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Georgia recertifies US presidential election results, confirming Biden victory

Georgia recertified the state’s results in the November 3 presidential election on Monday, confirming that Democratic President-elect Joe Biden had won the state, according to a press release from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

The recertification followed a hand recount that was triggered by an audit and a formal recount that was requested by Republican President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, both of which upheld Biden’s victory in the state, the press release said.

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Georgia’s governor is again telling lawmakers that he will no call a special session to overturn Georgia’s election results and appoint 16 presidential electors who would support Republican President Donald Trump instead of Democratic president-elect Joe Biden.

Republican Brian Kemp issued a joint statement Sunday with Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, saying it would violate state law for the General Assembly to name electors instead of following the current state law that calls for the governor to certify electors after results are certified.

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President-elect Biden to meet with US vaccine adviser Slaoui this week

Biden plans scaled-back inauguration to avoid spreading coronavirus in crowds

(With The Associated Press)

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Pope giving Vatican employees paracetamol for Christmas

A practical pontiff who has eschewed consumerism, Pope Francis is giving Vatican employees boxes of cold and flu relief pills for Christmas this year.

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A Vatican source confirmed to AFP that the unconventional gift has already begun to be sent out to the Vatican state’s 4,000 employees.

A photograph in Il Messaggero daily showed stacks of pills for cold and flu in boxes labeled “Gift of the Holy Father to Vatican employees (five boxes per employee).”

Cold and rainy weather has spread over Rome and the flu vaccine has been late in arriving this year in Italy.

Experts are concerned a surge in flu cases in January will exacerbate strains on a health care system already struggling to overcome the second wave of coronavirus cases.

Read more:

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China criticizes pope over comment on suffering by Uighur Muslim minority

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Register now to be part of Covid-19 vaccine trial in Abu Dhabi

Volunteers can register at http://v4v.ae.

Abu Dhabi launched a volunteer programme on Monday for Phase 3 clinical trials of the Russian human adenovirus-based Sputnik V vaccine under the #VaccineforVictory campaign.

Also read: You have a brother in me: Sheikh Mohamed tells families of fallen frontline heroes

Abu Dhabi radars to catch seat belt violations, phone use among drivers

Initially 500 volunteers from Abu Dhabi will be invited to participate, the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office announced in a tweet.

Those who are interested to register for the vaccine trials can do it online at www.v4v.ae.

“Your participation in this Phase III Clinical study will make you a forerunner in the race to save not only the residents of UAE, but also all of humanity. Your service to your country will forever be a part of history and will ensure administering a safely researched pandemic to the public,” says the registration form.

Those who register for the vaccine trial will have to provide their health information in detail, including history of Covid-19 and other diseases.

Eligibility criteria for participation

Volunteers must be residents of Abu Dhabi. They must be at least 18 years old and not have been infected with Covid-19 and suffered any communicable or respiratory diseases in the last 14 days.

They must not have participated in any other Covid-19 vaccination trial.

Volunteers will receive two doses of the vaccine, administered 20 days apart, and will be regularly monitored through visits and teleconsultations.

Second volunteer programme

This is the second such programme being conducted in Abu Dhabi. In July, the world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine was held in the Capital.

The trials were managed by G42 Healthcare in partnership with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, the Ministry of Health and Prevention and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).

The inactivated vaccine has been developed by Sinopharm CNBG.

Organisers of the trial said in a statement: “We invite you to make history by being a part of the momentous ‘Vaccine for Victory (V4V)’ campaign, which is the UAE’s chapter of the global vaccination trial of the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology & Microbiology, in partnership with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).”

Sputnik V, the human adenovirus vector-based vaccine, was registered by the Russian Ministry of Health on August 11 and became the first registered Covid-19 vaccine out of 165 vaccines being developed across the world.

“With your valuable contribution, and with the expertise of healthcare professionals from Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology & Microbiology, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, together we will endeavour to embark on a life-saving journey for generations to come,” the trial organisers added.

“Our aim is simple: this vaccine is for the world and the V symbolises our mission to claim victory against the pandemic.”

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Abu Dhabi volunteers sought for Covid-19 vaccine trial

Volunteers can register at http://v4v.ae.

The volunteer programme for Phase III clinical trials of the Russian human adenovirus-based coronavirus vaccine has been launched under the Vaccine for Victory campaign.

Also read: You have a brother in me: Sheikh Mohamed tells families of fallen frontline heroes

Abu Dhabi radars to catch seat belt violations, phone use among drivers

Five-hundred volunteers from Abu Dhabi will initially be invited to participate.

Volunteers can register at http://v4v.ae.

Eligible volunteers must be resident in Abu Dhabi, at least 18 years old must not have been infected with Covid-19, suffered any communicable or respiratory diseases in the last 14 days, nor participated in any other Covid-19 vaccination trial.

Volunteers will receive two doses of the vaccine, administered 20 days apart, and will be regularly monitored through visits and teleconsultations.

Organisers of the trial said in a statement: “We invite you to make history by being a part of the momentous ‘Vaccine for Victory (V4V)’ campaign, which is the UAE’s chapter of the global vaccination trial of the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology & Microbiology, in partnership with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).”

Sputnik V, the human adenovirus vector-based vaccine, was registered by the Russian Ministry of Health on August 11 and became the first registered Covid-19 vaccine out of 165 vaccines being developed across the world.

“With your valuable contribution, and with the expertise of healthcare professionals from Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology & Microbiology, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, together we will endeavour to embark on a life-saving journey for generations to come,” the trial organisers added.

“Our aim is simple: this vaccine is for the world and the V symbolises our mission to claim victory against the pandemic.”

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Sharjah Municipality signs MoU with American Concrete Institute

SHARJAH, 7th December, 2020 (WAM) — Sharjah Municipality signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the American Concrete Institute, ACI, to enhance the cooperation between the two parties in the field of construction.

ACI is one of the most prominent highly sought experts in the field, as the municipality is keen to review the latest engineering standards approved by it as an international body specialised in upgrading and developing concrete industries.

In this context, Thabet Al Tarifi, Director-General of the Sharjah Municipality, affirmed that the MoU aims to strengthen cooperation and coordination with the ACI to combine and integrate efforts to reach the highest levels of progress. Such endeavour will positively reflect on the achievement of sustainable development goals through research and innovation of practical theories, especially during the continuous meetings and specialised conferences that are organised by the two parties.

Eng. Khalifa bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Assistant Director-General of Engineering and Building Sector, indicated that the MoU contributes to widening of horizons with the ACI to promote the work of each party separately in the field of construction and building. This is in addition to the continuation of mutual visits between the two parties and the exchange of experiences, technical information, publications and lectures.

Al Suwaidi added that the municipality is keen, through the engineering and buildings sector, to continuously improve its engineering services, develop human cadres and learn about the latest global practices and developments in the field of engineering and construction.

Al Suwaidi noted that the cooperation with the ACI and coordination regarding the American codes and their developments, especially the American Building Code (ACI-318) and (ACI-562), which the municipality applies to all construction works, including design, implementation and rehabilitation of buildings and facilities.

The municipality also accepted the invitation of the president of the ACI to attend a conference and an exhibition of concrete in the US state of Ohio, in which SM participated during the conference in several workshops and presented its successful experiences in the field of construction.

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Visits Wahat Al Karama

ABU DHABI, 7th December, 2020 (WAM) — The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba visited this Monday Wahat Al Karama, Abu Dhabi’s national and cultural landmark designed to commemorate the sacrifices and heroic deeds of UAE martyrs to defend their homeland and protect its achievements, taking into consideration all precautionary measures due to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic around the world.

Upon his arrival, Dmytro Kuleba was welcomed by Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Executive Director of the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office, at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court.

He attended the Guard of Honor ceremony, then laid a wreath at Martyrs’ Monument, made up of 31 panels leaning on one another in a symbol of solidarity between the leadership, people and soldiers of the UAE.

The tour was concluded by a word written by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister in the visitor’s log, expressing his utmost respect and appreciation for the brave martyrs

WAM/ /Hassan Bashir/Tariq alfaham

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MoFAIC receives a copy of credentials of the new Ambassador of Tunisia to the UAE

ABU DHABI, 7th December, 2020 (WAM) — Khalid Abdullah Belhoul, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, received virtually a copy of the credentials of Moez Benmim, Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia to the UAE.

Belhoul wished the Ambassador success in the performance of his duties and in enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation between the UAE and Tunisia.

The newly appointed Ambassador expressed his pleasure at representing his country in the United Arab Emirates, which enjoys a prestigious regional and international position thanks to the visionary policy of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.

WAM/ /Hassan Bashir/Tariq alfaham

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Algeria PM Djerad slams reported ransoms to ‘terror groups’

Algeria’s prime minister has sounded the alarm over reported ransoms paid to “terrorist groups” for the freeing of hostages, weeks after the liberation of a French aid worker in Mali.

“Algeria notes, with great concern, continued transfers to terrorist groups of huge sums of money as ransoms to free hostages,” Abdelaziz Djerad told African leaders at a summit of African Union heads of government late Sunday.

This approach “undermines our counter-terrorism efforts,” he said, quoted by Algerian media.

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His comments came after neighboring Mali released some 200 prisoners in October ahead of the release of four hostages including French aid worker Sophie Petronin.

One of the released prisoners, an extremist later arrested in Algeria, said in a video broadcast on Algerian TV that France had been involved in talks with Bamako and a key Malian extremist leader linked with al-Qaeda.

Mustapha Derrar said he had heard that 207 prisoners would be released along with the payment of a ransom, adding that he had heard the figures 10 million euros and 30 million euros.

It was not possible to verify his claims or the conditions under which he made the statement.

In November, Algeria’s defense minister said a “large ransom” had been paid to “terrorist groups in exchange for the release of three hostages,” adding that such payments violated UN resolutions.

Djerad on Monday called for “concerted action to eradicate violent extremism, combat terrorism and dry up the sources of its funding.”

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French interior minister in Algeria praises ‘cooperation’ against extremism

France has consistently denied involvement in negotiations for the release of the hostages or having paid a ransom for Petronin’s freedom.

On October 12, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the extremists’ release of Petronin was a “humanitarian gesture,” saying “we were not part of these negotiations.”

Rumors of ransoms paid for the release of western hostages in the Sahel region are common but rarely confirmed.

Djerad’s statement comes amid Algeria’s latest diplomatic fallout with its former colonial occupier, which has said it is considering reducing the number of visas it grants to countries that refuse to take back nationals illegally in the country or suspected of being radicalized.

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Seven dead after floods in southern Iran

Seven people have died in floods in southern Iran after torrential rain, state news agency IRNA said Monday.

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The fatalities were recorded in Bushehr and Hormozgan, IRNA reported, citing Mehdi Valipour, head of rescue and emergency operations for Iran’s Red Crescent.

Valipour said that flooding had also hit Isfahan, Yazd, Fars and Tehran provinces, noting that his organization had helped more than 1,000 people in the last 24 hours.

Rains were particularly heavy in November, bringing relief for arid areas, but authorities have become increasingly concerned about the effect of the intensified downpours of recent days.

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Abu Dhabi Digital Authority signs partnership agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to bring benefits to government entities

DUBAI, 7th December 2020 (WAM) – The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA), the government entity leading the digital transformation in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, today announced that it has signed a partnership agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to maximize the value of services provided by the company to government entities in Abu Dhabi.

The agreement, which was signed during GITEX Technology Week, is part of ADDA’s efforts aimed at leading the digital future of Abu Dhabi government and supporting digital transformation in the emirate by using the latest technologies, defining strategies, policies and standards, and developing digital infrastructure in partnership with the private and public sectors to enhance the effectiveness of government performance.

The agreement is aimed at facilitating the utilization of applications and advanced solutions provided by HPE to government entities, maximizing the value of services provided to these entities, and providing support through HPE to Abu Dhabi’s government entities’ employees in many fields including, skills training, expertise and more.

Commenting on this cooperation, Engineer Mohamed Abdel Hameed Al Askar, Director-General of ADDA, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with HPE, which comes in line with ADDA’s vision for leading the digital future of Abu Dhabi and strengthening cooperation between government entities and strategic partners to promote innovation in various areas of government services.

“ADDA is keen on consolidating relations between the public and private sectors and working with strategic partners, such as HPE. This cooperation contributes to supporting the authority’s efforts to lead the digital future of Abu Dhabi by supporting government partners to provide services and develop work systems in order to enrich the quality of life and increase growth opportunities for business and individuals,” Al Askar added.

Ahmad Alkhallafi, Managing Director, HPE UAE, added his comments, saying: “Our longstanding partnership with ADDA continues to grow from strength-to-strength. We are excited to be part of Abu Dhabi’s digitalization journey by bolstering local skills and expertise, as well as providing tailored technological solutions. ADDA is implementing some of the most advanced digital transformation initiatives in the world to deliver advanced public services to its citizens, and we are proud to be working with them on this ambitious drive.”

ADDA is committed to establishing partnerships with leading private sector and IT companies in line with the Abu Dhabi government strategic vision for building an ecosystem that aims to not only improve the efficiency of the government work system, but also the level of services provided to the customers by harnessing the latest technologies and digital solutions to serve the community.