4. Iran's Nuclear Program Reaches Its Final Stages
The race to do a deal with Iran over its nuclear program is reaching its final stages. Iran and the six international powers -- the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China -- aim to reach a long-term deal to end the decade-old nuclear standoff by a deadline of July 20. The goal is to reach an agreement under which Iran would curb its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual lifting of sanctions.
Talks resumed last week with still no sign of substantive progress on the main sticking points, which include uranium enrichment, the length of any agreement and the speed at which sanctions would be lifted. secretary of State John Kerry is set to arrive in Vienna this weekend to try to help break the log jam –- but wide gaps remain in the negotiating positions.
5. Costa Concordia Begins Its Final Journey
It’s been a long time coming, but on Monday, the Costa Concordia will begin its final journey -– two and a half years after its last ended in tragedy.
The cruise liner has been lying, shipwrecked, off the coast of Giglio Island since disaster struck on the night of Jan. 13, 2012. Thirty-two people lost their lives -– and the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial for manslaughter. Crews flipped the wreck upright last fall –- but now the real challenge begins.
The ship is resting upright on an underwater platform, with 30 water-filled metal tanks arranged along the side of its hull. On Monday, the tanks will be filled with air, lifting the 230 million pound ship off the platform. The wreck will then be towed 150 miles to Genoa. At the end of a five-day voyage, the Costa Concordia will be broken up for scrap -– a job that will take several years.