Iran becoming less radical?
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has announced that Iran will never build nuclear weapons. The announcement was made after recent dialogue with the US President Barack Obama describing his correspondence as “positive and constructive”. Iran has also recently released the human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh along with several other political prisoners. Ms Sotoudeh was imprisoned three years ago on charges of ‘acting against national security’. During the Iranian President’s election campaign earlier this year, Mr Rouhani promised to be a more moderate president than his predecessor and planned to focus on improving international relations. Currently, Iran is under UN sanctions due to it continuing its nuclear research programme which it claims is for the future energy needs of the country. The US president appears to be trying to be more supportive of the more moderate Iranian president by indicating that ‘the US is ready to resolve the nuclear issue while still allowing Iran to continue its research programme’. This comes after Iran’s more radical Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hinted strongly at pushing for negotiations rather than conflict. In a recent speech to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards he said: “I don’t oppose diplomacy. I am in favour of showing a champion’s leniency. A wrestler may give way for tactical reasons, but should remember who is its opponent and enemy.” So is Iran coming in from the cold? Only time will tell…
The Raising of the Costa Concordia
The cruise ship Costa Concordia has been turned upright a year and a half after it crashed into the island of Giglio in Italy. The operation took almost 24 hours to complete using a sophisticated system specifically designed for the task. Although 32 people died in the accident, two of the bodies have yet to be found. With the boat now upright, the hope is to locate the final two victims. Fortunately, despite the scale of the disaster, little pollution has been released at the idyllic location with its pristine waters, and fears that moving the ship would allow fuel onboard to escape have turned out to be unfounded. Although the ship is now upright, several months of work are required to be done to make the ship seaworthy so that it can be towed away from the island. The previously submerged part of the ship is brown with mud and heavily damaged after supporting the weight of the entire ship for over a year. Unfortunately, due to the scale of the damage, repairing the Costa Concordia is unfeasible and the ship will be destroyed once it reaches its final destination.
UK women remain in jail
Two UK women accused of drug smuggling in Peru have been refused bail and could face a term of 15 years in jail. They were caught attempting to take cocaine out of the country. Their lawyers have indicated that both women would plead not guilty. The 20 year-old women have been incarcerated at a Lima police station since their arrest, and they are probably going to spend several months in the Peruvian jail since it can take several months before a trial makes it to court. The pair were arrested before boarding a flight to Madrid, Spain two weeks ago at Lima airport. They claim that they were forced to act as drug mules by an armed Spanish gang.