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The Real Truth - A Magazine Restoring Plain Understanding

  • World News Desk
  • MIDDLE EAST

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday Iran might enrich uranium up to 60 percent purity if the country needed it and would never yield to U.S. pressure over its nuclear program, state television reported.

Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers, which it has been breaching since the United States withdrew in 2018, caps the fissile purity to which Tehran can refine uranium at 3.67 percent, well under the 20 percent achieved before the agreement and far below the 90 percent suitable for a nuclear weapon.

  • Articles
  • ECONOMY & PERSONAL FINANCE

When Leondra Garrett wanted to stock up on three new pairs of shoes early last year, the North Carolina resident split a $161 online purchase into four installments through a “buy now, pay later” service, in what seemed like a convenient deal.

Now, she admits she should have read the small print about missed payments.

  • Articles
  • SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA on Monday released the first high-quality video of a spacecraft landing on Mars, a three-minute trailer showing the enormous orange and white parachute hurtling open and the red dust kicking up as rocket engines lowered the rover to the surface.

The footage was so good—and the images so breathtaking—that members of the rover team said they felt like they were riding along.

Learn the why behind the headlines.

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  • World News Desk
  • MIDDLE EAST

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan escalated sharply after peace talks began last year, the United Nations said in a report released on Tuesday, calling for a ceasefire as negotiators met for the first time after weeks of inaction.

U.S.-brokered peace talks began in September, but progress has since slowed and violence has risen with uncertainty over whether international forces will pull out troops by May as originally planned.

  • World News Desk
  • ASIA

Protesters gathered in Myanmar’s biggest city on Monday despite the ruling junta’s threat to use lethal force against people who join a general strike against the military’s takeover three weeks ago.

More than 1,000 protesters gathered near the U.S. Embassy in Yangon despite barriers blocking the way, but left to avoid a confrontation after 20 military trucks with riot police arrived nearby. Protests continued in other parts of the city, including next to Sule Pagoda, a traditional gathering point.

  • Articles
  • HEALTH ISSUES

As I look up from the front yard of an average suburban U.S. home at about 10:30 p.m. on an overcast night, the cloudy sky radiates an odd shade of pink.

Trucks roar by on an interstate highway a tenth of a mile due north, with an exit ramp visible just to the east.

  • World News Desk
  • SOCIETY & LIFESTYLES

New York (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – People have become more concerned about the gap between rich and poor during the coronavirus pandemic, especially the young, the authors of a new global study said on Tuesday, urging governments to take steps to redress the balance.

More than 8,700 people in 24 nations were surveyed at the start and end of 2020 by the Glocalities market research agency, with the findings showing an increase in the share of respondents who thought income differences should be reduced.

  • World News Desk
  • AFRICA

The Italian ambassador to Congo, an Italian Carabinieri police officer and their Congolese driver were killed Monday when gunmen attacked a UN convoy traveling to a school in eastern Congo, the Italian Foreign Ministry and residents said.

Luca Attanasio, serving at the Italian embassy in the country since 2017, Carabinieri officer Vittorio Iacovacci and their driver Moustapha Milambo were killed, officials said. Other members of the convoy were wounded and taken to a hospital, the World Food Program said.

  • World News Desk
  • WEATHER & ENVIRONMENT

The largest U.S. oil refiners released tons of air pollutants into the skies over Texas this past week, according to figures provided to the state, as refineries and petrochemical plants in the region scrambled to shut production during frigid weather.

An arctic air mass that spread into an area not used to such low temperatures killed at least two dozen people in Texas and knocked out power to more than 4 million at its peak. It also hit natural gas and electric generation, cutting supplies needed to run the plants along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

  • Articles
  • RELIGION

The smell of baked haddock wafts through a parish as local families attend a church-sponsored Friday night dinner together. Heaps of coleslaw, macaroni salad and mashed potatoes fill diners’ plates, yet no trace of meat products such as beef are to be found.

The Lenten season has begun.

  • World News Desk
  • GEOPOLITICS

Estonia’s foreign intelligence agency said Wednesday that Russia is counting on the COVID-19 pandemic to weaken unity in the West which would help Moscow gain a more prominent role in international affairs and lead to “declining Western influence on the global stage.”

The Kremlin thinks the pandemic will force Western nations to focus on domestic policy and economic problems and facilitate the emergence of populist and extremist movements, the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service said in its annual report.

  • World News Desk
  • ECONOMY & PERSONAL FINANCE

Unpaid debt from pandemic-stricken borrowers has ravaged profits at Europe’s big banks and kick-started a debate among politicians about whether they may ultimately need state help.

Reflecting on the pandemic’s impact, many bank executives say the worst is behind them, with Societe Generale CEO Frederic Oudea and BNP Paribas CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe predicting an imminent rebound.

  • World News Desk
  • SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

For two decades, global news outlets have complained internet companies are getting rich at their expense, selling advertising linked to their reports without sharing revenue.

Now, Australia is joining France and other governments in pushing Google, Facebook and other internet giants to pay. That might channel more money to a news industry that is cutting coverage as revenue shrinks. But it also sets up a clash with some of the tech industry’s biggest names.

  • World News Desk
  • MIDDLE EAST

For Bahraini activist Maryam al-Khawaja, who lives in self-imposed exile in Kansas City, the pandemic at least had a silver lining. Authorities at home allowed her to speak to her jailed father online because personal prison visits were banned.

“I had the chance to see his face for the first time since 2014,” she told Reuters.

  • World News Desk
  • INTERNATIONAL

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – More children could be pushed into joining armed groups in conflict zones as families face increasing poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a top UN official warned on Friday.

The exact number of child soldiers is unknown, but in 2019 alone about 7,740 children—some as young as six—were recruited and used as fighters or in other roles by mostly non-state armed groups, according to United Nations data.

  • World News Desk
  • SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

When NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance, a robotic astrobiology lab packed inside a space capsule, hits the final stretch of its seven-month journey from Earth this week, it is set to emit a radio alert as it streaks into the thin Martian atmosphere.

By the time that signal reaches mission managers some 127 million miles away at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles, Perseverance will already have landed on the Red Planet—hopefully in one piece.

  • World News Desk
  • MIDDLE EAST

Iran said on Monday that a U.S. move this month to seize a cargo of oil on the grounds that it came from Tehran was an act of piracy, adding that the shipment did not belong to the Iranian government.

Washington filed a lawsuit earlier this month to seize the cargo, alleging that Iran sought to mask the origin of the oil by transferring it to several vessels before it ended up aboard the Liberian-flagged Achilleas tanker destined for China.

  • World News Desk
  • MIDDLE EAST

More than 2 million Yemeni children under the age of 5 are expected to endure acute malnutrition in 2021, four United Nations agencies said Friday, urging stakeholders to end the yearslong conflict that has brought the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.

The UN report warned that nearly one in six of those kids—400,000 of the 2.3 million—are at risk of death due to severe acute malnutrition this year, a significant increase from last year’s estimates. The report also said a lack of funds was hampering humanitarian programs in Yemen, as donor nations have failed to make good on their commitments.

  • World News Desk
  • AMERICAS

Sorrow reverberated across the country Sunday as Americans, including President Joe Biden, joined a Florida community in remembering the 17 lives lost three years ago in the Parkland school shooting massacre.

“In seconds, the lives of dozens of families, and the life of an American community, were changed forever,” Mr. Biden said in a statement released Sunday.

  • World News Desk
  • POLITICS

Donald Trump’s acquittal at his second impeachment trial may not be the final word on whether he is to blame for the Capitol riot. The next step for the former president could be the courts.

Now a private citizen, Mr. Trump is stripped of his protection from legal liability that the presidency gave him. That change in status is something that even Republicans who voted on Saturday to acquit of inciting the January 6 attack are stressing as they urge Americans to move on from impeachment.

  • World News Desk
  • TERRORISM & SECURITY

More than three dozen French police officers descended on a small private school in Paris, blocked the 92 students inside their classrooms, took photos everywhere even inside the refrigerator, and grilled the school director.

“It was like they were moving in on a drug deal,” Hanane Loukili, the director and co-founder of the MHS middle and high school said, recalling the November 17 scene.

  • World News Desk
  • ECONOMY & PERSONAL FINANCE

The British economy suffered its biggest decline in more than 300 years in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic closed shops and restaurants, devastated the travel industry and curtailed manufacturing.

The economy shrank 9.9 percent last year, more than twice the figure for 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. The drop is the largest since 1709, when a cold spell known as the Great Frost devastated what was then a largely agricultural economy.

  • World News Desk
  • MIDDLE EAST

BEIRUT (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The murder of three women has provoked outrage in Lebanon, as authorities revealed a doubling of domestic abuse reports in a country that recently won praise for new laws to protect women.

The most high-profile death was that of model Zeina Kanjo, who was strangled at home. An arrest warrant has been issued for her husband, who was charged with her murder after fleeing to Turkey, according to the state-run National News Agency (NNA).

  • World News Desk
  • SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

A hacker’s botched attempt to poison the water supply of a small Florida city is raising alarms about just how vulnerable the nation’s water systems may be to attacks by more sophisticated intruders. Treatment plants are typically cash-strapped and lack the cybersecurity depth of the power grid and nuclear plants.

A local sheriff’s startling announcement Monday that the water supply of Oldsmar, population 15,000, was briefly in jeopardy last week exhibited uncharacteristic transparency. Suspicious incidents are rarely reported and usually are chalked up to mechanical or procedural errors, experts say. No federal reporting requirement exists, and state and local rules vary widely.

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