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Patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) get treatment at the casualty ward in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital, amidst the spread of the disease in New Delhi, India April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

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Amid reports of severe shortage of oxygen supplies and critical medicines such as the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, Modi on Saturday asked authorities to pull out all the stops to ramp up production of COVID-19 vaccines and asked his teams to work closely with local governments.

India’s capital New Delhi recorded 25,500 coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period, with about one in three people tested returning a positive result, its chief minister said, urging the federal government to provide more hospital beds to tackle the crisis.

In this photo provided by U.S. Embassy Seoul, U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry speaks during a round table meeting with the media in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, April 18, 2021. The United States and China, the world's two biggest carbon polluters, have agreed to cooperate with other countries to curb climate change, just days before U.S. President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to discuss the issue. (U.S. Embassy Seoul via AP)

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The two countries “are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” the statement said.

The United States and China, the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, agreed to cooperate to curb climate change with urgency, just days before President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to discuss the issue.

In this file photo taken on June 16, 2020, millionaire media tycoon Jimmy Lai, 72, speaks during an interview with AFP at the Next Digital offices in Hong Kong.

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The two are among a handful of other prominent activists and lawmakers charged with organizing and taking part in what authorities called unauthorized assemblies. At least four of the other defendants were jailed up to 18 months.

Hong Kong's rebel media tycoon Jimmy Lai was sentenced to 14 months in prison in Hong Kong District Court Friday after being found guilty of charges related to pro-democracy protests in 2019.

This satellite photo provided from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Iran began enriching uranium Friday, April 16, 2021, to its highest level ever at Natanz, edging closer to weapons-grade levels to pressure talks in Vienna aimed at restoring its nuclear deal with world powers after an attack on the site. (Planet Labs via AP)

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“The young and God-believing Iranian scientists managed to achieve a 60% enriched uranium product,” Qalibaf said. “I congratulate the brave nation of Islamic Iran on this success. The Iranian nation’s willpower is miraculous and can defuse any conspiracy.”

Iran began enriching uranium Friday to its highest-ever purity, edging close to weapons-grade levels, as it attempts to pressure negotiators in Vienna during talks on restoring its nuclear deal with world powers after an attack on its main enrichment site.

President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga leave after a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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Japan, long cautious in managing relations with its neighbor, has become more outspoken with Suga.

China hit back at the U.S.-Japan show of alliance during talks between President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, calling it an “ironic attempt of stoking division.”

Raul Castro, first secretary of the Communist Party and former president, attends the VIII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba's opening session, at the Convention Palace in Havana, Cuba, Friday, April 16, 2021. (Ariel Ley Royero/ACN via AP)

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“I concluded my task as first secretary ... with the satisfaction of having fulfilled (my duty) and confidence in the future of the fatherland,” he said in a typically terse, to-the-point finale that contrasted with the impassioned verbal pyrotechnics of his brother Fidel, who died in 2016.

Raul Castro said he is stepping down as Cuban Communist Party leader, leaving the island without a Castro guiding affairs for the first time in more than six decades and handing control of the party to a younger generation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attends a news conference in Beijing, China September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

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Washington has watched with alarm the uptick in tensions, and on Sunday U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was concerned about China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan.

China told the United States on Tuesday to stop playing with fire over Taiwan and lodged a complaint after Washington issued guidelines that will enable U.S. officials to meet more freely with officials from the island that China claims as its own.

Biden set to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11

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The disclosure of the plan came on the same day that the U.S. intelligence community released a gloomy outlook for Afghanistan, forecasting “low” chances of a peace deal this year ...

President Joe Biden plans to withdraw the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, 20 years to the day after the al Qaeda attacks that triggered America’s longest war, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

In this Friday, April 9, 2021 file photo, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the war-hit Donbas region, eastern Ukraine. Zelenskyy has requested to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the troop buildup in the Russian-Ukrainian border and the rising tensions in eastern Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File)

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Ukraine’s leader has asked for a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Russian troop buildup across his country’s border and the escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine, but the request has not been answered so far, his spokeswoman said Monday.

This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Iran's Natanz nuclear site suffered a problem Sunday, April 11, involving its electrical distribution grid just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges that more quickly enrich uranium, state TV reported. It was the latest incident to strike one of Tehran's most-secured sites amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)

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Natanz suffered a mysterious explosion at its advanced centrifuge assembly plant in July that authorities later described as sabotage. Iran now is rebuilding that facility deep inside a nearby mountain.

Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear facility lost power Sunday just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium faster, the latest incident to strike the site amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers.

Iranians wearing protective face masks against the coronavirus walk in a crowded area of the capital Tehran, Iran, March 30, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File Photo

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Iran has been the epicentre of the pandemic in the Middle East. In February, it closed several crossing points with Iraq in an effort to stem the spread of the UK variant.

Iran imposed a 10-day lockdown across most of the country on Saturday to curb the spread of a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported.

File image - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

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The ceremony unveiled 133 advances over the past year in the country’s nuclear industry mostly in the fields of medicine, power, agricultural and energy, state television said.

President Hassan Rouhani reiterated Iran’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation on Saturday while overseeing the launch of advanced centrifuges at the underground Natanz nuclear plant to mark National Nuclear Technology Day.

The logo for Alibaba Group is seen at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Dec. 24, 2020. Chinese regulators announced Saturday, April 10, 2021 that they have fined giant e-commerce giant Alibaba 18.3 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) on charges of violating anti-monopoly rules. (Chinatopix via AP)

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Party leaders worry about the dominance of China’s biggest internet companies, which are expanding into finance, health services and other sensitive areas. The party says anti-monopoly enforcement, especially in tech, is a priority this year.

Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, was fined 18.3 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) by Chinese regulators on Saturday for anti-competitive tactics, as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over fast-growing tech industries.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a virtual meeting with UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir via videoconference from the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/Pool/File Photo

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It marked Democratic President Joe Biden’s most significant move since taking office on Jan. 20 to make good on his promise to roll back some parts of his Republican predecessor’s approach that Palestinians denounced as heavily biased in favor of Israel.

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday it would provide $235 million in U.S. aid to the Palestinians, restarting funding for the United Nations agency supporting refugees and restoring other assistance cut off by then-President Donald Trump.

King of Jordan Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/File Photo

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Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Wednesday sedition has been quashed after a rift with his half-brother and former heir Prince Hamza, whom the government had accused of links to efforts destabilise the country.

In his first statement since the affair came to light, the monarch said the crisis that shook the stability of the kingdom was the “the most painful” because it came from both inside the royal family and outside it.

“Nothing comes close to what I felt - shock, pain and anger - as a brother and guardian of the Hashemite family and a leader of this dear people,” King Abdullah said in a letter published by the state news agency and read out on Jordanian television.

He said the country was now stable and secure. “Hamza today is with his family in his palace under my care,” he said.

Hamza pledged allegiance to King Abdullah late on Monday following mediation by the royal family, two days after the military warned him over actions it said were undermining Jordan’s security and stability.

The government says Hamza liaised with people linked to foreign parties seeking to destabilise Jordan and that he had been under investigation for some time.

Abdullah said he had decided to deal with Hamza’s case “within the framework of the Hashemite family”.

“As for the other aspects, they are under investigation, in accordance with the law,” he said in the letter.

Officials say between 14 and 16 people have been arrested in connection with the alleged plot.

Jordan banned all news outlets and social media users on Tuesday from publishing any content related to the investigations into Hamza. Reuters has complied with those restrictions which carry criminal penalties.

Jordan’s neighbours and allies, including Saudi Arabia, have expressed solidarity with King Abdullah over the security measures in the kingdom.

On Wednesday U.S. President Joe Biden called King Abdullah to say Washington supported Jordan’s actions “to preserve its security and stability”, Jordan’s state news agency reported.

 

Source: Reuters

Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi blessing after celebrating Easter Mass at St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican Sunday, April 4, 2021, during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Filippo Monteforte/Pool photo via AP)

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“The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nevertheless — and this is scandalous — armed conflicts have not ended, and military arsenals are being strengthened,″ Francis said, sounding angry. “That is today’s scandal.”

Pope Francis in his traditional Easter Sunday address denounced as “scandalous” how armed conflicts continue to rage even as the coronavirus pandemic has triggered severe social and economic suffering and swollen the ranks of the poor.

Myanmar protesters defy crackdown, five killed; junta hunts critics

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Despite the killing of more than 550 people by the security forces since the Feb. 1 coup, protesters are coming out every day, often in small groups in small towns, to voice opposition to the overthrow of an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and the return of military rule.

Myanmar security forces opened fire on pro-democracy protests on Saturday killing at least five people, a protester and media said, as the military stepped up its bid to stifle dissent with arrest warrants for a further 20 high-profile critics.

Scuffles in London as thousands join 'kill the bill' rallies across Britain

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Since the proposed law was brought before parliament last month, there have been sporadic demonstrations across the country, with Saturday’s rallies being part of what organisers said was a national weekend of action.

Thousands of demonstrators joined rallies across Britain on Saturday against a proposed law that would give police extra powers to curb protests, with some scuffles breaking out following a march in London.

In this Dec. 10, 2020 photo released by the Royal Hashemite Court, Jordan's King Abdullah II gives a speech during the inauguration of the 19th Parliament's non-ordinary session, in Amman Jordan. AP photo

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Hamzah said he had been informed he was being punished for taking in part in meetings in which the king had been criticized, though he said he was not accused of joining in the criticism.

The half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Saturday he has been placed under house arrest and accused the country’s “ruling system” of incompetence and corruption, exposing a rare rift within the ruling monarchy of a close Western ally.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 file photo, arriving passengers walk past a sign in the arrivals area at Heathrow Airport in London, during England's third national lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak began. AP photo

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The Department for Transport said Friday the number of countries on its “red list” will reach 39 when the latest restrictions take effect in England beginning April 9. The other nations of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — have similar lists.

The British government is gearing up to ban international arrivals from four more countries — Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines — amid concerns over new virus variants but opted against including European nations that are facing a resurgence of the virus.

File - In this Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 file photo, a part of Arak heavy water nuclear facilities is seen, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran.

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Iran since the U.S. withdrawal from the pact has been steadily violating its restrictions, like the amount of enriched uranium it can stockpile and the purity to which it can enrich it.

The United States and Iran said Friday they will begin indirect negotiations with intermediaries next week to try to get both countries back into compliance with an accord limiting Iran’s nuclear program, nearly three years after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal.

File image - North Korea's Leader Kim Jong Un

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The tests came after North Korea refused to engage with repeated behind-the-scenes U.S. diplomatic overtures by the new administration since mid-February.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles at the weekend, U.S. officials said on Tuesday, but Washington played down the first such tests under the Biden administration and said the United States was still open to dialogue with Pyongyang.

The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar, which for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip,

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The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar, which for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip, ...

The U.N. Security Council unanimously called for a reversal of the military coup in Myanmar on Wednesday, strongly condemning the violence against peaceful protesters and calling for “utmost restraint” by the military.

Pope Francis, right, meets with Iraq's leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. The closed-door meeting was expected to touch on issues plaguing Iraq's Christian minority. Al-Sistani is a deeply revered figure in Shiite-majority Iraq and and his opinions on religious matters are sought by Shiites worldwide. (AP Photo/Vatican Media)

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The historic meeting in al-Sistani’s humble home was months in the making, with every detail painstakingly discussed and negotiated between the ayatollah’s office and the Vatican.

Pope Francis and Iraq’s top Shiite cleric delivered a powerful message of peaceful coexistence Saturday, urging Muslims in the war-weary Arab nation to embrace Iraq’s long-beleaguered Christian minority during an historic meeting in the holy city of Najaf.

Anti-coup protesters run as one of them discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of tear gas fired by riot policemen in Yangon, Myanmar, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Demonstrators in Myanmar took to the streets again on Wednesday to protest last month's seizure of power by the military. (AP Photo)

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In Mandalay, riot police, backed by soldiers, broke up a rally and chased around 1,000 teachers and students from a street with tear gas as gun shots could be heard.

Myanmar security forces dramatically escalated their crackdown on protests against last month’s coup, killing at least 34 protesters Wednesday in several cities, according to accounts on social media and local news reports compiled by a data analyst.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at the courtroom Monday, March 1, 2021 in Paris. The verdict is expected in a landmark corruption and influence-peddling trial that has put French former President Nicolas Sarkozy at risk of a prison sentence if he is convicted. Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, firmly denied all the allegations against him during the 10-day trial that took place at the end of last year. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

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The ruling marks the first time in France’s modern history that a former president has been convicted of corruption — and given a prison term. His predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money during his time as Paris mayor — not considered a corruption offense — and was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

A Paris court found French former President Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of corruption and influence peddling on Monday and sentenced him to a year in prison. He can ask to serve that time at home and also plans to appeal.

FILE PHOTO: A traveler walks past a Christmas tree as he makes his way through the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

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China has COVID-19 largely under control, with relatively small clusters of new local infections in recent months. No new community cases have been reported in mainland China since late January.

China and the United States should remove all barriers to travel between the two countries if the United States achieves herd immunity for COVID-19 with 90% of its population vaccinated, potentially by August, a Chinese epidemiologist has said.

Pope Francis delivers the Angelus noon prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

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“I pray for these girls, so that they may return home soon,″ the pope said. ”I am close to their families and to them,″ Francis said, asking people to join him in prayer.

Pope Francis on Sunday decried the kidnapping of 317 students from their boarding school in northwest Nigeria and prayed for the girls’ quick release.

AstraZeneca's vaccines are ready for Corona vaccination at the vaccination center. in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb.28, 2021. A total of 5350 employees at elementary and special schools as well as kindergartens are expected to receive their first Corona vaccination at the Thuringian vaccination centers today. (Michael Reichel/dpa via AP)

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Travelers from those areas must produce a recent negative coronavirus test before entering Germany.

Germany announced Sunday that travelers from France’s northeastern Moselle region will face additional restrictions due to the high rate of variant coronavirus cases there.

Syria condemns 'cowardly' U.S. air strikes on Iran-backed militias

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Several attacks, including the one at Erbil airport, have been claimed by little-known groups which some Iraqi and Western officials say are a front for established Iranian-backed groups such as Kataib Hezbollah.

Syria said U.S. air strikes against Iranian-backed militias in the east of the country on Friday were a cowardly act and urged President Joe Biden not to follow “the law of the jungle”.

File image - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

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Once in office, Biden has said he would maintain whatever scale of relations with Saudi Arabia that U.S. interests required. He also ordered an end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen and said he would stop the sale of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to a newly declassified U.S. intelligence report released Friday. The finding could escalate pressure on the Biden administration to hold the kingdom accountable for a murder that drew widespread outrage in the U.S. and abroad.

A man presents his "green passport," proof that he is vaccinated against the coronavirus, on opening night at the Khan Theater for a performance where all guests were required to show proof of vaccination or full recovery from the virus, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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Governments say getting vaccinated and having the proper documentation to prove it will smooth the way to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and such efforts have gotten a head start in Israel

Violet light bathed the club stage as 300 people, masked and socially distanced, erupted in gentle applause. For the first time since the pandemic began, Israeli musician Aviv Geffen stepped to his electric piano and began to play for an audience seated right in front of him.

Authorities in Germany have raided homes and stores and detained eight suspects in connection with a far-right network suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering

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Authorities in Germany have raided homes and stores and detained eight suspects in connection with a far-right network suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering

Authorities in Germany raided homes and stores and detained eight suspects early Friday in connection with a far-right network suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering, the German news agency dpa reported.

Senegal, Morocco, Caymans added to terror finance watch list. Image credit - Medium

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With the four additions, the so-called gray list currently has 19 countries and territories that FATF said are only partially fulfilling international rules for fighting terrorism financing and money laundering.

An international agency that monitors terrorism funding kept North Korea and Iran as the only two countries on its black list but added four new places to its watch list for increased monitoring, the organization’s president said Thursday.

US carries out airstrike against Iranian-backed militia in Syria

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"This proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with Coalition partners," said Kirby. "The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."

The United States conducted a military airstrike in eastern Syria along the border with Iraq on Thursday night targeting Iranian-backed militias in retaliation for a recent rocket strike in Erbil in northern Iraq that left several Americans injured, according to the Pentagon.

In this Sept. 5, 2018 file photo, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega and his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo, lead a rally in Managua, Nicaragua. The Central American country has created a National Ministry for Extraterrestrial Space Affairs, The Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. The new agency was approved on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, by 76 legislators in the country's congress, which is dominated by President Daniel Ortega's Sandinista Party. (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga, File)

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It will be under the control of the Nicaraguan army, which has no space program. The law says the ministry “will promote the development of space activities, with the aim of broadening the country’s capacities in the fields of education, industry, science and technology.”

Nicaragua has created a new National Ministry for Extraterrestrial Space Affairs, The Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, which is drawing amused reactions on social media in a nation that has been struggling since anti-government protests three years ago.

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