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Tales from the crypt: Washington National Cathedral digs up 5,000 respirator masks

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With respirator face masks in short supply, the Washington National Cathedral dug deep underground to find its long forgotten stash — in its crypt.

The massive Neo-Gothic cathedral in the US capital said Wednesday that 5,000 masks purchased more than a decade ago had been forgotten in its crypt level deep below its nine separate chapels.

As US health officials sounded the alarm over the shortage of masks during the coronavirus pandemic, some staff noticed the stockpile set aside for priests.

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“The masks were purchased more than a decade ago following a previous health scare,” the cathedral said in a statement.

“They were meant to allow clergy to provide pastoral care without putting their own health at risk.”

It said that after checking to be certain they were still safe to use, 13 boxes containing 3,000 masks were being donated to Georgetown University Hospital, and nine more boxes with 2,000 masks were going to Children’s National Hospital, both in Washington.

A few masks will be held on to for the cathedral clergy, just in case, it added.

Photo: Washington National Cathedral Eva Hambach/AFP

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This Europe country is housing quarantined coronavirus patients in a five-star hotel

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An ambulance driver wearing a white protective gown enters a Barcelona hotel and announces the arrival of three new "customers" -- a trio of coronavirus patients discharged from hospital into luxury quarantine.

"Good morning! How are you? My name is Enrique Aranda and I am probably the first non health care worker you see in several days," says the director of the five-star Melia Sarria hotel, peering into the ambulance.

It took just three days to convert the hotel, which features contemporary decor and bathrooms with marble finishing, into a clinic.

"Some patients arrive thinking that they were taken out of hospital to be left to die, many people are frightened. I try to make them forget all that," said Aranda, wearing mask and gloves.

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UK Labour to unveil new leader to replace Jeremy Corbyn

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Britain's main opposition Labour party on Saturday unveils a new leader who will take the helm of a defeated and divided party in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Keir Starmer, a former director of state prosecutions and Labour's Brexit spokesman, is the runaway favourite to win the ballot of around 500,000 party members and succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

The announcement will be a low-key affair, with a planned special conference cancelled due to restrictions on social gatherings imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Instead, the result will be put out in a press release mid-morning -- and candidates have been asked to pre-record their victory speeches.

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‘Trump fires people for telling the truth’: President blasted for ‘dead of night decision’ to fire intel watchdog

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President Donald Trump was harshly criticized on Friday for firing intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

House Intel Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Senate Intel Ranking Member Mark Warner (D-VA) were among the lawmakers who took to Twitter to criticize Trump on his favorite social media platform.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's decision:

Trump’s dead of night decision to fire ICIG Michael Atkinson is another blatant attempt to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing.

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