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Rio de Janeiro lights up world’s tallest floating Christmas tree

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Rio de Janeiro: The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro has lit up its traditional floating Christmas tree – one of the biggest of its kind in the world – with musical shows and fireworks, marking the beginning of the December festivities.

The impressive metallic structure, standing 230 feet tall, was illuminated on Saturday with multicoloured lights above the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, one of the most iconic places in all of the southern region of Rio de Janeiro, reports Efe news.

The lights were accompanied by a musical show and fireworks that went on for seven minutes, as hundreds of spectators gathered to witness the inauguration.

With a height equivalent to a 24-storey building, the towering Christmas tree stands atop 11 platforms to float on the water. More than 900,000 LED light bulbs provide it with its distinct, shimmering glow.

Different combinations of lights allows the tree to show eight different patterns.

The huge floating Christmas tree, one of the major attractions of the city this time of the year, was set up for the first time in 1996.

However, after being damaged in a storm in 2015, it remained dark in 2016 and 2017 due to the economic crisis that had ravaged the city’s coffers. To this day, Rio is yet to completely recover from that crisis.

The Christmas attraction was lit up once again in December 2018 – despite being 15 metre shorter than its predecessor – thus resuming the city’s decades-old tradition. The tree will remain lit until January 6, 2020.

Disaster

US patient receives $840,000 bill for COVID-19 treatment

“It’s scary. I don’t care how much you have covered. It’s scary to see that kind of number and not really know.”

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US Dollar

Washington, May 31 : A high school teacher from the US state of Colorado was shocked to receive a medical bill of $840,000 for his treatment for COVID-19, local media reported.

The bill received by Robert Dennis, a Centennial High School teacher, covered Dennis’ time at Denver’s Sky Ridge hospital, where he was put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit for two weeks, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, what was not included was Dennis’ three weeks at Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital, or his wife’s trips to the emergency room when she was also fighting the virus.

The couple estimated that their total bills would top $1.5 million.

The couple had insurance and they planned to call to make sure that they were covered.

“Seeing that number yesterday for the first bill, it took your breath away again,” the wife said.

“It’s scary. I don’t care how much you have covered. It’s scary to see that kind of number and not really know.”

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Lifestyle

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque reopens after 2 months

The Al-Aqsa mosque is part of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound, which is one of Islam’s holiest sites and the holiest site in Judaism.

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Masjid Al Aqsa

Jerusalem, May 31 : After remaining closed for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the compound of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, which is the third-holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, started welcoming worshippers from Sunday again.

Hundreds of people, many of whom wore protective masks, chanted “god is great” as they stood at the mosque’s wooden doors, while some kissed the ground, reports the BBC.

They were then greeted by mosque director Omar al-Kiswani, who thanked them for being patient.

The compound also houses the Dome of the Rock.

Prayers will be held in the open in marked sections, each holding up to 50 people, reports The Times of Israel.

The Al-Aqsa mosque is part of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound, which is one of Islam’s holiest sites and the holiest site in Judaism.

The site is a source of religious and political tension between Israelis and Palestinians and a frequent flashpoint for violence.

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Entertainment

Kendrick Sampson hit by rubber bullet at Los Angeles protest

In one video, LAPD officers can be seen firing rubber bullets to try and regain control at Pan Pacific Park.

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KENDRICK SAMPSON

Los Angeles, May 31 : “Insecure” actor Kendrick Sampson says he was hit by rubber bullets and even a police officer’s baton while protesting in California.

The “Vampire Diaries” star took to Instagram to show videos from marches in the Los Angeles area, reports usatoday.com.

“They’re gonna arrest all of us,” Sampson said in one video clip, adding: “Just to let y’all know, they’re telling us to disburse, but they boxed us in.”

The protests stemmed from the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

In one video, LAPD officers can be seen firing rubber bullets to try and regain control at Pan Pacific Park.

“They shot me four times already. I already got hurt and I got hit with a baton,” Sampson said on Instagram.

Another video showed the actor backing away from the police, as he appeared to be hit by an officer’s baton, reports deadline.com.

aceY’all ain’t see no police f***ing up white folks when they took guns to the statehouse,” he said, while referring to an incident in Michigan over coronavirus restrictions, not in California.

“Ya all didn’t see police attacking white folks, beating em up with batons, shooting them with rubber bullets when they brought guns to f***ing state houses. We came up here with no weapons, with masks.a And we’re the ones who are not peaceful,” he added.

The actor also tagged “Black lives matter supporters”, and tweeted for elected officials to “defund police”, citing brutality in multiple cities across the US.

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