News You Should Read Today – January 23 – 2016

China, Iran pledge to improve relationsChina, Iran pledge to improve relations

Iran and China have pledged closer economic and political ties after talks in Tehran between the two presidents. China’s Xi Jinping is the first leader to visit Iran since international sanctions were lifted last week. The two leaders signed 17 agreements on a range of issues from energy to boosting trade to $600bn.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he and Mr Xi had signed a “comprehensive 25-year document” on strategic relations. They also discussed terrorism, instability in the Middle East, as well as “science, modern technology, culture, tourism… security and defence issues,” President Rouhani said on Iranian TV.

President Xi is also due to meet Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei during his 24-hour visit. He is the first Chinese president to visit Tehran in over a decade. BBC



Major snowstorm blankets US East CoastMajor snowstorm blankets US East Coast

Snow blanketed the East Coast starting Friday night and extending into Saturday, with Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area getting hit hardest.

So far, the nation’s capital has seen about a foot of snow, with much more on the way. Should the city hit 28 inches — just over what meteorologists are predicting — it would mark D.C.’s largest snowfall on record. Nine states declared a state of emergency, with D.C. and New York City also issuing weather emergency declarations.

From midnight until noon Saturday, the forecast shows snowfall rates could potentially reach 10 inches every six hours, according to Chris Geldart of the District of Columbia’s emergency management agency.

The snow arrived in Washington in the afternoon and quickly intensified, with 2½ feet possible by the time the last flakes fall Saturday night, the mayor said.

The storm could be the largest in Washington’s history, and will probably rank in the top 5 in terms of snowfall accumulation. There are 8 dead, emergency in 11 states, and traffic backed up 35 miles in Kentucky. CNN



4 killed in Canada school shooting ( killed in Canada school shooting

Four people were reportedly shot dead Friday at La Loche Community School in an aboriginal community Northern Saskatechewan, Canada. Police arrested a suspect at the school and seized his weapon.

“Words cannot express my shock and sorrow at the horrific events today in La Loche,” Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall wrote on Facebook. “My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims, their families and friends and all the people of the community.”

The school teaches prekindergarten to 12th grade, and houses about 900 students in two buildings. CNN



State Department seeks delay of Clinton email releaseState Department seeks delay of Clinton email release

The U.S. State Department has asked a federal court to grant it a one-month extension to complete its final release of all of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s work-related emails.

Spokesman Mark Toner said Friday that the department would not be able to meet its January 29 deadline. About 9,400 of 55,000 pages are left and they contain “a large amount of material that required interagency review,” he said. The department will make public as many as possible next week, he said, but is asking for the final deadline to be pushed back to February 29.

Clinton sent and received email on a private server in her home between 2009 and 2013, but this unusual arrangement did not become public until early 2015 as she was preparing to run for president.

The intelligence community has said that at least two of Clinton’s emails contained information that was classified as “top secret.” Clinton has said the decision to use a private server was made out of convenience and that none of the messages were marked classified when she sent them. VOA News

Academy to double female and minority members by 2020Academy to double female and minority members by 2020

The organizers of the Oscars have pledged to double the number of female and minority members of the Academy by 2020. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the changes following a backlash over the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations.

Three new seats will be added to the Academy’s board of governors to improve diversity in leadership. Several top industry figures have said they will not attend the Oscars.

Actor Will Smith and director Spike Lee are among those to announce they will not be going to February’s Academy Awards, after it emerged no black or minority actors had been nominated in the four Oscars acting categories for the second year running.

Meanwhile Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling has called a boycott “racist against white people”. BBC

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