• Vaccinated people in hotspots to resume wearing masks indoors: US health authority

      Vaccinated people in hotspots to resume wearing masks indoors: US health authority

      People vaccinated against Covid-19 in high-risk parts of the United States should resume wearing masks indoors, the top health authority said Tuesday, a major reversal in guidance that underscored the country's struggle to suppress the Delta variant, AFP reported. President Joe Biden said the announcement showed that America needs to "do better" on vaccinations, adding that a vaccine mandate for the country's more than two million federal workers was now "under consideration."

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    • Julian Assange loses Ecuadorian citizenship

      Julian Assange loses Ecuadorian citizenship

      An administrative court in Quito has revoked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's Ecuadorian citizenship, news wires reported. According to the newspaper El Comercio, the court rules that administrative errors were made when citizenship was granted to Australian-born Assange in 2017.

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    • Israel, France to discuss Pegasus scandal

      Israel, France to discuss Pegasus scandal

      Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz will meet his French counterpart in Paris this week for talks that will include an "update" on the Pegasus spyware scandal, AFP reported on Tuesday, citing his office. A ministry statement said Gantz will leave Wednesday for talks with French Defence Minister Florence Parly on topics including the crisis in Lebanon, nuclear negotiations with Iran and the Pegasus malware made by Israeli firm NSO, which was allegedly used to target President Emmanuel Macron.

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    • UK virus cases fall for seven days in a row to experts’ surprise

      UK virus cases fall for seven days in a row to experts’ surprise

      Britain registered lower coronavirus case numbers for seven days in a row on Tuesday, a decline that has surprised officials and experts. However, PM Boris Johnson called for caution, news wires reported. Recorded infection rates across the UK have dropped for seven consecutive days with 23,511 new cases announced on Tuesday compared to 46,558 a week earlier -- a fall of nearly 50%.

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    • World leaders can attend annual General assembly session in person

      World leaders can attend annual General assembly session in person

      The United Nations has decided to let world leaders attend their annual gathering at the UN General Assembly in September in person or deliver pre-recorded speeches if Covid-19 restrictions prevent them from traveling, news wires reported. General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, a strong supporter of in-person meetings, said in a note from his office to the 193 UN member nations circulated on Monday that significant efforts have been made to ensure that the UN is able to host an in-person high-level week from Sept. 21-30.

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    • Koreas reopen communication channels, agree to improve ties

      Koreas reopen communication channels, agree to improve ties

      The leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to restore suspended communication channels between them and to improve ties, both governments said on Tuesday, amid a 2 ½ year-stalemate in US-led diplomacy aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear weapons, AP reported. While the move could certainly help ease animosities on the Korean Peninsula, it’s unclear whether Pyongyang would go as far as to revive previous vigorous cooperation programmes with Seoul and get back to the nuclear talks with Washington.

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    • Lebanon names billionaire businessman as PM-designate

      Lebanon names billionaire businessman as PM-designate

      Leading Lebanese businessman Najib Mikati secured enough votes in parliamentary consultations on Monday to be designated the next prime minister, raising hopes for an urgently needed viable government to tackle a crippling financial crisis, news wires reported. Mikati said he would work to form a government and implement a French plan to save the country from its crippling financial crisis.

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    • US will continue airstrikes in support of Afghan forces fighting the Taliban

      US will continue airstrikes in support of Afghan forces fighting the Taliban

      The US will continue airstrikes in support of Afghan forces fighting the Taliban, a top US general said on Sunday, as the insurgents press on with offensives across the country, news wires reported. Since early May, violence has surged after the insurgents launched a sweeping assault just days after the US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal.

      "The United States has increased airstrikes in the support of Afghan forces over the last several days, and we are prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks," General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Army Central Command, told reporters in Kabul.

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    • Tunisia's president suspends parliament, fires PM, tensions rise

      Tunisia's president suspends parliament, fires PM, tensions rise

      Tunisia's President Kais Saied dismissed the government and suspended parliament on Sunday, following violent nationwide protests over the country’s economic troubles and virus crisis, news wires reported. Saied said he would assume executive authority with the assistance of a new prime minister, in the biggest challenge yet to a 2014 democratic constitution that split powers between president, prime minister and parliament.

      Thousands of people defied virus restrictions and scorching heat to demonstrate Sunday in the capital, Tunis, and other cities. The largely young crowds shouted “Get out!” and slogans calling for the dissolution of parliament and early elections. Clashes erupted in many places.

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