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Biden, Harris sworn in at the Capitol amid D.C. lockdown

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Washington, Jan 20: President-elect Joe Biden was sworn-in as the 46th president of the United States Wednesday shortly before noon, amid a devastating global pandemic and the threat of possible domestic terrorism.

In a ceremony that kept with tradition while being unlike any other inauguration in U.S. history, Biden took his oath of office before a small, socially distanced audience in a city that has been locked down because of the dual threats of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 400,000 people in the U.S., and worries over another attack just weeks after the deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol.

In attendance at the scaled-down ceremony were most members of Congress and the Supreme Court and former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and their spouses, as well as Vice President Mike Pence.Among those who were not was President Donald Trump, making him the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration in more than 150 years.

As he left the White House on Wednesday morning, he told reporters that serving as president was “the honor of a lifetime” and claimed that “we’ve accomplished a lot.”

Trump and first lady Melania Trump then participated in a send-off ceremony before a small group at Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland, where the outgoing president said about his exit, “hopefully, it’s not a long-term goodbye.”

“We will be back in some form,” Trump said. “We were not a regular administration.”

Trump, who spent months falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen from him, also wished his successors good luck — although he never referred to Biden or Harris as the president or vice president.

“I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular,” he said.

Trump then boarded Air Force One for one final trip down to his Mar-a-Lago resort in southern Florida.

He left Biden a note before he left the White House, as is custom, the White House said.

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Afghanistan: 37 killed, over 70 injured as blast hits Shia mosque in Kandahar

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(Asian News Hub) – Suicide bombers assaulted a Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 70, Associated Press reported quoting hospital official and an eyewitness.

The attack on the Imam Barga mosque came a week after a bombing claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.

Also Read: Amit Shah warns Pakistan, refers to surgical strike

Murtaza, an eye-witness who like many Afghans goes by one name, said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque. Two detonated their explosives at a security gate, allowing the other two to run inside and strike the congregation of worshippers.

Speaking to The Associated Press by phone, he said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people.

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At least 20 killed, over 300 injured in an earthquake in Pakistan

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(Asian News Hub) – At least 20 people were killed and over 300 others injured after a powerful 5.9 earthquake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province early on Thursday, October 7, 2021, according to PTI quoting media reports.

Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase, Geo News reported.

According to the seismological centre, the epicentre was located near Harnai at a depth of 15 km.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said many of the dead were women and children.

The quake affected Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob in Balochistan.

Images on social media showed people in the city of Quetta out on the streets in the aftermath of the quake, Dawn newspaper reported.

Aftershocks are still being felt in different areas. The earliest tremors were felt at 3:20 am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their houses reciting verses from the holy Quran. Relief and rescue activities are underway, with an emergency declared in all hospitals.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Harnai Sohail Anwar Hashmi, several people have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

He said that several buildings in Harnai have been damaged. Many people were left buried under the rubble.

The power supply to the area has been suspended, he said.

According to the rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reported damaged in Harnai.

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World surpasses 5M COVID-19 deaths

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(Asian News Hub) – The coronavirus death toll around the world surpassed 5 million on Friday, according to Reuters’s tally.

Around the world, an average of 8,000 deaths a day were reported, according to the outlet. However, it noted that the global death rate has slowed in recent weeks.

Reuters reported that it took over a year to accumulate 2.5 million deaths, but it took under eight months to accumulate the second 2.5 million deaths.

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