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Iran denounces ‘political, unconstructive’ IAEA resolution

Iran denounced as “political” and “unconstructive” Thursday a resolution adopted by the UN nuclear watchdog censuring it for failing to cooperate.

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“Iran condemns the adoption of the resolution presented by the United States, Britain, France, and Germany at the Board of Governors meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency as a political, unconstructive and incorrect action,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Iran already announced it had disconnected some IAEA cameras monitoring its nuclear sites in anticipation of the watchdog’s adoption of the Western-drafted censure motion Wednesday.

The motion — the first to criticize Iran since June 2020 — was approved by 30 members of the IAEA board of governors, with only Russia and China voting against it.

The resolution came after the Vienna-based IAEA raised concerns about traces of enriched uranium previously found at three sites Tehran had not declared as having hosted nuclear activities.

“The adoption of the resolution, which is based on the hasty and unbalanced report of the director general of the IAEA and on false and fabricated information from the Zionist regime (Israel), will only weaken the process of cooperation and interaction between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the agency,” the foreign ministry statement said.

“Iran has taken reciprocal practical steps due to the non-constructive approach of the agency and the adoption of the resolution, including the installation of advanced centrifuges and the deactivation of cameras.”

In a statement on Wednesday, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation stressed that it was continuing to abide by the safeguard agreement with the IAEA.

“More than 80 percent of the agency’s existing cameras are operating according to the safeguard agreement and will continue to operate just as before,” it said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh condemned the resolution in a tweet, insisting Iran has “the world’s most transparent peaceful nuclear programme.”

“The initiators are responsible for the consequences. Iran’s response is firm & proportionate,” he said.

After the adoption of the resolution, the US, Britain, France and Germany urged Iran “to fulfil its legal obligations, and cooperate with the IAEA.”

Iran struck a deal with major powers in 2015 setting limits to its nuclear activities in return for relief from international sanctions — but the agreement has been in disarray since then US president Donald Trump abandoned the agreement three years later and reimposed sanctions.

In response, Iran began rolling back on its commitments under the deal from 2019.

Talks began in April last year on reviving the agreement through the lifting of US sanctions and Iran returning to full compliance but they have stalled in recent months.

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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