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In our news wrap Monday, Iran pressed for an end to U.S. sanctions as talks resumed on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. A federal judge in St. Louis blocked a federal COVID vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states. Leftist Xiomara Castro will likely become Honduras' first female president. Swedish lawmakers have elected Magdalena Andersson as their first female leader — again.
In the day's other news: A federal judge in St. Louis blocked a federal COVID vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states. They had challenged President Biden's order, arguing there was no clear legal authority for it.
An earlier court order blocked a federal vaccine mandate for large employers. The rulings in force, pending appeals to higher courts.
Iran today pressed for an end to U.S. sanctions as talks resumed on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. Negotiators from six nations met in Vienna for the first time in more than five months. Iran's top negotiator said the other parties understand what's needed.
Ali Bagheri Kani, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister (through translator):
I think it is itself a great achievement that all of the members of the group have accepted Iran's rightful demand and clarified that the illegal U.S. sanctions must first be lifted, and then there will be discussion, assessment, and decision-making on the remaining matters.
President Trump quit the nuclear deal, and, in response, Iran stopped complying with limits on its nuclear work. President Biden has indicated he wants to rejoin the agreement, if Iran returns to compliance.
In Honduras, they're still counting votes, but leftist Xiomara Castro appears headed toward becoming the country's first female president.
Supporters celebrated last night as she ran up a landslide lead in early results from Sunday's election. Castro called for a new era after 12 years of conservative rule.
Xiomara Castro, Honduran Presidential Candidate (through translator):
We are going to form a government of reconciliation in our country, a government of peace and a government of justice. We are going to start a process in the whole of Honduras to guarantee a participative democracy, a direct democracy.
Castro's husband had once been president, but was ousted by a military coup in 2009.
Lawmakers in Sweden have elected Magdalena Andersson again as their first female leader. She was briefly prime minister last week, before her coalition collapsed. After today's vote, most of Sweden's Parliament stood and applauded Andersson as she accepted her new role for the second time.
Back in this country, federal prosecutors in New York charged that Ghislaine Maxwell trafficked young girls to Jeffrey Epstein for sexual abuse. They spoke in opening statements. The defense answered that Maxwell has been made a scapegoat for Epstein, a convicted sex offender who died in jail in 2019.
Jury selection began today for Jussie Smollett, accused of staging a hate crime attack. The former star of the TV series "Empire" arrived at the Chicago courthouse with his family, but had no comment on the way inside. Smollett claims white men assaulted him in 2019, shouting racial and homophobic slurs. Two Black men say that he paid them to attack him.
Twitter's CEO, Jack Dorsey, has stepped down. He said today that it's time for change at the social media giant. Dorsey co-founded Twitter in 2006. Under his leadership, the company was criticized for not doing enough to block hate speech.
On Wall Street, stocks put aside some of Friday's fears over the new COVID variant. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 236 points to close at 35136. The Nasdaq rose 291 points, nearly 2 percent. The S&P 500 added 60.
And Lee Elder, who broke racial barriers in professional golf, has died. He passed away early Sunday in Escondido, California. In 1975, Elder became the first Black player to compete at The Masters. Ultimately, he won four times on the PGA Tour. Lee Elder was 87 years old.
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