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Monday
February 2020
7:04 AM IST
News Headlines
China says significant drop in coronavirus cases; death toll climbs to 1,665        Two more Indians test positive for coronavirus on cruise ship off Japan        Agarwal back among runs, Pant too gets some form back        India to play day-night Test in Australia        Chennaiyin FC beat ATK 3-1 to boost play-off hopes        17 people from Delhi who returned from abroad before coronavirus screening showed symptoms, hospitalised        Kejriwal calls ministers-designate for dinner ahead of swearing-in, discusses development roadmap        Shaheen Bagh protesters say ready to meet Shah, but onus on govt to call them for talks        Surendran new Kerala BJP President        France confirms first coronavirus death outside Asia        Making efforts to disembark Indians from cruise ship after quarantine period ends: Indian Embassy        Kerala beat Chattisgarh by nine wickets in C K Nayudu trophy        Ishant passes fitness test, to join Indian team in NZ for Test series        Kerala Blasters register first win over Bengaluru FC in Hero ISL        Smriti Mandhana rises to 4th in ICC T20 rankings        Bopanna-Shapovalov pair enters semifinals in Rotterdam        DoT withdraws order that asked for no coercive action against defaulting telcos        Sensex, Nifty fall for 2nd day as banking, auto stocks slide        Erdogan raises Kashmir in Pak Parliament, says issue close to both countries        Born on a boat: new baby among 87 rescued off Canary Islands        
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International News
Iran's supreme leader makes uranium enrichment threat
 
Dubai: Iran's supreme leader issued a veiled threat in the same speech in which he stated that "no one is seeking war," saying it wouldn't be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels amid rising tensions with the US, state media reported Wednesday.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments late Tuesday came after Yemen's Houthi rebels launched a coordinated drone attack on a critical oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia. A satellite image obtained by The Associated Press shows one of the two pumping stations attacked by the drones apparently intact.

The drone assault is just the latest incident in the Mideast to shake global energy markets, as authorities allege oil tankers anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were targeted by sabotage. Benchmark Brent crude prices remained around 71 a barrel in early trading Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the US is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the region in response to a still-unspecified threat from Iran, further ramping up tensions a year after President Donald Trump withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Speaking Tuesday night in Tehran at an iftar, the traditional dinner Muslims have when breaking their daylong fast during the holy month of Ramadan, Khamenei's reported comments first focused on him downplaying the chances of a wider conflict in the Mideast with America.

He reportedly told senior officials that his country won't negotiate with the United States, calling such talks "poison." But he also said, "Neither we, nor them is seeking war. They know that it is not to their benefit." In Wednesday's edition, the state-run IRAN newspaper carried his comments on the nuclear program, his first since Iran announced it would begin backing away from the accord itself.

Tehran is threatening to resume higher enrichment in 60 days if no new nuclear deal is in place, beyond the 3.67 per cent permitted by the current deal between Tehran and world powers.

Iranian officials have said that they could reach 20% enrichment within four days. Though Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, scientists say the time needed to reach the 90 per cent threshold for weapons-grade uranium is halved once uranium is enriched to around 20 per cent.

"Achieving 20 per cent enrichment is the most difficult part," Khamenei said, according to the newspaper. "The next steps are easier than this step." It was a telling remark from the supreme leader. Iran is not known to have enriched beyond 20 per cent previously and it's unclear how far Tehran is willing to go in this process.

Khamene spoke just after Yemen's Houthi rebels, who are at war with Saudi Arabia and are believed by the West to receive weapons from Iran, said earlier Tuesday that they launched seven drones targeting vital Saudi installations. That included two pumping stations along its critical East-West Pipeline, which can carry nearly 5 million barrels of crude a day to the Red Sea.

Saudi Aramco, the government-controlled oil company, said that as a precaution, it temporarily shut down the pipeline and contained a fire, which caused minor damage to one pumping station. It added that Saudi Aramco's oil and gas supplies were not affected.

An image from San Francisco-based Planet Labs Inc. that the AP examined on Wednesday shows Saudi Aramco's Pumping Station No. 8 outside of the town of al-Duadmi, 330 kilometers west of the kingdom's capital, Riyadh.

The photo, taken Tuesday after the attack, shows two black marks near where the East-West Pipeline passes by the facility. Those marks weren't there in images taken Monday. The facility otherwise appeared intact, corroborating in part Saudi Arabia's earlier comments.

Details around alleged acts of sabotage to four oil tankers, including two belonging to Saudi Arabia, off the coast of the UAE's port of Fujairah remain unclear. Satellite images obtained Tuesday by the AP from Colorado-based Maxar Technologies showed no visible damage to the vessels, and Gulf officials have refused to say who they suspected was responsible.

The MT Andrea Victory, one of the alleged targets, sustained a hole in its hull just above its waterline from "an unknown object," its owner Thome Ship Management said in a statement. Images of the Norwegian ship, which the company said was "not in any danger of sinking," showed damage similar to what the firm described.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, has said the other three showed damages as well.


China says significant drop in coronavirus cases; death toll climbs to 1,665
Two more Indians test positive for coronavirus on cruise ship off Japan
France confirms first coronavirus death outside Asia
Making efforts to disembark Indians from cruise ship after quarantine period ends: Indian Embassy
Erdogan raises Kashmir in Pak Parliament, says issue close to both countries
Born on a boat: new baby among 87 rescued off Canary Islands
China rejects US charge of lack of transparency in sharing coronavirus info
China''s coronavirus death toll nears 1,500
Narayana Murthy''s son-in-law Rishi Sunak named new British finance minister
British finance minister Javid quits in reshuffle
Nepal shuts resort where 8 Indian tourists died
Trump says looking forward to visiting India
VIRUS Coronavirus death toll in China crosses 1,000
At least 15 refugees drown after boat sinks off Bangladesh
Sudanese official says al-Bashir to be handed over to ICC
Thai city copes with sorrowful fallout from mass shooting
Soldiers and police enter El Salvador's parliament
EU calls emergency talks on new coronavirus
Hong Kong border towns welcome virus controls, despite trade hit
US presidency gains more power with Trump's acquittal
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
'Joker' earns Joaquin Phoenix his maiden Oscar
 Los Angeles: Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix finally ended his dry run at the Oscars as he picked up  
'Batman' script is beautiful, dark and moving: Colin Farrell
Scriptwriting is underrated: Ayushmann Khurrana
Abhishek Bachchan starts filming 'Bob Biswas'
KERALA NEWS
Surendran new Kerala BJP President
 Thiruvananthapuram: Young firebrand leader K Surendran has been named as the President of BJP Kerala
Student who tested Positive for coronavirus discharged
CM Assembly Election : Kerala CM congrats Arvind Kejriwal for AAP''s victory
Coronavirus: 15 Kerala students stranded in China's Hubei reach Kochi
NATIONAL NEWS
Kejriwal calls ministers-designate for dinner ahead of swearing-in, discusses development roadmap
 New Delhi: On the eve of his swearing-in as chief minister of Delhi, AAP national convener Arvind Ke
Shaheen Bagh protesters say ready to meet Shah, but onus on govt to call them for talks
SC allows Karti Chidambaram to travel to UK, France
Trump visit: Cong says AMC building wall to mask slum area
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