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Thousands Protest In Nepal Against PM Dissolving Parliament

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Ten thousand protesters in Nepal defied coronavirus restrictions to protest against prime minister Khadga Sharma Oli’s decision to dissolve parliament.

The protesters argue that the move is unconstitutional and are urging him to reverse his decision and call for early elections.

Nepal’s supreme court is considering petitions against the prime minister’s decision.

Oli was appointed prime minister in February 2018 after his Nepal communist party won legislative elections.

He formed the NCP with the support of former Maoist rebels, becoming the first prime minister to be elected under the country’s newly adopted constitution in 2015.

But recently, there has been much internal squabbling and a lack of co-operation from the former Maoist wing of his party. This has paralysed decision-making and also forced him to seek a new popular mandate.

Oli’s request for dissolution of parliament was announced ten days ago, and new elections have been scheduled for April and may next year.

The protesters say they will continue to demonstrate until parliament is reinstated.

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US: Biden To Reinstate COVID-19 Travel Ban

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A public health official in United States has said that president Joe Biden will on Monday formally reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders.

The principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr Anne Schuchat told Reuters news agency in an interview stating that “we are adding South Africa to the restricted list because of the concerning variant present that has already spread beyond South Africa.”

Schuchat added that the CDC was “putting in place this suite of measures to protect Americans and also to reduce the risk of these variants spreading and worsening the current pandemic.”

Biden is reversing an order from President Donald Trump in his final days in office that called for the relaxation of the travel restrictions as of Tuesday.

More than 25 million persons in the United States have now been confirmed with COVID-19, about a quarter of the world’s total infections.

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Dog Spent Days Outside Turkish Hospital Waiting For Sick Owner

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A devoted dog has spent days waiting outside a hospital in northern Turkey where her sick owner was receiving treatment.

The pet, Boncuk (Bon-DJUK), which means bead, followed the ambulance that transported her owner, Cemal Senturk, to hospital in the Black Sea city of Trabzon on Jan. 14. She then made daily visits to the facility, private news agency DHA reported on Wednesday.

Senturk’s daughter, Aynur Egeli, said she would take Boncuk home but the dog would repeatedly run off and return to the hospital.

Hospital security guard Muhammet Akdeniz told DHA: “She comes every day around 9 a.m. and waits until nightfall. She doesn’t go in.”

“When the door opens she pokes her head inside,” he said.

On Wednesday, Boncuk was finally reunited with Senturk when he was pushed outside in a wheelchair for a brief meeting with his dog.

“She’s very used to me. And I miss her, too, constantly,” he told DHA.

Senturk was discharged from the hospital later on Wednesday and returned home with Boncuk. (AP)

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Hungary approves Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

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Hungary has become the first country in the European Union to give preliminary approval to the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff confirmed both the Russian jab and the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine have been approved.

Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has been scheduled to travel to Moscow for further talks, where he is expected to discuss a shipment and distribution plans.

Hungarian health officials are also in Beijing for discussions on the approval and immediate delivery of one million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, already being used in Serbia.

Sinopharm is a Chinese company that announced last month phase three trials of its jab showed 79% effectiveness.

At least 140,000 Hungarians have already been vaccinated with it.

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