R Rahman thanks fans for support during 'difficult times'
KERALA NEWS
Kerala wants Centre to provide more vaccines
 Thiruvananthapuram: Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Kerala, the state government on Wednesday urged th
Kerala woman killed in Palestinian rocket strike in Israel
Kerala poet''s FB account ''suspended'' for posting satire clip on BJP poll defeat
TV journalist Vipin Chandh dies of COVID-19
NATIONAL NEWS
Cyclone Tauktae: Indian Coast Guard rescues three stranded fishermen off Kannur
 New Delhi: Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Saturday said that it has rescued three fishermen stranded in
PIL in SC seeking directions to use PM Cares fund for Covid vaccines, O2 plants
Plea in SC seeks cancellation of CBSE, ICSE class 12 Exams
Monsoon likely to reach Kerala on May 31: IMD
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