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‘Brexit talks to start as scheduled despite losing parliamentary majority’

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Theresa May

Paris, June 14, 2017: Visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday said that talks to launch procedures of Britain’s divorce from the European Union will start as scheduled next week.

In a joint press meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, May stressed that the “timetable has not changed and negotiations will begin next week,” dismissing fears of a possible delay in Brexit talks after she lost parliamentary majority in a snap general election.

“We will find an agreement that is both in the interest of the United Kingdom but also of the 27 countries that will remain in the European Union,” Xinhua quoted May as saying.

For his turn, Macron wished “negotiations on the exit from the European Union and then on the future relations with the United Kingdom will start as soon as possible.”

“The door of course is still open as long as Brexit negotiations have not been concluded,” he said.

“But, let us be clear and organised and once the negotiations have started we should be well aware that it’ll be more difficult to move backwards,” he noted.

Talks for a new relationship between London and Brussels will start on June 19.

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UK COVID-19 deaths rise to 36,793 as another 118 patients die

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Africa Coronavirus Case

London, May 25 (IANS) Another 118 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Saturday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 36,793, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community, Xinhua reported.

Chairing Sunday’s Downing Street daily press briefing, Johnson confirmed that primary schools in England will partially reopen from June 1, including the reception, year one, and year six in primary schools.

He added that he intends for secondary schools to provide “some contact” for year 10 and year 12 students to help them to prepare for exams next year from June 15.

“By opening schools to more pupils in this limited way we are taking a deliberate cautious step,” he told reporters, noting that the government “wants to start getting our children back into the classroom in a way that is as manageable and as safe as possible.”

Acknowledging that a June 1 opening may not be possible for all schools, Johnson said the government will continue to support and work with the sector.

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COVID-19: Bournemouth confirm one positive case

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Coronavirus

London, May 24 (IANS) Premier League side Bournemouth has confirmed that an unnamed player is one of the two new coronavirus positive cases discovered by the latest round of tests.

“AFC Bournemouth can confirm that one of its players has tested positive for COVID-19, following the club”s second round of testing,” a statement on the club”s website, afcb.co.uk, said.

“Medical confidentiality means the player”s name will not be disclosed, and the club asks for this to be respected.

“In line with Premier League protocols regarding positive tests, he will self-isolate for a period of seven days before being tested again at a later date.

“Following strict adherence of the Premier League”s return to training regulations, the club”s training ground remains a safe working environment for players and backroom staff, who will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice per week,” it added.

Earlier, the Premier League had confirmed two more positive cases of COVID-19 in the second round of testing.

The Premier League said that 996 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

The clubs have been allowed to start small-group training from Tuesday after the top flight football league in England was suspended on March 13 due to coronavirus outbreak. The overall total count of positive results is now eight in the league.

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Iran celebrates Eid amid social distancing

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Tehran, May 24 (IANS) Iranians held massive collective prayers on Sunday to celebrate Eid, amid social distancing measures including masks and gloves due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Group prayers had been cancelled in the country for almost three months, although this restriction was recently lifted in low-risk areas and for special ceremonies, reports Efe news.

The faithful were also allowed to visit mosques on three important dates during the month of Ramzan, following sanitary protocols imposed by the authorities.

Those who went to religious centres to celebrate Eid wore masks and gloves and placed their prayer mats at a minimum distance from each other to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Bagh-e-Feyz mosque in Tehran, happy to be able to participate in collective prayer again after so long.

Some were still fearful of the contagion and not all the city”s mosques held ceremonies, notably including the Grand Mosalla mosque which cancelled prayers which would have been led by Iran”s supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

Prayers at Bagh-e-Feyz were held outdoors in a large street in front of the building, something that is customary during Eid celebrations every year to accommodate the huge crowds that gather.

Iran, a former COVID-19 hotspot, has recorded more than 7,300 deaths and 133,000 infections, out of a population of almost 82 million.

Despite the fact that new daily infections remain high, another 1,869 cases were detected on Saturday, Iranian authorities have said the disease is contained and have eased a large part of the restrictions imposed.

Religious and cultural centres will reopen throughout the country after Eid celebrations, although with time limitations in a bid to avoid a resurgence of infections.

Museums, historical buildings and tourist sites have also reopened and all workers must return to their jobs from Saturday.

President Hassan Rouhani announced the reopening in a televised statement on Saturday. He said last week that restaurants would reopen and sporting events resume after Ramzan.

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