Russia Will Build More Nuclear Power Stations in Iran

Moscow agrees to help Tehran increase its nuclear capacity, in defiance of international sanctions on the regime

Russia reached an agreement with Iran Tuesday to build two more nuclear power plants in Iran, reportedly in exchange for thousands of barrels of the country’s oil.

The two power stations are due to be constructed in the city of Bushehr in southwestern Iran, next to the country’s first nuclear power plant, reports Iranian news agency FNA. “Iran and Russia reached a preliminary agreement to build at least two new nuclear power plants,” Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said.

Iran’s ambassador to Moscow announced in February that Russia would be willing to exchange goods and equipment for potentially 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day. Nations in the West had expressed concern about a deal between Russia and Iran potentially complicating chances of reaching an agreement over Iran’s nuclear capacity.


TIME Turkey

Turkey Prepares To Bury Teenage Victim of Protests

Berkin Elvan, the teenager who died on Tuesday, months after being struck in the head by a police teargas canister during demonstrations in Istanbul, will be laid to rest Wednesday. His death has rekindled protests across the city

Thousands of people gathered in Istanbul on Wednesday in preparation for the funeral of a teenage boy who died this week after being hit by a police teargas canister during demonstrations last year.

The death of Berkin Elvan, 15, on Tuesday sparked demonstrations in cities across the country. The teenager fell into a coma after a blow to the head from a police teargas canister during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in June 2013, reports the BBC. At the time, Elvan was on the way to buy bread for his family. After his funeral in Cemevi, a march is due to take place through the center of the city.

The demonstrations started last year in response to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attempts to close down a park in the center of Istanbul, paving the way for a shopping mall, but spiraled into widespread protests against his leadership. Elvan’s injury became a rallying point for anti-state protesters. His death is the eighth linked to clashes between demonstrators and state security forces.

President Abdullah Gül sent a message to Elvan’s family, admitting that “the mind of the state has become overwhelmed by anger and hatred.”


TIME South America

Venezuelan Student Leader Killed in Anti-Government Clashes

Clashes between anti-government protesters and state security forces have resulted in the death of student leader

A student leader was fatally shot in the chest Monday night in the Venezuelan university city of San Cristobal, as protests continue to rock the country.

The mayor of the city, Daniel Ceballos, said the student, Daniel Tinoco, had been killed after dark, although he did not say who might be responsible, the Associated Press reports. The incident came after a full day of street clashes between both peaceful and violent protesters and the Venezuelan security forces.

Anti-government sentiments have run hot in San Cristobal, where for the last month there have been on-going protests against escalating inflation, high murder rates and short supplies of basic goods. Venezuelan National Guardsmen fired teargas and plastic shotgun pellets at the demonstrators.

Ceballos accused the government forces of reacting disproportionately, claiming that “where the government sees paramilitaries, in truth there are just citizens who are defending themselves.”


TIME Middle East

Group Linked to Al-Qaeda Frees Nuns

Greek Orthodox nuns are released after four-month ordeal

A group of 13 Greek Orthodox nuns were freed on Monday after being kidnapped and held by Al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria for four months.

They arrived in Damascus after a deal was reached between the Syrian government and members of the group the Nusra Front, the Associated Press reports.

The nuns were taken from their convent in the predominantly Christian town of Maaloula during a bout of fighting in December. They claimed in a video released by the Nusra Front that they were well-treated. The nuns were delivered to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Old Damascus, where they will remain. Their release came in exchange for about 150 Syrian women being released by the government in Damascus.

Despite their safe release, the Syrian Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Assistant, Bishop Louca al-Khoury, accused the Nusra Front of going after Syria’s religious minorities, claiming the country is now being targeted “by armed terrorist groups who don’t understand anything but the language of killing and destruction.”



Prince Harry Could Soon Be A Bachelor No More

Royal-watchers in UK speculate about wedding bells as prince repeatedly appears in public with girlfriend Cressida Bonas

Prince Harry was seen in public with his girlfriend for the second time in three days Sunday, fueling speculation that the party-loving prince might soon be a bachelor no more.

The prince and his partner Cressida Bonas have been dating for two years and had previously tried to avoid the media spotlight. However the couple attended a rugby match together at London’s Twickenham Stadium, a public show of affection that has sparked rumors of another royal wedding on the horizon, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Expectations of an engagement have increased as Prince Harry, 29, nears the end of his twenties. Most members of the royal family were already married by that age. The presence of Bonas, 24, at official engagements with the prince has been seen as a sign that the couple feel more confident in their relationship. Bonas, an aristocrat’s daughter, studied dance at Leeds University and now works in marketing in London.

When he had previously talked about finding a girlfriend who could withstand the pressures of being with a member of the Royal Family, Prince Harry said that he was “not so much searching for someone to fulfill the role, but obviously finding someone that would be willing to take it on.”

TIME Crime

California Third-Graders Caught Smoking Pot

Marijuana Plant
Getty Images

It's unclear if they'll face any legal repercussions

Third-graders at a school in northern California were caught smoking marijuana in a boys’ bathroom recently, in what police are calling the youngest people they’ve ever busted for pot.

Two eight-year-old boys and one nine-year-old were caught last week in the Sonora, Calif. school, Reuters reports. A fellow student who saw them reported the incident to school officials, who then alerted local police. Officers detained the boys for questioning before returning them to their parents.

It’s unclear if they’ll face any legal repercussions. “The first step is, we have to determine whether they knew right from wrong,” Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson said.


TIME Venezuela

Venezuela Marks First Anniversary Of Chavez’s Death

While President Nicolas Maduro struggles to live up to his legacy

Supporters of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took to the streets across the country Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of his death from cancer.

A planned military parade in the capital city of Caracas was set to demonstrate current president Nicolas Maduro’s ability to mobilize the population, reports Reuters, as a series of violent anti-government protests continue to undermine his leadership.

Chavez was immensely popular among the poorest members of Venezuela’s population, thanks to his anti-American rhetoric and generous spending on slum projects. Yet barely a year after his death, his successor has faced a series of challenges from the protests, which have resulted in a reported 18 deaths. Maduro has been blamed for not doing enough to overcome many of the country’s problems, including rampant crime and spiraling living costs.

However, Chavez’s cousin Guillermo Frias claimed that although Chavez “changed Venezuela forever,” he insisted that “Maduro is also a poor man, like us. He’s handling things fine. Perhaps he just needs a stronger hand.”


TIME Uganda

Newspaper Outs 200 ‘Top’ Gays in Uganda

Newspaper Outs 200 ‘Top’ Gays in Uganda
Rebecca Vassie—AP A Ugandan reads a copy of the "Red Pepper" tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Uganda Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014.

After law enacted outlawing homosexuality

A Ugandan newspaper published a list of the country’s supposed “200 top” gay citizens on Tuesday, following enactment of a law outlawing homosexuality.

The Red Pepper, a tabloid based in the capital city Kampala, printed the list of names, some with photographs, beneath the headline “EXPOSED!”, the Associated Press reports. They include a Catholic priest, a hip-hop star and the prominent gay rights activist Pepe Julian Onziema. Some of the people on the list had not publicly described themselves as gay.

The story came after the government gave final approval legislation making homosexuality and the promotion of it a crime. Despite widespread international condemnation and threats by the United States that it would cut aid to Uganda if the country enacted the law, President Yoweri Museveni insisted it was necessary as a response to the interference of the West in Uganda’s affairs. He was quoted on Monday as saying he had been told “what they [gays] do is terrible,” describing them as “disgusting.”


TIME europe

World’s Oldest Holocaust Survivor Dies Aged 110

Alice Herz-Sommer, believed to be the oldest-known survivor of the Holocaust, who died in London on Sunday morning at the age of 110, in July 2010.
The Lady in Number 6/Bunbury Films/AP Alice Herz-Sommer, believed to be the oldest-known survivor of the Holocaust, who died in London on Sunday morning at the age of 110, in July 2010.

Alice Herz-Sommer spent two years in a Nazi concentration camp in WWII

The oldest survivor of the Holocaust passed away on Sunday aged 110, the BBC reports.

Alice Herz-Sommer, born in 1903 in Prague, was detained in the concentration camp Terezin for two years during WWII. Although her 73-year-old mother was sent to the extermination camp Treblinka, Herz-Sommer and her son Stephen were among the fewer than 20,000 people set free during the liberation of the camps by Soviet forces in 1945.

In the years after her release she became a successful pianist and music teacher at the Jerusalem Conservatory, before relocating to London in 1986. Her love of music was said to have sustained her and her fellow inmates while in the camp, where they would occasionally manage to organize concerts. A film about her life entitled The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life has been nominated for an award in the category of Best Short Documentary in next month’s Academy Awards.

Herz-Sommer stated that music was “our food. Through making music we were kept alive.” Her grandson Ariel Sommer stated that “she was an inspiration and our world will be significantly poorer without her by our side.”


TIME Africa

Report: Eritreans Enslaved and Tortured in Refugee Camps

Refugees meet trouble in Egypt and Sudan

Tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees have been found languishing in camps in Egypt and Sudan over the last decade, where many were kidnapped and subjected to rape and torture by traffickers, according to a new report.

The Human Rights Watch report out Tuesday says refugees from the small African country have been targeted by traffickers aiming to extort money from themselves and their families, according to the Guardian. State security forces in both Egypt and Sudan have frequently aided the perpetrators, according to Human Rights Watch.

Since 2004, more than 200,000 Eritreans have fled their home country—often with the help of traffickers—in a bid to escape poverty and political repression. Even after many had paid traffickers the money demanded, the refugees would still sometimes be sold to different groups of traffickers, according to the report. Others have been forced to work as builders or indentured servants.


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