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China Imposes Curbs On U.S. Diplomats In Response To U.S. Move

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China has on Friday said it had imposed restrictions on staff at the U.S. Embassy and its consulates in mainland China and Hong Kong, responding to the United States measures announced early this month.

According to Reuters news agency, China’s Foreign Ministry did not specify the measures, which it described as reciprocal.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it would require senior Chinese diplomats to get State Department approval before visiting university campuses or holding cultural events with more than 50 persons outside mission grounds, which it had said were a response to China’s restrictions on American diplomats.

Pompeo said “the Chinese Communist Party has implemented a system of opaque approval processes designed to prevent American diplomats from conducting regular business, attending events, meetings and connecting with the Chinese people, especially on university campuses and via the press and social media.”

The world’s two biggest economies relations have sunk to historic lows after clashing over issues ranging from trade and human rights to Hong Kong and recently the Coronavirus pandemic.

World News

America Prepares For Presidential Inauguration Amid Fears Of Insider Attacks

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The United States is preparing for an unprecedented presidential inauguration on Wednesday.  Prompted by the Capitol insurrection twelve days ago, more than twenty-five thousand national guards troops have been brought into Washington, DC to provide security for the event.

US defense officials have also expressed fear of an insider attack or other threats from security troops assigned to provide protection during the inauguration.

Small protests also took place at heavily fortified state houses around the country.  There were widespread fears of violence against state capitols across the country like the siege on the U.S. Capitol. There has been no report of violence.

Some have described the scenes of national guard troops taking over the streets around the US Capitol, as looking like the war zones of Afghanistan or the Middle East.

Amid this background, Joe Biden will deliver his inaugural address of national unity when he is sworn in on Wednesday.  He plans to immediately jump into action after swearing-in.  He plans immediate moves to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than four hundred thousand American lives.  He also promised to issue many executive orders to undo some of Donald Trump’s most controversial policies.

He says his first order of business would be an executive order signing America back into the Paris Climate Accord.  He will also revoke Trump’s immigration ban on some majority-Muslim countries.

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Health News

23 Norwegians Dead After Taking COVID-19 Vaccine

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The New York Post has quoted Norwegian health officials as saying twenty-three persons have died within days of receiving the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.  Thirteen of the deaths are said to be related to side effects of the shots.  All thirteen were nursing home patients who were at least eighty years old.

The newspaper quoted the chief physician at the Norwegian medicines agency, Sigurd Hortemo, as saying in a statement on Friday, common reactions to the vaccine, including fever and nausea, may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients.

This has forced officials to adjust their guidance on who should receive the vaccine, but they are not expressing serious concern.

The country has inoculated more than thirty-thousand citizens with the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine since last month.

Norwegian medicines agency medical director, Steinar Madsen, says the agency is not alarmed. He says the vaccines have very little risk.

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World News

Germany Reports Highest Single Day COVID Deaths

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Germany has a huge spike in its COVID-19 death toll.  The country last week reported more than twelve hundred coronavirus deaths in one day.

The Robert Koch Institute reports twelve hundred forty-four deaths on Wednesday, the largest one-day death toll from the virus.  The country has now seen nearly forty-four thousand covid-19 related deaths.  The country’s covid-19 case have now surpassed one million.

Head of the Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler says number of deaths in the country is “very worrying” because hospital “intensive care units have never been as exhausted as they have been in the last few days.

Wieler says fifty-two hundred persons are in German I.C.U.’s, and ninety percent of them are on ventilators.

Germany has seen a dramatic uptick in cases since early December, and officials are contemplating further restrictions to curb the spread.

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