While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 3 edition

Iran, world powers lay groundwork for historic nuclear deal

Iran and six world powers agreed Thursday on the framework of a potentially historic deal aimed at curbing Teheran’s nuclear drive after marathon talks in Switzerland.

It marks a major breakthrough in a 12-year standoff between Iran and the West – which has long feared Teheran wants to build a nuclear bomb – and raised hopes the deal could help stability in the Middle East.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the “historic understanding” with the Islamic republic after decades of hostility but cautioned that more work needed to be done.

“If Iran cheats, the world will know it,” he said in a televised address from the White House.

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Somali Islamists kill 147 as troops end Kenya university massacre: Official

At least 147 students were massacred when Somalia’s Shebab Islamist group attacked a Kenyan university on Thursday, the government said, after the deadliest attack in the country since US embassy bombings in 1998.

Hurling grenades and firing automatic rifles, the masked gunmen stormed the university in the northeastern town of Garissa as students were sleeping, shooting dead dozens before setting Muslims free and holding Christians and others hostage.

At least 79 people were also wounded in the assault, which began when the first grenades were used before dawn to blast open the gates of the university, near the lawless border with war-torn Somalia.

In the final hour before darkness fell, Kenyan troops stormed the student dormitory where the gunmen were holed up as explosions and heavy gunfire rang out.

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New York women charged in US bomb plot

Two American women inspired by Al-Qaeda and extremists in Syria were arrested in New York Thursday, charged with planning to build a bomb and attack the United States, prosecutors said.

Former roommates Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, risk life behind bars if convicted of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction in the United States.

The pair from Queens were shadowed for nearly two years by an undercover FBI agent.

Siddiqui was “in possession of multiple propane gas tanks, as well as instructions for how to transform propane tanks into explosive devices,” a copy of the complaint states.

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Flights delayed, schools shut as sandstorm hits Gulf

Flights were disrupted, ships weighed anchor and schools were closed Thursday as a major sandstorm blew through Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Gulf states.

In the United Arab Emirates, several flights were diverted and delays were expected to others, a Dubai Airports spokesman said, as the skies over the city turned yellow.

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Rapper Vanilla Ice in plea deal over Florida burglary arrest: Media

Rapper Vanilla Ice avoided prosecution on Thursday after agreeing to a plea deal over his arrest on burglary and grand theft charges in Florida in February, local media reported.

The Ice Ice Baby rapper, whose real name is Robert Van Winkle, appeared in Palm Beach County Court on Thursday where he agreed to perform 100 hours of community service and pay US$1,333 (S$1,800) to a homeowner who accused him of stealing furniture and pool equipment, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

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