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Iran's president calls for ban on weddings, wakes to halt virus spread

12 July 2020; MEMO: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called on Saturday for big gatherings such as weddings and wakes to be banned to stem a rise in coronavirus infections, but insisted the country’s economy had to stay open.

Shortly after Rouhani’s televised speech, a police official in Tehran announced the closure of all wedding and mourning venues in the capital until further notice.

Iran has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April but has recently reported a sharp rise in the infection rate.

India: Devotee offers 2 kg gold bars in Tirumala temple

Tirupati, July 12 (PTI) An unidentified devotee has offered 20 gold bars to the shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala Hills, near here, a top official of the temple said on Sunday.

The gold bars weighing 2 kg were found in the 'hundi' (offering box) on Saturday when the day's collection was being counted, executive officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Anil Kumar Singhal said.

The TTD governs the ancient hill temple.

USA: Donald Trump, Joe Biden win Louisiana's presidential primary

Washington ,Jul 12 (AP/PTI) President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have won Louisiana's twice-postponed presidential primary.

Trump faced no true challenger for the Republican nomination, but four other GOP contenders ran against him on Louisiana's ballot Saturday.

Australia to offer residence option to 10,000 Hong Kongers

Sydney, Jul 12 (AP/PTI) The Australian government says it will offer around 10,000 Hong Kong passport holders currently living in Australia a chance to apply for permanent residence once their current visas expire.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government believes China's imposition of a new tough national security law on the semi-autonomous territory means pro-democracy supporters may face political persecution.

India: Traders, BJP oppose re-imposition of lockdown in Pune

Pune, July 11 (PTI) Traders and opposition BJP on Saturday expressed displeasure over the Maharashtra government's move to reimpose lockdown in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.

Traders association said the decision would lead to unrest among businessmen in the city.

A 10-day lockdwon will be implemented in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and rural areas adjoining the Pune municipal limits from July 13 amid the rising cases of coronavirus infection.

Egypt: Ethiopia’s ‘strict’ stance on Renaissance Dam diminishes chance of agreement

11 July 2020; MEMO: Ethiopia’s “very strict” stance on some of the technical and legal points relating to the Renaissance Dam talks greatly reduces the chance of agreement, Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation announced on Thursday.

Iran can provide railway transit between India, Russia: Official

Tehran, July 10, IRNA – Referring to railway connection of Chabahar and Zahedan in southeastern Iran, Managing-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (IRIR) Saeed Rasouli said on Friday that this route can be used for transfer of cargos from CIS countries and provide railway transit between India and Russia.

Following an order by the minister of Road and Urban Development, Rail laying operation between Zahedan and Chabahar began on Tuesday.

This strategic railway will be 628km long, Rasouli said.

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