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Militiamen Withdraw From US Embassy But Iraq Tensions Linger

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Days after U.S. President Donald Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the violence in the US embassy in Baghdad and said Tehran would be held responsible, Iran-backed militiamen withdrew from the U.S. Embassy compound on Wednesday after two days of clashes with American security forces.

Washington had on Wednesday dispatched extra troops and threatened reprisals against Tehran.

Earlier on Tuesday, supporters and fighters for an Iraqi Shi’ite militia have set on fire walls of the United States embassy compound  to express their anger over American airstrikes that killed 24 members of an Iranian-backed militia over the weekend.

The U.S. blamed the militia for a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in the northern city of Kirkuk last week that killed a U.S. contractor.

The protests marked a new turn in the shadow war between Washington and Tehran playing out across the Middle East.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday condemned the U.S. attacks.

Health News

Canada: COVID-19 Death Toll Exceeds 12000

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Canada’s COVID-19 deaths have passed another grim milestone of 12, 000 fatalities.

The country also recorded fifty-four hundred sixty-eight new cases of coronavirus infections which pushed the total number of confirmed cases to 370,014.  More than 290,000 persons have recovered from the virus.

A new report from an epidemiological analysis showed about 90 per cent of those who died were seniors, from 70 years and older.

The data also shows a significant increase in patients hospitalized from the virus.

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World News

New York City Will Reopen Elementary Schools And Reduce Hybrid Learning

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New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has confirmed public elementary schools will begin reopening next Monday.

The largest public school system in the country closed in November when the city reached a seven-day covid-19 testing positivity average of 3%.

Meanwhile, middle and high schools will remain closed. There are more than one million students in New York City’s public school system, and around 330,000 students could be eligible to return to school under this plan.

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Health News

Moderna Files For U.S. Vaccine Authorization, Will Seek EU Nod

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Drug maker, Moderna has filed for U.S. and European emergency regulatory approval of its coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.

It is now left for regulators to look at trial data for the MRNA vaccine and decide if it is safe and effective enough to recommend for roll out.

Clinical studies have revealed the vaccine is more than 94% effective at protecting against COVID-19 infection.

Another drug maker, Pfizer, has already filed for the U.S. Emergency approval for its own vaccine.

UK regulators are reviewing data for emergency approval of the Pfizer, Astrazenca, and Oxford University coronavirus vaccines.

Moderna says it hopes to gain UK approval soon, now that it has trial data from 30,000 volunteers including the elderly.

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