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In our news wrap Monday, Iran's foreign ministry says negotiators are making headway in talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by former President Trump, daily COVID infections fell to about 100,000 over the weekend, Canada's government tries to keep emergency powers in force to deal with dwindling protesters, and Brazil's death toll from last week's disaster rose to 176.
In the day's other news: Iran's Foreign Ministry reported that negotiators are making headway in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
Then-President Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, and Iran has since exceeded key limits on its nuclear efforts. Today, in Tehran, a foreign ministry spokesman acknowledged tough issues remain, but still offered an upbeat assessment
Saeed Khatibzadeh, Spokesman, Iranian Foreign Ministry (through translator):
The talks have had very considerable progress, and the breadth and number of topics has decreased dramatically, but the matters that remain are in fact that hardest, most essential and most serious matters.
Iran's president, Ebrahim Raisi, demanded today that the U.S. commit to lifting major sanctions and that it promise to stick with any new agreement.
On the pandemic, new numbers today underscored the rapid retreat of the Omicron variant in the U.S. average daily infections fell to about 100,000 over the weekend. That's down from 800,000 in mid-January.
Meanwhile, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the last virus restrictions are coming down in England. The rest of the United Kingdom is reopening more slowly.
The government of Canada will keep emergency powers in force after weeks of protests over pandemic restrictions. Police have ended a truckers' blockade of Central Ottawa and separate actions elsewhere. But, in Parliament today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned there may be more protests.
Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister:
Even though the blockades are lifted across border openings right now, even though things seem to be resolving very well in Ottawa, this state of emergency is not over.
Canadian police have arrested more than 190 protesters and issued 389 charges in connection with the so-called Freedom Convoy.
Northern Europe is struggling through the aftermath of its third major storm in five days. Heavy rain and high winds swept in Sunday and killed at least two people, bringing the week's death toll to 14. Together, the storms have left hundreds of thousands of people without power.
In Brazil, the death toll rose to 176 today from last week's mudslides and flooding disaster. More than 110 people are still missing in Petropolis, where 10 inches of rain fell on Tuesday. Over the weekend, rescue crews continued searching for survivors and bringing relief supplies to the site. They also appealed for help.
Gabriel, Firefighter (through translator):
The search-and-rescue may last another 15 days, but it's not certain, depending on the weather. Sometimes, we have to call it off when it rains heavily. I'd like to ask anyone who can help to lend a hand, because there are so many people here who are homeless and need help. They have no place to go. Any kind of help is welcome.
The downpour in Petropolis was the worst there since 1932.
Back in this country, the federal hate crimes trial for the killers of Ahmaud Arbery went to a jury in Brunswick, Georgia. In closing arguments, prosecutors alleged that the three white defendants had used racial slurs and targeted Arbery because he was Black. The defense argued they thought he was a thief. The three have already been convicted of Arbery's murder.
The defense has rested for three former Minneapolis police officers accused of violating George Floyd's civil rights. The last of them, Thomas Lane, testified today that he called for an ambulance. But he said he did not realize Floyd was in danger of dying as he lay pinned by the neck. Closing arguments are tomorrow.
Former President Trump's new social media app called TRUTH Social launched today. Its debut today came a year after Mr. Trump was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. TRUTH Social quickly became the top free app in the country, but new users waited hours to gain access.
And last year's Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, was disqualified today by the state racing commission over a positive drug test. The derby's second-place finisher, Mandaloun, was declared the official winner by Churchill Downs. Medina Spirit had died of a heart attack in December.
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