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Leaders to mark 100 years of World War I end

Macron, who will deliver a speech in front of the assembled dignitaries, will later host a peace forum at which German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives the opening address.

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Emmanuel Macron

Paris, Nov 11 (IANS) A hundred years to the day since the guns fell silent, marking the end of World War I, dozens of world leaders will take part on Sunday in a solemn ceremony in France to remember the many who gave their lives between 1914 and 1918.

French President Emmanuel Macron will lead the international Armistice Day commemorations Sunday morning by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which lies at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, reports CNN.

As part of the ceremony, eight French high school students will read testimonies written by soldiers fighting on the Western Front in 1918, a Chinese worker serving in Normandy and a young French woman.

Classical musicians will play pieces by Bach and Ravel and award-winning singer Angelique Kidjo will perform a Togolese song celebrating unity.

Macron, who will deliver a speech in front of the assembled dignitaries, will later host a peace forum at which German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives the opening address.

Sunday’s remembrances are the culmination of four years of commemorative events to mark one of the most tumultuous periods of the 20th Century.

Millions of soldiers and civilians lost their lives in what became known as the Great War, and as many more were injured.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are among those in Paris for the commemorations, which coincide with Veterans Day in the US. Some 117,000 American military personnel died in World War I.

The centenary of the Armistice is also being marked elsewhere in Europe.

In Britain, Queen Elizabeth II is expected to attend a wreath-laying ceremony on Sunday at the Cenotaph in central London.

The royal family, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will attend a national service of remembrance at Westminster Abbey.

Meanwhile, events were also underway in Australia and Hong Kong to mark this day, Efe news reported.

Veterans and citizens gathered at various Remembrance Day events, in which commemorative wreaths and red poppies, the symbol of First World War remembrance for Commonwealth nations, were displayed on monuments and at cemeteries.

More than 60,000 Australians died during the four-year conflict, one of the deadliest in history. Approximately 37 million soldiers and civilians perished during the war.

In Hong Kong, a former British territory, hundreds of people gathered to observe two minutes of silence at the Cenotaph war memorial.

The first World War lasted from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918.

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

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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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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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