Apr 18, 2021

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Trial to study effect of immune system on Covid reinfection

By Nicola Davis Science correspondent
  • The first human challenge trials for Covid began this year, with the study – a partnership led by researchers at Imperial College London among others – initially looking at the smallest amount of virus needed to cause infection among people who have not had Covid before.
  • The immune response needed to protect people against reinfection with the coronavirus will be explored in a new human challenge trial, researchers have revealed.
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AMLO to propose extending social programme to Central America – Al Jazeera English

  • In a video message on Sunday, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he wants to propose offering the Sembrando Vida programme, which provides work and support for the agricultural sector in Central America.
  • Mexico’s president has said he plans to propose to his US counterpart Joe Biden a plan to extend to Central America a key Mexican social programme, as part of ongoing efforts to stem migration to the United States .
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Hard-line Islamists take 6 Pakistani security personnel hostage amid deadly clashes

By Shaiq Hussain and Susannah George
  • ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A hard-line Islamist group on Sunday took six Pakistani security personnel hostage after days of deadly clashes in the northeastern city of Lahore over a French satirical newspaper’s publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad and the arrest of the group’s leader by Pakistani authorities.
  • The tensions driving the protests, led by the Islamist party Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan, have been simmering for months after French President Emmanuel Macron honored a teacher who was beheaded last year in France after he showed a class the cartoons depicting Muhammad.
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Explainer: how will the new European Super League work?

By Marcus Christenson
  • O n Sunday night 12 European football clubs announced the formation of a new competition, the Super League, to widespread criticism from governments, their own domestic leagues, football federations as well as Uefa and supporters around the world.
  • At the moment they are hoping to remain playing in those competitions but the leagues have all issued strong-worded statements condemning the clubs and the new breakaway league.
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Hugs, tears as Australia and New Zealand ‘travel bubble’ starts

  • Emotions were high on Monday as excited passengers set off on the first flights between Australia and New Zealand as part of a a quarantine-free COVID-19 “travel bubble”, allowing families long separated by the pandemic to reunite.
  • “It is the first time in 400 days that people can travel quarantine-free and we are adding 16 return flights a day to New Zealand, and they are full,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
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Gladys wants major change to jab rollout

  • Ms Berejiklian reiterated comments made last week about having concerns Australia would fall behind the rest of the world in terms of the jab rollout and said many aspects of the program are out of the state government’s control.
  • According to the premier, two-thirds of the 300,000 NSW residents that the government was asked to vaccinate should have received their jab but the state is ready to step it up.
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Macau’s Portuguese-language journalists at TdM brace for restrictions on press freedom amid recent events at public broadcaster

By Eduardo Baptista
Macau’s Portuguese-language journalists are bracing themselves for restrictions on press freedom following recent events at the gambling hub’s public broadcaster.Some journalists have resigned in recent weeks, while others are worried about increasing self-censorship as the former Portuguese colony’s media scene becomes more pro-Beijing.The uncertainty was sparked after about 25 journalists and producers at public broadcaster Teledifusao de Macau (TdM) were called to a meeting on March 10 […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Suspected Islamic militants kill 19 people in Niger village

By Dalatou Mamane | AP
  • NIAMEY, Niger — Gunmen on motorcycles attacked a village near Niger’s troubled border with Mali, shooting at people as they prayed at the mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and killing 19 people, officials said Sunday.
  • Islamic extremists aligned with the Islamic State group have long been active in Niger, and suspicion quickly fell on the militants earlier this year after gunmen began staging a series of large-scale attacks on civilians near the Malian border.
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New Zealand ‘uncomfortable’ with expanding Five Eyes’ remit, says foreign minister

  • New Zealand’s foreign minister, Nanaia Mahuta, says her country won’t provoke or engage with China through the Five Eyes alliance aside from on intelligence matters, in a major accommodation of Chinese concerns.
  • The Five Eyes alliance is a network of five like-minded countries – the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – that share security-related intelligence.
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Do we need masks outdoors? Covid-19 experts in US weigh in

  • But Dr Amesh Adalja, a public health expert at Johns Hopkins University, said it was now time to dial back outdoor mask mandates and adopt a more nuanced approach better aligned with the science.
  • WASHINGTON (AFP) - It is a familiar sight in some US cities like Washington, New York and San Francisco: people walking on the street, riding bikes or sitting in parks with their masks on even when they are far away from others.
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New UK challenge trial to see whether people can get COVID again

  • British scientists have launched a trial that will deliberately expose participants who have already had COVID-19 to the coronavirus again to examine immune responses and see if people get reinfected.
  • The study launched on Monday differs from the one announced in February as it seeks to reinfect people who have previously had COVID-19 in an attempt to deepen understanding about immunity, rather than infecting people for the first time.
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Do we need masks outdoors? Experts weigh in

  • But Amesh Adalja, a public health expert at Johns Hopkins University, said it was now time to dial back outdoor mask mandates and adopt a more nuanced approach better aligned with the science.
  • It's a familiar sight in some US cities like Washington, New York and San Francisco: people walking on the street, riding bikes or sitting in parks with their masks on even when they're far away from others.
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South Africa wildfire burns University of Cape Town, country’s oldest working windmill

By Lesley Wroughton
  • Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said the flames damaged the Rhodes Memorial restaurant and Mostert’s Mill, South Africa’s oldest working windmill, which was built in 1796.
  • CAPE TOWN — A raging wildfire on Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain Sunday damaged historical landmarks, including the oldest working windmill in South Africa and a library housing African antiquities at the University of Cape Town.
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India faces economic growth projections downgrade

By KS Kumar
  • With India in the grip of a second Covid-19 wave and threatening to undo the fragile economic recovery from last year’s lockdowns, leading brokerages have downgraded the country’s gross domestic product projections for the fiscal year ending March 2022.
  • Earlier the Reserve Bank of India had projected the gross domestic product to grow 10.5% in the current fiscal year, while the World Bank foresees growth of 10.1%.
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N.Korean Regime Loses Grip on Younger Generation

By Kim Myong-song( )
  • One former high-ranking North Korean who defected to South Korea, said, "Kim Jong-un is afraid that young people harbor feelings of admiration for South Korea and could eventually consider it an alternative to his rule."
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently criticized young people who have grown up exposed to South Korean pop culture by saying they needed to be converted.
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Human traffickers reap billions selling the American dream

  • MEXICO CITY (AFP) - The tide of migrants sweeping across Mexico to the US border is not just a humanitarian crisis - it is also a highly organized, multibillion-dollar trafficking business dominated by the drug cartels.
  • Like other forms of organized crime, it is usually controlled by Mexico's powerful drug cartels, although the first link in the chain may be a neighbor of the migrants, who are mostly Central Americans.
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‘Truly heartbreaking’: Coroner refers Quanne Diec case to unsolved homicide unit

By Georgina Mitchell
  • Giving evidence in the trial, Mr Tarantino said he was not involved “in any way” in the abduction or murder of Quanne.
  • Mr Lee wrote in his findings that Mr Tarantino was informed in writing that he was considered to be a person with sufficient interest in the inquest, however he did not appear or have a legal representative appear for him.
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Chancellor of Justice advised Finnish premier on bill on movement restrictions, e-mails reveal

CHANCELLOR OF JUSTICE Tuomas Pöysti advised Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on how to draft and announce to the public a since-abandoned bill that would have enabled the adoption of movement restrictions in Finland, indicate e-mails obtained by Iltalehti.

The e-mails cast light on the dialogue between him and government officials during the lawmaking process.

[…]Read more >Similar articles >
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Russia expels Czech diplomats, says Prague took hostile step

  • MOSCOW — Russia on Sunday ordered 20 Czech diplomats to leave the country within a day in response to the Czech government’s expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats it identified as spies for a military intelligence agency that Prague claims was involved in a 2014 ammunition depot explosion.
  • Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Saturday that the expulsions were based on “unequivocal evidence” provided by the Czech intelligence and security services that points to the involvement of Russian military agents in the massive 2014 explosion in an eastern town that killed two people.
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Asian shares mixed amid cautious outlook for global economy

By Yuri Kageyama | AP
  • Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief market economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said that although the promised vaccine after Suga’s U.S. visit works as a plus for Japan, their agreement to take a stiffer stance on China adds to investor worries because of China’s importance for the Japanese economy.
  • Japan’s benchmark quickly lost early gains and fell 0.1% to 29,642.79, the first market reaction after a summit by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga with President Joe Biden over the weekend.
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Families reunite as Australia and New Zealand form ‘travel bubble’

  • SYDNEY – Hundreds of passengers from Australia began arriving in New Zealand airports on Monday after authorities reopened borders, a COVID-19 pandemic milestone that allows quarantine-free travel between the countries for the first time in over a year.
  • “It is the first time in 400 days that people can travel quarantine-free and we are adding 16 return flights a day to New Zealand, and they are full,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
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Emotional scenes at Auckland Airport as first quarantine-free flights land in New Zealand

  • All people residing in Australia or New Zealand, including foreign nationals, can use quarantine-free travel, as long as they meet the health, immigration, and other standard border clearance requirements in each country.
  • "Today's milestone is a win-win for Australians and New Zealanders, boosting our economies while keeping our people safe and just in time for Anzac Day," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
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The asylum seekers who were removed from Brisbane’s Kangaroo Point last week have been flown to Melbourne

  • Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul says Queensland Health then told the ABF and Serco that the men couldn't be held at BITA because it's a quarantine facility.
  • The 17 men had been held in the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel and Apartments for more than a year after being brought to Australia for medical care from detention centres Nauru and Manus Island.
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Rusty Canucks buck odds, beat Maple Leafs in OT

By Lance Hornby
  • The Vancouver Canucks, three weeks after COVID-19 halted their season, far back in the playoff race and with many of their players still out or ailing, gave the fully charged Maple Leafs all they could handle Sunday night at Rogers Arena.
  • “I’m expecting William to play as if he didn’t miss anything,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said before the game.
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PM’s ‘culture wars’ before Biden talks

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under mounting pressure to commit to a net zero emissions target as Australia prepares for a key climate held by new US President Joe Biden this week.
  • But Labor climate spokesman Chris Bowen has accused Mr Morrison of making Australia an “outlier” on the world stage, as other countries prepared for the summit by ramping up their ambitions.
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Fears grow of spike in Tokyo COVID-19 variant cases

  • As Japan faces down a fourth wave of coronavirus infections, many fear that the variant strains spreading rapidly in the country’s west may soon wreak havoc in the Tokyo area as well, with the strains making up 80% to 90% of all coronavirus cases in the Tokyo area by early May, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
  • According to the health ministry, genome analyses have revealed that 271 people in 21 Japanese prefectures had been infected with variant strains as of March 9.
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Jury in George Floyd murder trial to hear closing arguments

  • A jury is to hear closing arguments on Monday in the trial of the white ex-police officer accused of murdering African-American George Floyd, a case that laid bare racial wounds in the United States and has come to be seen as a pivotal test of police accountability.
  • Two members of the jury will be excused by Judge Peter Cahill after closing arguments and the other 12 will be sequestered for deliberations.
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PM nominee vows to present new govt. stance on pandemic-related support

By Yonhap
  • Prime Minister nominee Kim Boo-kyum said Monday he plans to deliver a fresh government stance in terms of the pandemic-related public support programs in his confirmation hearing.
  • Kim Boo-kyum, the nominee for prime minister, answers reporters' questions while arriving at his temporary office in Seoul on Monday, to prepare for his upcoming parliamentary confirmation hearing.
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Ontario lowers age for AstraZenca, revises some COVID-19 lockdown measures amid public outrage

By Joe Friesen Andrea Woo Kelly Grant Bill Curry
  • Members of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said there are three policies that Mr. Ford could enact immediately that would save lives: the increased redirection of vaccines to COVID-19 hot spots, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area; the provision of paid sick days; and a narrower definition of an essential business
  • Alison Thompson, a member of the Ontario COVID-19 Health System Response Bioethics Table, another group advising the Ford government, said she and her colleagues were stunned, especially by the absence of enhanced protections for essential workers.
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Gunda: a wordless 90-minute animal movie of mind-blowing ordinariness – and a work of genius

By Luke Buckmaster
  • Far be it from me to suggest that a lovely little film about pigs could solve decades of academic arguments, but Gunda feels like all three: a window somewhere else; a stylised frame; a reflection of worldly beauty.
  • I have ventured to the cinema twice to see Godzilla vs Kong; on the second occasion I even attended a venue where the sound is synchronised to the seats, so my butt vibrated in accordance with on-screen action.
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Curfew targets vulnerable people more than COVID-19, protesters say

By Susan Schwartz, Montreal Gazette
  • Maggie was one of dozens who attended a demonstration Sunday afternoon at Jeanne-Mance Park to protest Premier François Legault’s imposition of an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in Montreal and Laval “until further notice.”
  • Like Maggie, organizers of the protest said on the event’s Facebook page that the curfew disproportionately affects certain groups, including people experiencing homelessness and sex workers and those who live in small or crowded dwellings and those in relationships with an abusive partner.
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Emotional scenes as bubble launches

  • The arrival halls of Australian airports were full of emotional reunions on Monday, as grandparents met their grandchildren for the first time, friends were reunited and parents embraced their children after a year of separation as the trans-Tasman bubble officially launched.
  • For the first time since March last year, New Zealanders and Australians are able to freely travel between the two countries without the need for hotel quarantine.
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What you need to know about the mutant coronavirus strains in Hong Kong

By Rachel Yeo,Gigi Choy
This story has been made freely available as a public service to our readers.Hong Kong has detected its second locally transmitted Covid-19 case involving a mutant strain, raising concerns about its circulation within the community.Health officials, meanwhile, have also warned of a potential surge in cases while an ongoing investigation into the source of the two infections is under way.Below, the Post unpacks what you need to know about the mutant coronavirus strains found in Hong Kong.What […]Read more >Similar articles >

There’s a new COVID-19 variant in India. How worried should we be?

By Bhuma Shrivastava
  • The new variant, which has a so-called double mutation, is thought to be fueling India’s deadlier new wave of cases that has made it the world’s second worst-hit country, surpassing Brazil again, and has already begun to overwhelm its hospitals and crematoriums.
  • With India’s daily tally of COVID-19 infections surging by records, public health experts worry that a new — possibly more virulent — coronavirus variant could be racing through the crowded nation of more than 1.3 billion people.
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Myanmar’s shadow government wants invite to ASEAN crisis talks

  • Yangon, Myanmar – Myanmar’s shadow government has urged Southeast Asian leaders to give it a seat at the table during crisis talks this week, and not to recognize the military regime that seized power in a February coup.
  • Earlier unrest continued across the country on Sunday, with protesters rallying in Mandalay, Meiktila, Magway and Myingyan, showing support for the national unity government.
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Hugs, tears as New Zealand-Australia travel bubble opens

  • Emotions ran high Monday as excited passengers set off on the first flights to take advantage of a quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, allowing families split by the pandemic to finally reunite.
  • "It's a very big day and exciting for families and friends," said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who hailed the success of both countries in containing the virus as a key factor in allowing the travel corridor.
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Is Southeast Asia waking up to the need for unity in South China Sea?

By Norman Goh
For years, the Southeast Asian countries that are party to the South China Sea dispute have faced criticism over their approach to advance their respective cases.Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei each contest China’s sweeping nine-dash line claim over the resource-rich waterway. Indonesia, while not a claimant, has also challenged Beijing’s efforts to fish in its waters, particularly in its economic exclusive zone off the coast of the Natuna Islands.The five countries are part of […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Montreal protesters denounce COVID-19 curfew as unscientific, harmful to vulnerable

By Morgan Lowrie
  • Unlike some previous protesters, the ones gathered on Sunday said they supported wearing masks and adopting other health measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, but are against the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in place in parts of the province.
  • A group of masked protesters marched through the streets of Montreal on Sunday to denounce a curfew that many described as unscientific and harmful to society’s most vulnerable.
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Tokyo eyeing new virus state of emergency as cases rise

  • The governor said on Sunday that she has instructed metropolitan government officials to respond to a renewed rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo with a sense of speed and with an eye to the possible request for a new emergency declaration.
  • Earlier this month, the central government put Tokyo and five prefectures under a coronavirus quasi-emergency to better tackle the surging number of cases.
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$3bn proposal to oust Packer from Crown

  • Mr Packer’s influence over the Crown board as majority shareholder has been scrutinised by a NSW probe into the casino that determined the company was not suitable to hold a gaming licence in the state because of evidence of mismanagement and money laundering.
  • An investment firm has pledged to fund a buyout of James Packer’s stake in Crown Resorts, potentially paving a way for the casino giant to obtain its Sydney gaming licence.
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How Hong Kong’s attempt to empower its district councils came to naught

By Alice Wu
It recently came to light that five more Hong Kong district councillors have skipped town.Two had said openly they would rather quit than take a new oath of allegiance to the city, but didn’t mention their intention to flee.Some reportedly left before tendering their resignations.When one is remunerated for public service one cannot or has no intention of rendering, it counts at the very least as dereliction of duty and betrayal of public trust. By nature, this is a matter of grave public […]Read more >Similar articles >

New virus cases back under 600 on fewer tests; potential upticks

By Yonhap
  • The country reported 532 more COVID-19 cases, including 512 local infections, raising the total caseload to 114,646, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
  • South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell back below 600 for the first time in six days Monday mainly due to fewer tests over the weekend amid growing concerns over the fourth wave of the pandemic.
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UEFA threatens to ban clubs that join breakaway Super League – Al Jazeera English

  • European football’s governing body UEFA has warned clubs linked to a breakaway Super League that they face being banned from domestic and international competitions if they set up a rival to the Champions League.
  • “The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams, UEFA said.
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It’s outdated and not funny, Hong Kong viewers tell TVB, after new variety show lampoons city leader Carrie Lam

By Cannix Yau,Kanis Leung
Hong Kong’s biggest broadcaster TVB has received a flood of complaints against its new variety show for lampooning the city’s leader and other prominent public figures.Critics put off by the show said the troubled station should resist relying on “low comedy” in trying to win back lost viewers and advertisers. The Communications Authority received about 250 complaints after the debut episode of Have a Big Laugh aired on April 11. Most found the show “tasteless” and insulting. It was one of TVB […]Read more >Similar articles >

Kings star Louzada NBA bound

  • Didi Louzada’s looming signing with the New Orleans Pelicans from the Sydney Kings will pave the way for more potential NBA players to join the NBL’s Next Stars program.
  • Didi Louzada will become the fourth NBL Next Star to progress to the NBA as his two-season stint with the Sydney Kings comes to an end.
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SMRT to distribute S’pore-made electric motorcycles

  • SINGAPORE - Electric motorcycle maker EuroSports Technologies has teamed up with SMRT-owned Strides Transportation to develop, market and supply smart electric motorbikes.
  • In an announcement to the Singapore Exchange on Monday (April 19), EuroSports Technologies said the two local companies have signed a memorandum of understanding which will see Strides appointed as the sole distributor of commercial electric motorcycles in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region.
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Federal Fisheries Minister ignored science advice on fish farms, judge rules

By Pratyush Dayal
  • A federal court judge has concluded that Canada’s Fisheries Minister acted against science advice from her department and ignored her own commitments when she made a decision that would devastate the business of some fish farms.
  • “This timing considers the lifecycle of the farmed salmon to allow for the grow out and harvest of fish that are currently in the production plans for the DI [Discovery Islands] area,” reads the memo.
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Zaitsev and Zub earn accolades as Senators discover long lost defensive presence

By Ken Warren
  • Led by the efforts of soft-spoken Russian defenders Nikita Zaitsev and Artem Zub, goaltender Matt Murray will be working off his first zero of the season — a 4-0 shutout of the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Saturday.
  • “His ability to be a plus player at this point in the season tells you just how hard he is to play against defensively,” said Senators coach D.J. Smith.
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U.S. Won’t Intervene in Fukushima Water Discharge

  • The U.S. climate envoy has said it is inappropriate for his country to intervene in Japan's plan to dump radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.
  • "Seoul expressed serious concerns and asked Washington to take an interest in the issue and cooperate, so that Tokyo will provide more transparent and prompt information to the international community," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
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Baby boom: Melbourne United celebrating new life

  • “We’ve got one of the best fathers in the league in David Barlow, not only does he give basketball advice, but he’s pretty good at questions asking about kids and how he manages things,” Vickerman said.
  • United’s next task Saturday is a fired up Adelaide 36ers side that knocked off South East Melbourne Phoenix at John Cain Arena on the weekend and could feature the return of Isaac Humphries after more than two months out with a foot injury.
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Coronavirus: airports get busy as Australia-New Zealand quarantine-free travel begins

By Reuters
Hundreds of passengers filled Australian airports on Monday as an open border system began with New Zealand, a pandemic milestone that allows Australian residents to fly there for the first time in more than a year without having to quarantine for two weeks.Though most Australian states have allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealand residents since late last year, New Zealand had enforced isolation for arrivals from its neighbour, citing concern about sporadic virus outbreaks there […]Read more >Similar articles >
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New UK challenge trial studies if people can catch coronavirus again

  • LONDON (REUTERS) - British scientists on Monday (April 19) launched a trial which will deliberately expose participants who have already had Covid-19 to the coronavirus again to examine immune responses and see if people get reinfected.
  • The study launched on Monday differs from the one announced in February as it seeks to reinfect people who have previously had Covid-19 in an effort to deepen understanding about immunity, rather than infecting people for the first time.
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Mars Helicopter Flight Test Promises Wright Brothers Moment for NASA

  • NASA hopes to score a 21st-century Wright Brothers moment on Monday as it attempts to send a miniature helicopter buzzing over the surface of Mars in what would be the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet.
  • NASA also expects to receive images and video of the flight that mission engineers hope to capture using cameras mounted on the helicopter and the Perseverance rover, which will be parked 250 feet (76 meters) away from Ingenuity’s flight zone.
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‘Wolf Willow speaks to how I live my life’

By Claire Young, Calgary Herald
  • With every trip to the southeast community being built by WestCreek Developments, they’d drive by the sales centre for Bow 360, a new two-building project by Cove Properties and the only condos currently selling in Wolf Willow.
  • Bow 360 is a new two-building project by Cove Properties in new southeast Calgary community
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Terror threat has ‘moved’ from Afghanistan, says Antony Blinken

  • WASHINGTON (AFP) - Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday (April 18) defended the US decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, saying the terror threat had moved elsewhere and that Washington needed to refocus resources on challenges such as China and the pandemic.
  • President Joe Biden announced last week that the United States would withdraw all forces from the country before this year's 20th anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks.
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Israel and Greece sign record defence deal – Al Jazeera English

  • The agreement includes a $1.65bn contract for the establishment and operation of a training centre for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems over a 22-year period, Israel’s defence ministry said on Sunday.
  • Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defence procurement deal, which Israel said would strengthen political and economic ties between the countries as the two countries’ air forces launched a joint exercise.
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Cambodia uses wedding halls for Covid-19 patients as cases surge

  • PHNOM PENH (REUTERS) - Cambodia began setting up thousands of hospital beds in two wedding party halls on Sunday (April 18) to cope with an influx of Covid-19 patients in a country that up until recently had largely managed to contain infections.
  • Cambodia also reported a daily record 618 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, its health ministry said, in a spike in infections following an outbreak first detected in late February.
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Argentina receives AstraZeneca jabs amid anti-lockdown protests – Al Jazeera English

  • Argentina has received a shipment of 864,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX global vaccination programme, the government said on Sunday, a day after demonstrations broke out against lockdown measures imposed in the Buenos Aires area.
  • A healthcare worker checks a patient suffering from COVID-19 in an intensive care unit of a hospital on the outskirts of Buenos Aires [Agustin Marcarian/Reuters] Waving Argentinian flags and shouting slogans against President Alberto Fernandez, many demonstrators raised opposition to a decision to suspend in-person schooling for 15 days, which comes into effect on Monday.
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Israel, Greece Sign Record Defense Deal

  • Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defense procurement deal, which Israel said Sunday would strengthen political and economic ties between the two countries as their air forces launched a joint exercise.
  • The agreement includes a US$1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems over 22 years, Israel's defense ministry said.
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‘No food in the fridge’: A gruelling Ramadan in Lebanon – Al Jazeera English

  • Yassin has dismissed tabloid speculation that Lebanon could witness a famine, but is still alarmed by the country’s food security crisis and said Lebanese households are likely to shift to a less nutritious and diverse diet, as many of the country’s 1.5 million Syrian refugees have been forced to do.
  • Beirut, Lebanon – For the past decade, Sawa For Development and Aid has been delivering evening iftar meals for about 4,000 families breaking the daily fast during Ramadan in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley.
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COVID-19: Talk but no penalties after consecutive nights of beach parties in Vancouver

By Matt Robinson
  • The Vancouver Police Department will be rethinking their approach to the policing of outdoor partying, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said Sunday morning, after back-to-back nights of raucous beach parties in the city went unchecked.
  • But officials face a big challenge in trying to keep people apart given the great weather and a common desire to socialize to help relieve worries and anxieties during the COVID-19 pandemic, said one psychologist.
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Ontario’s COVID crisis: ‘This scenario was entirely preventable’ – Al Jazeera English

  • Total coronavirus cases in Ontario were at 2,801 per 100,000 people as of April 17 [File: Carlos Osorio/Reuters] While the Canadian federal government is responsible for securing COVID-19 vaccines and making nationwide recommendations during the pandemic, healthcare is controlled at the provincial level in Canada, meaning that each province has put its own plan in place to tackle the virus.
  • Working tirelessly amid a recent surge of COVID-19 infections, which have quickly filled up intensive care units across the Canadian province, hospital staff are “dealing with immense trauma (and) moral injury” as they treat scores of coronavirus patients, said Dosani.
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French girl, 8, kidnapped in ‘military’ style operation, rescued in Switzerland

  • After a massive search, investigators found the girl, Mia, and her mother Lola Montemaggi in a squat inside an abandoned factory in the Swiss municipality of Sainte-Croix, French prosecutors said.
  • NANCY (France) (AFP) - An eight-year-old girl was rescued in Switzerland on Sunday (April 18), five days after being kidnapped from her grandmother's French home in a "military" style operation with the alleged involvement of her mother.
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With a 10 billion pesos investment, private sector will build the new Merida Airport

By Yucatan Times
  • The federal government lays the groundwork for awarding the contract for the construction and operation of a new airport in Mérida, which would replace the “Manuel Crescencio Rejón” terminal.
  • “We envision that in this same year the APP can be implemented and work on the new airport can begin, if everything goes as planned in the legal times,” he said.
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Canada’s Ontario to expand use of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as epidemic rages

  • On March 29, Health Canada said it would review reports of serious blood clots and bleeding in a small number of people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries, and an independent panel called the National Advisory Council on Immunisation (Naci) recommended that it only be given to people 55 and older.
  • TORONTO (REUTERS) - The Canadian province of Ontario will begin offering AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine to people turning 40 or older this year on Tuesday (April 20), according to a government source.
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Britain’s Prince Philip Laid to Rest at Windsor Castle

  • As military bands played and a procession of royals escorted his coffin to the church, Prince Philip was laid to rest Saturday in a funeral ceremony that honored his lifetime of service to the U.K., the crown and his wife of 73 years, Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Coronavirus restrictions meant that instead of the 800 mourners expected in the longstanding plans for Philip's funeral, only 30 people were allowed inside the castle's St. George's Chapel, including the queen, her four children and her eight grandchildren.
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‘Disappointed and disgusted’ – ex-Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Murphy on European Super League

  • That history, that tradition - all of those things that have grown since Liverpool Football Club formed in 1892 - would disappear if they joined this proposed breakaway European Super League and were banned from the Premier League.
  • I am retired now, but it will be the same for current Liverpool players, and all those at the other English clubs involved - United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham.
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Chinese physicist hunts for a ghost particle, undeterred by US-China friction

By Stephen Chen
Li Liang is chasing a ghost particle.For almost a decade, the professor of particle physics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University has given up every summer and winter break to join an international search for an unknown particle that will, in the best-case scenario, make Einstein turn in his grave.Li has had to travel frequently between China and the United States. The project, known as the Muon g-2 experiment, is based in the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) near Chicago. China […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Wildfire in Cape Town’s landmark Table Mountain threatens university

  • CAPE TOWN (REUTERS) - A wildfire on the slopes of South Africa's Table Mountain forced University of Cape Town students to evacuate on Sunday (April 18), as runaway flames set several campus buildings ablaze and firefighters used helicopters to water-bomb the area.
  • The university, ranked among the best on the continent, is largely built on the slopes of Devil's Peak and is situated close to where the fire started.
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Tom Pidcock misses out by narrowest margin at Amstel Gold as Wout van Aert pips Briton

By John MacLeary
  • Pidcock who in a recent interview with Telegraph Sport said he expected to win 'one or two' races in his first year, delivered on that promise by beating Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in a two-up sprint in Flanders at Brabantse Pijl, while Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) was third having lost contact in the final few hundred metres.
  • Having overhauled the powerful Van Aert in the finale of the 202-kilometre race, the Yorkshireman said he had been confident of taking the win.
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Russia expels 20 Czech diplomats after blast blamed on Skripal suspects

  • MOSCOW/PRAGUE (REUTERS) - Moscow expelled 20 Czech diplomats on Sunday (April 18) in a confrontation over Czech allegations that two Russian spies accused of a nerve agent poisoning in Britain in 2018 were behind an earlier explosion at a Czech ammunition depot that killed two people.
  • It called the expulsions "the continuation of a series of anti-Russian actions undertaken by the Czech Republic in recent years", accusing Prague of "striving to please the United States against the backdrop of recent US sanctions against Russia".
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Airports get busy as Australia-New Zealand quarantine-free travel begins

  • SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Hundreds of passengers thronged Australian airports on Monday (April 19) as an open border system began with New Zealand, a pandemic milestone that allows Australian residents to fly there for the first time in over a year without having to quarantine for two weeks.
  • The open border will help drive the economic recovery for both countries and reunite thousands with families and friends, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a joint statement.
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Cabin fever: Alberta’s rec property forecast to remain in high demand

By Claire Young, Calgary Herald
  • The province features a much higher aggregate price for a vacation home because Canmore is the primary driver of the niche market — among the most expensive recreational real estate markets in the nation, the report notes.
  • Alberta’s recreational real estate market is expected to have another banner year, further adding to the value of the province’s already pricey vacation home market, a new report predicts.
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Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says he has ‘no plan’ to meet his Indian counterpart in UAE

By Reuters
Pakistan’s foreign minister has welcomed mediation efforts by the United Arab Emirates between his country and India but told United Arab Emirates newspaper Khaleej Times that he was not planning to meet his Indian counterpart in the country.Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar are visiting the Gulf state at the same time.“I am here for a bilateral visit. I am not here for an India-specific agenda,” Qureshi told the newspaper, which […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Uefa says it will ban football clubs who take part in a ‘cynical and greedy’ European Super League

By Agence France-Presse
Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) and English, Spanish and Italian football authorities announced on Sunday that any clubs who take part in a so-called European Super League would be banned from all other domestic and continental competitions as the breakaway organisers were condemned as “cynical” and “greedy”.European football’s governing body said it had learned that some English, Spanish and Italian clubs might announce a breakaway competition.“The clubs concerned will be banned […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Daily Horoscope: April 19, 2021

By Annabel Gat
  • Communication planet Mercury and the sun enter Taurus today, illuminating the financial sector of your chart and finding you having intriguing discussions about money.
  • The moon in Cancer illuminates the communication sector of your chart and you’re having deep conversations as it opposes Pluto.
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Claude Monet painting from famed Water Lilies series to go under hammer for around £29m

  • Julian Dawes, from Sotheby's New York, said: "Claude Monet is among the most well-known and beloved artists of all time, and Le Bassin aux Nympheas represents a quintessential example from his celebrated and famed Water Lilies series.
  • A "monumental" painting by Claude Monet from his celebrated and famed Water Lilies series is to go on sale at auction in New York for around $40m (£29m).
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LILLEY: Trudeau budget should focus on defeating COVID

By Brian Lilley
  • The big question that her budget will answer is whether the Trudeau government is focused on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic or simply using it as an opportunity to reset the Canadian economy and society.
  • The federal government already fails to pay its agreed-to share of the provincial health-care systems, but sure, let’s have the feds start more national programs that they have no jurisdiction over, will not be running, and certainly won’t be paying for.
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Coronavirus: Canadian government to send support to virus-hit province of Ontario

By Agence France-Presse
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Sunday that the federal government will send resources and support to Ontario, the province battling a worrying spike in Covid-19 infections.Ottawa will mobilise health professionals from different federal departments and deploy them to Ontario, particularly the Toronto region, where “the situation is most critical,” Trudeau said in a video posted to Twitter.The government is also in discussion with multiple provinces, including Nova Scotia […]Read more >Similar articles >

‘What do they want from us?’ As Russian forces amass, a Ukraine frontier town feels fear and despair

By Oksana Grytsenko Marinka, Ukraine
  • The 90-year-old worries she will have to go back to hiding in her basement to escape shelling in the war between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbas region that recently entered its eighth year and has taken more than 13,000 lives.
  • Basova lives in Marinka, a small government-controlled town just 23km south-west of Donetsk, a stronghold of the separatists and 80km from the Russian border.
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Russia expels 20 Czech diplomats in retaliatory move – Al Jazeera English

  • Russia on Sunday expelled 20 Czech diplomats in retaliation for a slew of diplomatic expulsions by Prague and gave the affected Czech diplomats just over 24 hours to leave the country, the RIA news agency quoted the foreign ministry as saying.
  • A man carrying a NATO flag outside the Russian embassy in Prague [David W Cerny/Reuters] Czech police said they were seeking two Russians in connection with the 2014 blast that killed two people, and who carried passports used by suspects in the attempted poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in 2018.
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Federal budget likely to trigger political battles, but not an election

By Lee Berthiaume
  • Conservative finance critic Ed Fast wrote Freeland last week reiterating his party’s demands the government present a plan for reopening the economy that includes supporting small businesses while keeping spending under control and not raising taxes.
  • The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery amid the pandemic’s escalating third wave.
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Tears and celebration as first Australian quarantine-free flight takes off for New Zealand

  • "Today's milestone is a win-win for Australians and New Zealanders, boosting our economies while keeping our people safe and just in time for Anzac Day," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.
  • All people residing in Australia or New Zealand, including foreign nationals, can use quarantine-free travel, as long as they meet the health, immigration and other standard border clearance requirements in each country.
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Renan Barrera promotes responsible pet ownership in Merida

By Yucatan Times
  • As part of his commitment to continue promoting the protection of companion animals, the PAN candidate for mayor of Mérida, Renán Barrera Concha, met this afternoon with two groups that promote the responsible ownership of these animals.
  • The president of the Cinco Patas association, Gabriela Romero Solís, said that Renán Barrera has always been a mayor who has been concerned about the issue of companion animals, so she said she hopes that on June 6, he will be the winner of the electoral contest.
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Myanmar shadow gov’t demands invite for ASEAN summit talks – Al Jazeera English

  • Myanmar’s shadow government has urged Southeast Asian leaders to give it a seat at the table during crisis talks next week, and not to recognise the military rulers that seized power in a February coup.
  • Earlier unrest continued across the country on Sunday, with protesters rallying in Mandalay, Meiktila, Magway and Myingyan, showing support for the national unity government.
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Monster wind farms are about to get bigger

By Dave Makichuk
  • In the years since, other big players in the sector such as Vestas and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) have rolled out designs for similarly huge turbines, CNBC reported.
  • According to a recent report from the Global Wind Energy Council, the sector installed 93 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity in 2020, a record figure which represents a year-on-year jump of more than 50%, CNBC reported .
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German Greens take conservative approach to chancellor race

By Matthew Karnitschnig
  • The party’s co-leaders — Annalena Baerbock, a 40-year-old former aide to an MEP from the east German state of Brandenburg, and Robert Habeck, a 51-year old children’s book author from the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein — said weeks ago they would deliberate over which half of their duo should run and disclose the choice on Monday.
  • For a party that has long propagated women’s rights, a female candidate is a natural choice, all the more so when she is a political talent like Baerbock, who has risen from obscurity over the past three years to become a household name.
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Australia news live: New Zealand travel bubble opens; national cabinet meets over Covid vaccine

By Matilda Boseley
  • The travel bubble is officially open and Australians are once again able to cross the Tasman quarantine-free after more than a year of tight border restrictions, and dedicated Guardian reporter Michael McGowan has taken one for the team and hopped on the first plane out of Australia!
  • By the time you read this I’ll be on my way to Auckland, New Zealand, onboard Jetstar flight JQ201 - the first plane to depart Australia as part of the two-way travel bubble established between the two countries.
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