In our news wrap Tuesday, European leaders took a major step in pressuring Iran to adhere to the 2015 nuclear deal. Germany, France and the United Kingdom triggered the deal’s official dispute process over Iran’s decision to no longer abide by its enriched uranium limits. Also, Iran arrested an undisclosed number of suspects over the downing of a passenger jet that killed all 176 people on board.
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The U.S. House of Representatives is now poised to vote tomorrow to send the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will also vote tomorrow to designate impeachment managers to lead the prosecution at the Senate's trial.
We will take a closer look at how that trial is shaping up after the news summary.
A U.S. cybersecurity firm said that Russian military agents hacked the Ukrainian gas company at the center of President Trump's impeachment probe. Area 1 Security said that hackers tired to steal the login credentials of Burisma employees in November. Hunter Biden, who is the former vice president's son, served earlier on their board.
President Trump's attempt to pressure Ukrainian authorities into investigating the Bidens and Burisma for corruption led to his impeachment.
European leaders took a major step in pressuring Iran to adhere to the 2015 nuclear deal today. Germany, France, and the U.K. triggered the deal's official dispute process over Iran's recent decision to no longer abide by its enriched uranium limits.
The dispute could lead to the reimposition of U.N. sanctions against Iran that were lifted under the deal. But the European Union insisted that is not the goal.
The aim of the dispute resolution mechanism is not to reimpose sanctions. I think it has to be clear that the objective is, therefore, to find solutions and return to full compliance.
Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, called the use of the dispute mechanism legally baseless, and said it was a strategic mistake.
Separately, Iran arrested an undisclosed number of suspects today over the downing of a passenger jet that killed all 176 people on board. Thirty people were also detained for taking part in nationwide protests that broke out after the Iranian military admitted it accidentally shot down the plane.
President Hassan Rouhani promised a thorough investigation for what he called an unforgivable error.
President Hassan Rouhani (through translator):
It is not possible for just one person to be the culprit in this incident. There are others too. And I would like this case to be explained to the people with honesty.
The judiciary should form a special court with a high-ranking judge and tens of experts. This is not an ordinary case. The entire world will be watching this case.
The passenger jet was shot down last Wednesday as Iran braced for retaliation for firing missiles on U.S. military bases. Rouhani today also blamed the U.S. for inciting the tensions that led to the tragedy.
The Trump administration said today that it has no immediate plans to lift U.S. tariffs on some $360 billion worth of Chinese goods. That comes as the U.S. and China prepare to sign the first phase of a trade deal tomorrow. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that China has made strong commitments that it won't manipulate currency, and he said the tariffs will remain in place until there is phase two of the deal.
A severe snowstorm in Afghanistan and Pakistan has claimed the lives of 126 people since Sunday; 55 of those deaths happened in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir over the last 24 hours. Most died in a single avalanche. Pakistani crews worked to clear the highways of snow. Meanwhile, in neighboring Afghanistan, snowfall and landslides damaged some 300 homes.
In the Philippines today, a volcano near the capital city spewed lava half-a-mile into the sky. Officials warned that the Taal volcano was at risk for an even bigger eruption. Some rescued pigs from the small volcanic island. Meanwhile, nearly 40,000 residents were forced to evacuate as nearby villages were blanketed in heavy ash.
Wilbert Malibiran (through translator):
All the people here have evacuated because the volcano might erupt. So we left everything. We were saved, but, when we came back here, everything was destroyed.
The volcanic ash forced the government and schools in several cities to close today. Hundreds of flights either were canceled or delayed.
Back in this country, jet fuel from an airplane returning to Los Angeles International Airport fell onto two L.A. area elementary schools today. About 40 children and adults were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Delta Air Lines said that the plane experienced an engine issue and had an emergency fuel release. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.
Stocks finished flat on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 32 points to close at 28939. The Nasdaq fell 22 points, and the S&P 500 slipped five.
The Women's National Basketball Association and its players union have reached a tentative labor deal that will allow athletes to earn six figures for the first time. The players will be paid an average of $130,000, and will collect a full salary while on maternity leave.
And the Louisiana State University Tigers are celebrating their college football national championship win. The LSU beat Clemson 42-25 last night in New Orleans. The Tigers snapped Clemson's 29-game winning streak to secure their first national championship since 2007.
Senior quarterback Joe Burrow led the team to victory with six total touchdowns.
Congratulations to LSU.