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First Lady Melania Trump touches down in Africa for diplomatic and humanitarian visit

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Melania Trump on Tuesday arrived in Ghana on the first leg of her maiden, solo tour of Africa that has been billed as a chance to carve her own diplomatic path.

The US first lady stepped off an overnight flight from Andrews Airforce Base near Washington and onto a red carpet at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport.

She was met by her Ghanaian counterpart Rebecca Akufo-Addo and a group of local schoolchildren in yellow and brown uniforms waving the US stars and stripes and the Ghanaian flag.

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An AFP reporter at the airport said the former model was smiling and looked relaxed as she was entertained by a troupe of traditional drummers and dancers.

The first lady’s office has said the tour will be a “diplomatic and humanitarian visit” that will focus on her #BeBest campaign for “children and their well-being”.

It will also “showcase” the work of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), even at a time when her husband’s government is looking to slash US aid across the world.

In addition to Ghana, she is due to visit Malawi, Kenya and Egypt before returning to Washington early on October 7.


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Jazz great Ellis Marsalis dies aged 85 after virus ‘complications’

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Jazz great Ellis Marsalis died Wednesday at the age of 85 after contracting the coronavirus, his son Branford said.

The acclaimed American pianist and teacher -- who featured on dozens of records over a musical career spanning several decades -- was the father of trumpeter Wynton and saxophonist Branford.

"It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Ellis Marsalis Jr., as a result of complications from the coronavirus," Branford said in a statement published on his website, adding he was admitted to hospital on Saturday.

"My dad was a giant of a musician and teacher, but an even greater father," Branford said. "He poured everything he had into making us the best of what we could be."

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North Korea insists it is free of coronavirus

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North Korea remains totally free of the coronavirus, a senior health official in Pyongyang has insisted, despite mounting scepticism overseas as confirmed global infections near one million.

The already isolated, nuclear-armed North quickly shut down its borders in January after the virus was first detected in neighbouring China, and imposed strict containment measures.

Pak Myong Su, director of the anti-epidemic department of the North's Central Emergency Anti-epidemic Headquarters, insisted that the efforts had been completely successful.

"Not one single person has been infected with the novel coronavirus in our country so far," Pak told AFP.

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COVID-19

What we need to understand about asymptomatic carriers if we’re going to beat coronavirus

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In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., around the last week of February, I joked to a colleague that maybe now, finally, people would learn how to wash their hands properly. My remark revealed a naive assumption I had at the time, which was that all we needed to do to keep the novel coronavirus contained was follow a few simple guidelines: stay home when symptomatic and maintain good personal hygiene. The problem, I thought, was that nobody was following the rules.

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