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Monday, November 25, 2013

Iran, West Agree Nuclear Plan

Iran and the P5+1 group of nations, composed of the US, the UK, Germany, France, Russia and China, agreed on a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme early on Sunday that will last for six months until a permanent deal can be negotiated. The agreement means that the country will have some sanctions lifted, particularly on Iran’s ability to trade oil, gold and other precious metals. Iran will also receive US$4.2b generated from oil sales, in instalments. Iran agreed to halt uranium enrichment above 5 percent, which can only be used for nuclear reactors, and neutralise its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, which will be diluted. It has also pledged not to build any more enrichment facilities. “It is important that we all of us see the opportunity to end an unnecessary crisis and open new horizons based on respect, based on the rights of the Iranian people and removing any doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. This is a process of attempting to restore confidence”, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.

China Draws New Defense Zone, Angers Japan

China extended its national defence perimeter on Saturday, now including islands that are subject to a territorial dispute with Japan. The Diaoyu, as they are known in China, or the Senkaku, as they are known in Japan, are disputed by the two countries because the waters surrounding them are rich in oil, natural gas and fish. China now says it will allow its armed forces to take “defensive emergency measures” against aircraft that stray into the territory, but clarified that it did not “affect the freedom of over-flight in the related airspace”. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the Japanese Senate on Monday that China’s move was “totally unacceptable for Japan“. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang replied that it was “Japan’s erroneous actions that have led to the current situation of the Diaoyu Islands”, referring to the Japanese government’s decision to purchase the islands from a private Japanese owner in September 2012.

Thai Prime Minister Invokes Emergency Law

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has invoked an emergency security law in the capital Bangkok and surrounding areas on Monday after anti-government protesters broke into the buildings housing the country’s Finance and Foreign ministries. The Internal Security Act invoked by the prime minister allows local officials to impose curfews and block access to roads. Shinawatra said the protesters were threatening the “stability of the government”, adding that the security services were “trying to handle the protesters without any violence”. Protesters were marching against proposed amnesty legislation that would have allowed the prime minister’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, himself a former prime minister, to return to the country without serving a jail term for corruption. An opposition activist described their actions as a “peaceful seizure by the people”.

London Slavery Case Suspects were Maoists

The main suspects in a slavery case in London, where three women have alleged to have been kept in a Lambeth home for over 30 years, have been identified as leaders of a Maoist commune in the capital. Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chanda ran a Maoist collective in the capital in the 1970s, recruiting women who shared their ideology. “They were a tiny, very tight-knit group clearly under the spell of their leader. Their membership was overwhelmingly overseas in origin. Most were foreign students who seemed to have difficulty adjusting to life in the UK”, said Prof Steve Rayner, interviewed by the Daily Telegraph. “Somehow that collective came to an end and how the women ended up continuing to live with the suspects. How this resulted in the women living in this way for over 30 years is what are seeking to establish, but we believe emotional and physical abuse has been a feature of all the victims’ lives”, said Commander Steve Rodhouse of the Metropolitan Police.

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