Iran nuclear pact intact - for now
WASHINGTON• • The US Congress will allow a deadline on reimposing sanctions on Iran to pass this week, congressional and White House aides said, leaving a pact between world powers and Teheran intact at least temporarily.
In October, President Donald Trump declined to certify that Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement reached among Teheran, the US and others in 2015. His decision triggered a 60-day window for Congress to decide whether to bring back sanctions on Iran.
Mr Trump must now decide in mid-January if he wants to still waive energy sanctions on Iran. His failure to do so would blow apart the deal.
Ban on Kaspersky Labs in US govt
WASHINGTON• • President Donald Trump has signed into law legislation that bans the use of Kaspersky Lab in the US government, capping an effort to purge the Moscow-based anti-virus firm from federal agencies amid concerns it was vulnerable to Kremlin influence.
The ban, included as part of a broader defence policy spending Bill that Mr Trump signed on Tuesday, reinforces a directive issued in September that civilian agencies remove Kaspersky Lab software within 90 days. The law applies to civilian and military networks.
55 hurt as second quake hits Iran
TEHERAN• • At least 55 people were injured in a magnitude 6.1 quake that jolted Iran's Kerman province yesterday, state TV reported.
The same region had been hit by a magnitude-6.2 quake a day earlier, and 18 people were injured.
The two successive earthquakes have spooked locals and forced them to brave the cold and stay out in the open. Electricity and water supplies have also been disrupted.
'Feminism' is word of 2017 for dictionary
NEW YORK• • In the year that Mr Donald Trump's inauguration triggered nationwide women's protests and powerful men were toppled by a firestorm of sexual misconduct allegations, leading US dictionary Merriam-Webster has named "feminism" its word of 2017.
The dictionary said there has been a 70 per cent increase in online searches for "feminism" compared to 2016.
Harry Potter new star attraction
LONDON• • British astronomers have come up with a new set of constellations inspired by modern-day figures such as Harry Potter and Usain Bolt in an attempt to teach children about the layout of the universe.
The eight new constellations in the "Look Up To The Stars" project are the brainchild of The Big Bang Fair, a science education event for young people and astronomers at the University of Birmingham.
The proposals include Harry Potter's glasses, a tennis racket for Serena Williams, a spaceship for astronaut Tim Peak, a blue whale for naturist David Attenborough and a book in honour of Nobel-winner Malala Yousafzai.