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Reopening of Saint Peter’s marks first step for Italy’s Catholics

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Rome (AFP) – Saint Peter’s Basilica throws its doors open to visitors on Monday, marking a relative return to normality at the Vatican and beyond in Italy, where most business activity is set to resume.Public masses also resume throughout the predominantly Catholic country after a two-month hiatus, while restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and hairdressers, among other businesses, are all expected to reopen.In the face of much opposition, including from Pope Francis, churches in Rome were shuttered at the beginning of the coronavirus emergency in early March.Most, however, opened shortly thereafte…

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COVID-19

‘No benefit’ from hydroxychloroquine for virus: UK trial

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A major British clinical trial has found hydroxychloroquine has "no benefit" for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, scientists said Friday, in the first large-scale study to provide results for a drug at the centre of political and scientific controversy.

Hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria and rheumatoid arthritis drug, has been touted as a possible treatment for the new coronavirus by high profile figures, including US President Donald Trump, and has been included in several randomized clinical trials.

The University of Oxford's Recovery trial, the biggest of these so far to come forward with findings, said that it would now stop recruiting patients to be given hydroxychloroquine "with immediate effect".

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COVID-19

France’s Versailles to re-open Saturday after COVID-19 lockdown ease

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France's sumptuous Palace of Versailles, built in the 17th century by the "Sun King" Louis XIV, throws its doors open to the public again on Saturday but with little certainty over when tourists will return as lockdown curbs are slowly eased.

Workers on Friday dusted the Hall of Mirrors and polished its gilded statues ahead of the reopening, which will see visitors required to wear face masks and follow a one-way route through the opulent 2,300-room complex.

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Cate Blanchett in chainsaw accident at UK home

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Double Oscar winner Cate Blanchett has revealed she had a lucky escape after suffering a cut to the head following a chainsaw accident at her home in southern England.

The Hollywood actor shared details about the near-miss while talking last week to former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard on the ex-leader's podcast as they discussed coronavirus lockdowns.

"I'm fine. I had a bit of a chainsaw accident yesterday, which sounds very, very exciting, but it wasn't," said Blanchett.

"Apart from the little nick to the head, I'm fine."

Gillard, who was the Australian PM from 2010 until 2013, responded: "Be very careful with that chainsaw. You've got a very famous head, I don't think people would like to see any nicks taken out of it."

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