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New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has secured a second term after her party won over half of parliament seats in the general election.

With over 90 percent of ballots counted, Ardern’s liberal Labour Party has won 49 percent of votes and is projected to control 64 seats in the 120-seat legislature, up from the 46 seats it has held. The opposition conservative National Party scored 27 percent of votes and is down to 35 seats from the 54 it secured in the previous general election.

National Party leader Judith Collins has called Ardern to congratulate her on the victory and promised to offer “a robust opposition” to the prime minister’s second-term government.

Ardern later addressed her supporters from a stage at party HQ, opening her speech in Maori before switching to English. She thanked New Zealanders for showing the greatest support the party has seen in “at least 50 years” and for backing her government’s plan for economic recovery.

“We will govern as we campaigned: positively with optimism about our future,” Ardern said. “Now more than ever is the time to keep going, to keep working, to grab hold of the opportunities that lay in front of us.”

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Ardern solidified her popularity at home with a successful response to Covid-19, which kept New Zealand relatively unharmed by the coronavirus, with only 1,883 cases and 25 deaths recorded. Her government managed to stop the communal spread of the disease in March with a strict lockdown and extensive testing, and similarly curbed a new outbreak in August.

Last year she won praise for her handling of the worst terrorist attack in New Zealand’s history, the Christchurch mosques shooting. She also moved to ban the types of firearms with most lethal potential and imposed stricter controls over legally owned weapons.

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The outcome of the election allows Labour to form a new government on its own, but political analysts say it may keep its alliance with the Green party, whic

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Mosque says it ‘regrets’ sharing video aimed at the beheaded teacher. French interior minister wants it to be closed





A French mosque has expressed regret for sharing a video that is believed to have provoked the gruesome murder of a history and geography teacher. The country’s interior minister has demanded that it be closed down.

The teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded last week after he showed his class a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed as part of a lesson on freedom of expression. Police shot and killed the suspect, an 18-year-old Chechen refugee, in a standoff following the grisly attack. The murder, which occurred in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, shook France, triggering demonstrations and a government crackdown against Islamic extremism in the country. 

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France conducts more police ops after teacher’s murder, plans to dissolve Muslim NGOs branded ‘enemies of republic’ – minister

Paty was targeted after the father of one of his students published several videos on social media in which he denounced the instructor as a “thug” and said that he had issued a complaint against him. The videos reportedly spread among the region’s Muslim community and one of them was even shared by a local mosque, the Grand Mosque of Pantin. 

The mosque’s rector, Mohammed Henniche, now says that he “regrets” the decision to share the clip, but insisted that the video never identified the teacher by name and was not a call to violence. 

“There is no call to hate, and no call against this teacher,” he told Franceinfo. 

The mosque removed the post after Paty’s murder and issued a statement condemning the attack.

Despite its

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Ireland to put nation under ‘Europe’s strictest’ quarantine for six weeks amid record daily Covid-19 infections





Dublin has decided to impose a national lockdown for six weeks that has been described by the Irish government itself as the harshest in Europe – all to curb the spread of Covid-19 that has been topping record levels for days.

Under the newly announced measures that are scheduled to come into force starting midnight Wednesday, all non-essential retail stores will be shut down while restaurants and pubs will have to reduce their work to take-away services only.

The people in Ireland would also be barred from traveling more than five kilometers away from their homes. Yet, unlike many other European nations, Ireland does not plan to shut down schools. Essential services such as construction will be exempted from the lockdown as well. As will be hotels – but only if their rooms are rented by people working in any “essential” sectors.

“In the effort to suppress the virus, we’ve already introduced what is probably Europe’s strictest regime,” Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a televised address on Monday.

The government has decided that the evidence of a potentially grave situation arising in the weeks ahead is now too strong.

The move comes just two weeks after Dublin dismissed a “surprise” call by the nation’s health authorities to introduce the highest – fifth – level of restrictions amid the growing infection numbers.

The nation has already topped its autumn record for daily new Covid-19 cases five times over the last nine days, although the numbers still remain lower that those recorded on April 10 when the infections surpassed 1,500 in a single day, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Ireland is no stranger to harsh measure when it comes to combating the epidemic. Back in sprin

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US to remove Sudan from its terrorism sponsors list in exchange for $335 MILLION payment to terrorist attack victims – Trump





Washington will take Sudan off its list of state sponsors of terrorism as soon as the African state pays $335 million in compensation to victims of Al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies, President Donald Trump has said.

The US and Sudan reached an agreement on the payment, Trump announced in a Twitter post, adding that once the money is transferred he will remove it from the terrorist sponsors list. The president called it “a big step” for Sudan and said that American people would finally get long-deserved justice.

GREAT news! New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 MILLION to U.S. terror victims and families. Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2020

Just minutes after Trump made his announcement, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok also took to Twitter and thanked the US leader.

“We very much look forward to your official notification to Congress rescinding the designation of Sudan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too much,” he said, calling his nation’s presence on the notorious list “the heaviest legacy” of its previous “regime”.

Thank you so much, President Trump! We very much look forward to your official notification to Congress rescinding the designation of Sudan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too much.

— Abdalla Hamdok (@SudanPMHamdok) October 19, 2020

Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism dates back to 1993 and is related to the nation’s former long-time leader, Omar al-Bashir, whom the US accused of supporting various militant groups, such as Hezbollah. The list inclusion also prevented Khartoum from accessing foreign financial aid and debt relief mechanisms.

Al-Bashir was toppled in a military coup last year following mass protests, and a transitional government led by Hamdok was put in charge. The new authorities arguably urgently needed foreign assistance to restore the nation’s economy following the political turmoil.

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