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Virus curfew to be lifted in Australia as global deaths near a million

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Melbourne (AFP) – An overnight curfew in Australia’s second-largest city will be lifted this week, officials said Sunday, even as the global coronavirus toll inched towards one million dead.Despite the number of infections worldwide passing 32 million — with the US state of New York reporting a fresh spike — more than 10,000 anti-lockdown protesters demonstrated in central London ahead of the re-imposition of restrictions there.In more positive news, residents of the Chinese city of Wuhan — where the virus emerged last year — reported a hesitant return to normalcy, while the French Open go…

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Galapagos sees record rise in penguins, flightless cormorants

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The population of Galapagos penguins and flightless cormorants, two species endemic to the islands, has seen a record increase, study results released Friday showed.The Galapagos penguin is one of the smallest species of penguins in the world, measuring up to 35 centimeters, and the cormorants on the islands are the only type to have lost their ability to fly -- but they have developed diving skills."The number of cormorants has reached a record number, according to historical data dating back to 1977, while the number of penguins is at the highest since 2006," said a statement from the Galapa... (more…)

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Police make arrests after thousands protest restrictions in London

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Police in London made several arrests on Saturday after thousands of people took to the streets to protest the British government's coronavirus restrictions.Participants started their march from Hyde Park, many carrying banners and posters, calling for an end to mask-wearing requirements and describing the current measures as amounting to tyranny and state surveillance.Some claimed that the pandemic is a hoax.Police did not provide any information about the numbers, but Britain's PA news agency and the Guardian newspaper both said thousands attended the rally.Armed police officers later disper... (more…)

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As Pompeo campaigns against China, a growing welcome in India

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When the United States tried to seal a defense deal seven years ago with the Maldives, a sprawling and strategic archipelago, its plans were quietly torpedoed by a friend -- India, which considers the Indian Ocean its sphere of influence.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit the Maldives this week after top-level talks in India -- which offered open support when the Pentagon finally went ahead with a defense pact with the island nation in September.

What brought about the change, analysts say, is a deepening concern in New Delhi about China, which engaged in a deadly border clash with India this year and has been ramping up influence around South Asia, including in the Maldives.

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