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Macron sworn in as youngest French President

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Paris, May 14, 2017: Independent-centrist and former investment banker Emmanuel Macron was sworn in on Sunday as the 25th French President and the youngest in the nation’s history.

Laurent Fabius, President of the Constitutional Council, presided the ceremony at the Elysee Palace here, the BBC reported.

“In order to be the man of one’s country, one must be the man of your time… By the sovereign choice of the people, you are now, above all … the man of our country … President of the Republic,” Fabius said while proclaiming Macron, 39, as the President.

Macron’s wife Brigitte Trogneux, wearing a powder blue skirt suit, an outfit similar to what US First Lady Melania Trump wore during her husband President Donald Trump’s swearing-in in January, entered the Palace ahead of Macron.

The former Economy Minister, who worsted far-Right National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential run-off, opened his term with talk of a new renaissance.

“The world needs what the French have always taught. For decades France has doubted herself.”

But the world and Europe need France more than ever now, he said.

“My mandate will give the French back the confidence to believe in themselves.”

He said he would convince the people that “the power of France is not declining – that we are on the brink of a great renaissance”.

Macron in his speech, also paid tributes to former Presidents from Charles de Gaulle to Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, reports the BBC.

He said he would count on the people to “deal with deep change”.

“From this very evening I will be at work. Long live the Republic and long live France.”

Macron becomes the youngest president in France’s history and the youngest leader since Napoleon Bonaparte was elected in 1848 at age 40.

Macron arrived at the Elysee Palace earlier and walked down a red carpet. He was greeted by Hollande.

He will be naming a Prime Minister and a full Cabinet by Wednesday.

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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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