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Sri Lanka Bombings: Death Toll Rises To 321, Police Detain Syrian In Investigation Of Blasts

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The Easter Sunday attacks death toll had risen to 321 people including 38 foreigners and about 500 people were also wounded. The Sri Lanka’s minister of state for defence has told the country’s parliament the attacks were a response to the mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch in March.

Ruwan Wijewardene told a special sitting of the national body on Tuesday afternoon that investigations had shown “this attack was carried out in response to the Christchurch attack on Muslims”, he said.

Police said the number of people arrested since Sunday had risen to 40, most of them Sri Lankans. The investigation of those detainees had led to the arrest of a Syrian, government and military sources told Reuters.

Officials said the attacks were carried out by at least seven suicide bombers on three churches and four hotels and no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet even though the focus of suspicion is falling on Islamist militants with links to foreign groups. U.S. intelligence sources said the attacks bore some of the hallmarks of the Islamic State extremist group.

Most of the dead and wounded were Sri Lankans, although government officials said 38 foreigners were killed. That included British, U.S., Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals.

World News

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Resigns As Political Crisis Escalates

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Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned, amid the country’s deepening political crisis, and division among political parties over spending in the coronavirus crisis which has claimed more than 85,000 Italian lives.

Conte, a law professor, who has headed coalition governments since 2018, tendered his resignation to the president and is now discussing the political crisis with senate president, Elisabetta Casellati.

President Mattarella is expected to spend at least two days in talks with party leaders on the next move.

The centrist coalition government was plunged into crisis two weeks ago, when former prime minister Matteo Renzi pulled his small, liberal Italia viva party out of it.  He said his party would rejoin the coalition if Conte accepted a list of demands.

Renzi says EU funds should be invested in promising sectors like digital and green technologies, and wants MPs, rather than technocrats, to decide on the allocations. But he also wants more investment in the country’s embattled health service.  He had governed Italy from 2014 to 2016.

Conte survived a vote of confidence in the lower house, the chamber of deputies, last week. He then won a senate vote, but not an absolute majority.

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Health News

Global Number Of COVID Cases Surpasses 100 Million

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According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has passed 100 million in just over a year since the first cases of the then ‘mysterious’ new illness were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

More than 2.1 million persons around the world have died from COVID-19, and more than 55 million persons have recovered from the disease.

During the past 12 months, the pandemic has forced governments to order shutdowns, curfews, travel bans and other public health restrictions to try and stem the spread of infections. Economies have been hard hit and inequalities of all types have been exacerbated.

The United States with the highest number of cases and fatalities globally has recorded 5.3 million cases – approximately one-quarter of the global total and more than 424,000 deaths.

With 217,000 fatalities, Brazil has the second-highest death toll and has confirmed more than 8.8 million cases.

India has confirmed the second-highest total number of cases in the world, with more than 10.6 million infections reported. More than 153,000 persons have died from the virus there.

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Health News

Moderna Begins Work On Booster To Protect Against South African Variant

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Pharmaceutical company, Moderna, said on Monday, it is working on a vaccine to address coronavirus situation in South Africa, and the new mutated variant there. Moderna plans to start clinical trials of an altered booster version of its covid-19 vaccine to treat the South African variant after tests showed its approved-vaccine may produce a diminished antibody response.

The company said, in a press release, it was being cautious and that the two-dose regimen of the vaccine was still expected to be protective against the South African and other variants detected to date. Moderna said it will publish data from its tests against the South African and U.K. Variants.

Meanwhile, the U.S has included South Africa on its travel ban.

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