While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 10

IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks at a news conference about developments related to the IAEA's monitoring and verification work in Iran. PHOTO: REUTERS

IAEA warns of 'fatal blow' to Iran nuclear deal

Iran on Thursday dealt a near-fatal blow to chances of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as it began removing essentially all the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring equipment installed under the deal, agency chief Rafael Grossi said.

Iran had warned of retaliation if the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors passed a resolution drafted by the United States, France, Britain and Germany criticising Teheran for its continued failure to explain uranium traces found at undeclared sites.

The resolution was passed by a crushing majority late on Wednesday.

Iran told the agency overnight it planned to remove equipment including 27 IAEA cameras as of Thursday, which is "basically all" the extra monitoring equipment installed under the 2015 deal going beyond Iran's core obligations to the agency, Mr Grossi told a news conference.


Covid-19 lab leak theory needs more research

Scientists advising the World Health Organisation (WHO) on how to move forward investigating the origins of Covid-19 said on Thursday that further studies are needed into whether the disease escaped from a laboratory.

In its first preliminary report, the so-called Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (Sago) stressed that it had no conclusive findings on the origins of the virus behind the worst global pandemic in a century.

The team of 27 experts was set up by the WHO last year to produce a new global framework for studies into emerging pathogens with the potential of sparking epidemics or pandemics.


Defence says missile theory unproven as MH17 trial wraps

Dutch lawyers for a suspect accused of downing Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 said prosecutors failed to prove a Russian-made missile brought down the jetliner, as they wrapped up their case on Thursday.

The passenger jet was shot down while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 on board, as Kyiv's forces battled pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's war-torn east.

The trial of four men, which started in March 2020, has taken on a new significance since Russia's late February invasion of its neighbour, in which a slew of new war crimes are being alleged.


Mystery plane puts east Europe air forces on alert

A two-seater plane whizzed through half a dozen eastern European countries without permission, alerting air forces, before being abandoned in Bulgaria by a mysterious crew, the defence ministry in Sofia said on Thursday.

The aircraft flew over Hungary, crossed briefly into Serbia and then Romania before entering Bulgarian airspace at 7.09pm local time on Wednesday (midnight on Thursday, Singapore time), the Bulgarian defence ministry said in a statement.

The twin-engine Beechcraft with two people onboard had no approved flight plan and its transponders were turned off. The pilot did not respond to radio requests and visual signals, the Romanian defence ministry said.


US PGA bans LIV 'rebels' as breakaway event starts

No sooner had players competing in the breakaway LIV Golf Invitational London , the most lucrative event in the sport's history, teed off Thursday than they were suspended by the US PGA Tour.

The US$25 million (S$35 million) event in St Albans - the biggest prize pot golf has known - is the first of eight tournaments this year bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, worth a combined US$255 million.

But the LIV International Series, featuring the likes of six-time major winner Phil Mickelson, former world number one Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia is being staged in defiance of the main established tours.


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