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Six French tourists among eight killed by gunmen in Niger

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PARIS, Aug 9 : Six French tourists were among a group of eight people killed by gunmen in Niger, AFP reported on Sunday, citing a local governor.

Eight people including six French and two Nigeriens were killed Sunday by armed men who came on motorcycles in the Kouré area in Niger, which is home to the last herds of West African giraffes, an official source has learned. .

“There are eight dead: two Nigeriens including a (tourist) guide and a driver, the other six are French,” Tillabéri governor Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella told AFP.

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France to ban use of wild animals in circuses

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France’s environment minister has announced a gradual ban on using wild animals in travelling circuses, on keeping dolphins and killer whales in captivity in marine parks and on raising mink on fur farms.

Barbara Pompili, France’s minister of ecological transition, said in a news conference Tuesday that bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals won’t be allowed any more in travelling circuses “in the coming years.” In addition, starting immediately, France’s three marine parks won’t be able to bring in nor breed dolphins and killer whales any more, she said.

“It is time to open a new era in our relationship with these (wild) animals,” she said, arguing that animal welfare is a priority.

Pompili said the measures will also bring an end to mink farming, where animals are raised for their fur, within the next five years.

The ban does not apply to wild animals in other permanent shows and in zoos.

Pompili did not set any precise date for the ban in travelling circuses, saying the process should start “as soon as possible.” She promised solutions will be found for each animal “on a case-by-case basis.” The French government will implement an 8 million-euro ($9.2 million) package to help people working in circuses and marine parks find other jobs.

“That transition will be spread over several years, because it will change the lives of many people,” she said.

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Karachi witnesses surge in Covid-19 cases

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Islamabad, Sep 30 (IANS) Karachi has witnessed another spike in Covid-19 infections, with the National Command and Operations Center reporting that 365 out of 747 new cases recorded were detected in the metropolis.

The unusual spike caught the attention of the national decision-making body and a meeting early on Wednesday discussed appropriate measures to contain the spike in cases, geotv reported.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Faisal Sultan reportedly emphasised a smart lockdown, contact tracing and a strict adherence to health protocols.

Meanwhile, Secretary Health Sindh apprised the forum that the administration is monitoring the situation and appropriate administrative actions will be taken after taking into account disease prevalence in consultation with all stakeholders.

On Tuesday, Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab warned people to practice caution as coronavirus numbers are rising.

Pakistan has started easing coronavirus curbs after infections in the country began to decline, according to government officials. The country’s phase-wise reopening of educational institutions will also conclude on Wednesday.

–IANS

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Disney to cut 28,000 US theme park employees amid downturn

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For six months, Disney has kept tens of thousands of theme park workers on furlough with full health-care benefits in hopes that a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel would appear. On Tuesday, Disney conceded that none was coming.

The company said it would eliminate 28,000 theme park jobs in the United States, or about 25 percent of its domestic resort work force.

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of Covid-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic,” Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in an email to “cast members,” which is how Disney refers to theme park workers.

About 67 percent of the layoffs will involve part-time jobs that pay by the hour. However, executives and salaried workers will be among the laid off. Disney’s theme parks in California and Florida employed roughly 110,000 before the pandemic. The job cuts, which will come from both resorts, will reduce that number to about 82,000.

Disneyland in California has remained closed because Governor Gavin Newsom has refused to allow theme parks in the state to restart operations. About 31,000 people work at the Disneyland complex and the majority are unionized and have been furloughed.

Mr. D’Amaro said in a statement that the layoffs were “exacerbated in California by the state’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.”

Walt Disney World in Florida reopened on a limited basis in mid-July. But attendance has been weaker than Disney expected, with concern about coronavirus safety a major factor.

Disney will now begin negotiations with unions that represent the bulk of the affected employees. About 20,000 unionized Disney workers have been called back to work at Disney World. Roughly 20,000 more remain on furlough, a stoppage that began in mid-April. Disney World employed more than 70,000 workers before the pandemic.

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