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Iran Hits Back At US Sanctions Threat After Arms Embargo Expiry

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Despite the United States protests to extend the United Nations arms embargo on Iran, the Middle East country is now free to import and export arms from and to any country as Tehran hailed the lifting of a 13-year UN arms embargo on their military as a momentous day.

The embargo which was lifted on Sunday morning was in line with the five-year timetable set out in the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed in 2015 which has been under intense pressure from Washington since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the accord two years ago.

In August, the Trump administration had sought to extend the embargo but suffered a defeat at the UN Security Council, when Russia and China voted against the move and 11 powers, including the UK, France and Germany, abstained.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the expiration of the embargo was a “momentous day” for the international community, which had defied the US’s “malign” efforts and protected the nuclear accord.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of consequences for any individuals or entities that conduct arms deals with Iran.

Pompeo said in a statement “every nation that seeks peace and stability in the Middle East and supports the fight against terrorism should refrain from any arms transactions with Iran,” he added that “providing arms to Iran will only aggravate tensions in the region.”

The expiration of the embargo, which the UN Security Council imposed in 2007, was agreed as one of the so-called sunset clauses in the accord.

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said this week that Tehran could import and export arms to “whoever we like as of Sunday”. But potential buyers will be wary of being targeted by secondary US sanctions.

Health News

UK Approves Pfizer/BioNTech COVID Vaccine For Rollout Next Week

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The United Kingdom has on Wednesday approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine opening the way for mass immunization which will begin next week for those most at risk across the UK.

Before decisions by the US and Europe, the British government has become the first western country to license a vaccine against Covid after it was authorized for emergency use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA)

The MHRA was given power to approve the vaccine by the government under special regulations before 1 January, when it will become fully responsible for medicines authorization in the UK after Brexit.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine which the UK has bought 40m doses has shown to be 95% effective in its final trials with no serious side effects against a virus that’s killed nearly 1.5 million persons globally.

According to a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman “the government has today accepted the recommendation from the MHRA to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.

It added in the statement that “this follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness

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Health News

Canada: COVID-19 Death Toll Exceeds 12000

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Canada’s COVID-19 deaths have passed another grim milestone of 12, 000 fatalities.

The country also recorded fifty-four hundred sixty-eight new cases of coronavirus infections which pushed the total number of confirmed cases to 370,014.  More than 290,000 persons have recovered from the virus.

A new report from an epidemiological analysis showed about 90 per cent of those who died were seniors, from 70 years and older.

The data also shows a significant increase in patients hospitalized from the virus.

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World News

New York City Will Reopen Elementary Schools And Reduce Hybrid Learning

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New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has confirmed public elementary schools will begin reopening next Monday.

The largest public school system in the country closed in November when the city reached a seven-day covid-19 testing positivity average of 3%.

Meanwhile, middle and high schools will remain closed. There are more than one million students in New York City’s public school system, and around 330,000 students could be eligible to return to school under this plan.

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