While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 28

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WHO warns countries with falling Covid-19 cases to stay alert

Even if countries see a fall in coronavirus cases, they need to stay vigilant, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organisation’s technical lead for Covid-19, said on Friday.

“What we don’t want to see is situations where you are moving from lockdown to bringing (the virus) under control to another lockdown,” she told a virtual briefing in Geneva.

Nearly 61 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 1.4 million have died, according to a Reuters tally.

“It is in our power to keep transmission low,” she said. “We have seen dozens of countries show us that it can be brought under control and kept under control.”

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Prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Fakhrizadeh assassinated

An Iranian scientist long suspected by the West of masterminding a secret nuclear bomb programme was killed in an ambush near Teheran on Friday, likely to provoke confrontation between Iran and its foes in the last weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to strike against the killers of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who died of injuries in hospital after armed assassins fired on his car, state media reported.

“We will strike as thunder at the killers of this oppressed martyr and will make them regret their action,” tweeted Hossein Dehghan, also a military commander.

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In new blow to Trump, US court rejects Pennsylvania election case

A federal appeals court on Friday rejected an attempt by US President Donald Trump’s campaign to block President-elect Joe Biden from being declared the winner of Pennsylvania, dealing another significant setback to Trump’s bid to overturn the Nov 3 election.

“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so,” wrote Stephanos Bibas on behalf of a three-judge panel.

“Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” wrote Bibas, who was nominated by Trump.

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Belgium reopens shops, but keeps Christmas curbs to prevent third Covid-19 wave

Belgium will let shops reopen from Tuesday (Dec 1), but keep other coronavirus curbs over the festive period, including limits on gatherings over Christmas and a ban on fireworks at New Year, the prime minister said.

Countries across Europe have been battling a second wave of infections, and wrestling with how to keep their citizens safe while allowing them a little relief over the holidays.

“If we loosen too soon, the numbers will shoot up and then it will be very difficult,” Alexander De Croo told a news conference on Friday.

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China to end all waste imports on Jan 1

China will ban all waste imports from January 1, 2021, state media reported Friday, marking the culmination of a three-year phase-out of accepting overseas junk.

Since the 1980s the country has imported solid waste, which local companies would clean, crush and transform into raw materials for industrialists.

For years it has been the world’s largest importer of rubbish, often leading to pollution when the materials cannot be recycled or disposed of properly.

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Bastion Balance Seoul.