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Israel in dispute with US days before Trump’s first visit

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Jerusalem, May 17 : A dispute erupted on Tuesday between Israel and the US over comments by US officials describing the in east Jerusalem’s Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, as part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The row erupted a few days before the first official visit of US President Donald Trump to the region, Xinhua reported.

During a tour to prepare the visit, US diplomats reportedly told Israeli officials that Trump’s visit to the Western Wall would be private since Israel has no jurisdiction in the area, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 2 TV news.

The diplomats also told the Israelis that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not welcome to join Trump there, Channel 2 reported.

The site resides in annexed East Jerusalem, which Israel seized from Jordan in 1967.

On Tuesday, local media reported that Israel demanded the US to provide explanations for the remarks. “The statement that the Western Wall is in an area in the West Bank was received with shock,” an official told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

Israeli officials appear to be increasingly concerned over Trump visit, during which he is expected to attempt to revive the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The last round of talks reached an impasse in April 2014.

Trump voiced pro-Israeli positions during his presidential campaign. He expressed support for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and seemed inclined to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. Shortly later, it annexed the territory claiming it as part of its “indivisible” capital. The move has never been internationally recognized.

Disaster

Coronavirus information – Spain suffers its deadliest day

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According to government figures, 832 people died in Spain in the past 24 hours after contracting coronavirus, taking the total to 5,690 — a 17 per cent daily increase. The country has the second highest number of deaths in the world after Italy.

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But confirmed cases of Covid-19 rose at a lower rate than in recent days, reaching 72,248, a 13 per cent increase on Friday’s totals.

This compares with daily increases of 25 per cent or more at previous high points in the outbreak. The total number of people who have needed intensive care rose 10 per cent to 4,575, while the number of people who have recovered surged more than 30 per cent to 12,285.

Spanish government officials expressed hope that coming days will mark the peak of the spread of coronavirus, while cautioning that the peak in the deaths is likely to come later.

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Adviser runs out after UK PM tests COVID-19 positive

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London, March 28 (IANS) Dominic Cummings, a senior adviser to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was seen running out of Downing Street after the latter announced that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, it was reported.

In a clip widely shared on social media, Cummings was seen running out of the back gate of Downing Street carrying a bag, the London-based Metro newspaper said in a report on Friday.

The camera zooms in on Cummings’ face as he looks away from the press and then makes a swift exit clutching the bag.

Cummings, seen as the Prime Minister’s key aide, was reported to have been behind the government’s initial strategy of “herd immunity”, to deal with the pandemic, the report further said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Johnson announced that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus but would continue to discharge his duties from self-isolation.

He became the second high-profile British leader to test positive for coronavirus in recent days after Prince Charles, the heir to the the throne.

Some ministers in the Johnson government and MPs have also tested positive for COVID-19, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock whose announcement came shortly after the Prime Minister’s.The UK has so far reported 14,751 confirmed coronavirus cases with 761 deaths.

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32,000 COVID-19 cases in France, nearly 2,000 deaths

“The epidemic continues to worsen. The entire hospital establishments in the country, public and private, are mobilized,” said Salomon, adding that 576 of them now receive COVID-19 patients.

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Paris, March 28 : The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in France has risen by 13 per cent within a day to reach a total of 32,964 as of Friday, the 11th day of national lockdown imposed to contain the outbreak, Health General Director Jerome Salomon said.

A total of 1,995 people had died, an increase of 299 from Thursday, Salomon added in an update, reported Xinhua news agency.

Further 1,828 people diagnosed with the COIVD-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, had received treatment in hospitals in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of hospitalized patients to 15,732. That included 3,787 serious cases, a daily jump of 472.

Some 5,700 infected people were recovered, up from 4,948 reported a day ago.

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