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Last Updated = Thu, Oct 1, 2020, 08:29 pm SL Time

* India allows states to reopen schools gradually amid rising coronavirus cases

Oct 01 (Reuters) India’s federal government on Wednesday allowed states to reopen schools and other educational institutions in a phased manner, as well as movie theatres, even as the coronavirus cases continue to rise daily in the South Asian country.
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* Boris Johnson says UK at ‘critical moment’ in Covid-19 fight

Oct 01 (HT) Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said the UK is at a “critical moment” in its fight to control the spread of coronavirus, as a further 71 deaths took the country’s death toll from the deadly virus to 42,143. Addressing a briefing from 10 Downing Street in London, Johnson struck a sombre note as he called for “collective forbearance, common sense and willingness to make sacrifices”
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* Pakistan to save ruined homes of Bollywood greats in Peshawar

Sept 29 (BBC) The ancestral homes of two Bollywood legends are to be saved from crumbling into ruin in northern Pakistan. The houses belonged to the families of Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar who migrated to India in the years before Pakistan was created from British India in 1947. Officials in Peshawar say the dilapidated homes are to be bought, restored and turned into museums.
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* Covid-19: Rapid tests to be given to poorer countries, says WHO

Sept 29 (HT) The head of the World Health Organization says it and partners have agreed to a plan to roll out 120 million rapid diagnostic tests for the coronavirus to help lower- and middle-income countries make up ground in a testing gap with richer countries — even if it’s not fully funded yet.
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* Fires lash California wine country, fueled by wind, heat

Sept 29 (HT) Another round of wildfires is ripping through Northern California, forcing evacuations and casting thick smoke over the region as hot weather and high winds leave the state perilously dry. A blaze in the wine country north of San Francisco more than quadrupled in size overnight to 11,000 acres, tearing through a region devastated by fires just three years ago.
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* Australian jailed for Islamophobic attack on pregnant woman

Oct 01 (BBC) An Australian man who punched and stamped on a pregnant woman in a suspected Islamophobic attack has been jailed for three years. Stipe Lozina, 44, attacked Rana Elasmar, 32, in Sydney last November. Ms Elasmar, then 38 weeks pregnant, .
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* Canada’s population sees record low growth due to sharp decline in migration

Oct 01 (HT) Canada has seen record low growth in its population in the second quarter of the year, mainly due to a fall in migration to the country due to travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. A key highlight of the trend is that the number of Indians arriving in Canada as permanent residents (PRs) this year is set to number less than half the total for 2019.
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* Tourist faces jail in Thailand over hotel review

Sept 29 (BBC) A US man is facing up to two years in jail in Thailand after posting negative reviews of a hotel he stayed in. He was sued by the resort under the country’s strict anti-defamation laws. Wesley Barnes, who works in Thailand, posted several reviews on different platforms allegedly accusing the resort of "modern day slavery".
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* ‘No more ladies and gentlemen’: Japan Airlines embraces gender neutral greetings

Sept 29 (HT) Japan Airlines is ditching the phrase “ladies and gentlemen” and instead embracing gender neutral terms during in-flight and airport announcements from next month, the company said Monday. From October 1, JAL “will abolish expressions that based on (two types of) sex and use gender-friendly expression” like “good morning” and “good evening,” a spokesperson for the airline told AFP.
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