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JERUSALEM -- Israel said Friday it will transfer around 1 million doses of soon-to-expire coronavirus vaccines to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for a similar number of doses the Palestinians expect to receive later this year.
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India switches rollout policy but still short of vaccines

NEW DELHI -- Starting Monday, every Indian adult can get a COVID-19 vaccine dose for free that was purchased by the federal government.
The policy reversal, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, ends a complex system of buying vaccines that worsened inequities in administering the shots.
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New Zealand PM Ardern gets 'pain-free' COVID-19 vaccine shot

WELLINGTON -- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received the her first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, as the country steps up efforts to inoculate its population.
The Pacific island nation shut its borders and used tough lockdown measures to become one of the few countries to have virtually eliminated COVID-19 in the community, but the government is facing criticism for a slow rollout of vaccines.
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Iranians vote in presidential poll marred by disqualified candidates

Iran began voting Friday in a presidential election tipped in the favour of a hardline protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, fuelling public apathy and sparking calls for a boycott in the Islamic Republic.
State-linked opinion polling and analysts put hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi as the dominant front-runner in a field of just four candidates.
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Iran votes in presidential poll tipped in hard-liner's favour

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -- Iran began voting Friday in a presidential election tipped in the favor of a hard-line protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, fueling public apathy and sparking calls for a boycott in the Islamic Republic.
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Hong Kong newspaper increases print run after arrests

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily on Friday increased its print run to 500,000 copies as residents showed support for the beleaguered press freedom a day after police arrested five top editors and executives and froze US$2.3 million worth of assets under the national security law.
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Biden makes Juneteenth a U.S. federal holiday, commemorating end of slavery

Black Americans rejoiced Thursday after U.S. President Joe Biden made Juneteenth, June 19, a federal holiday, but some said that, while they appreciated the recognition at a time of racial reckoning in the country, more is needed to change policies that disadvantage too many of their brethren.
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Hong Kong newspaper increases print fivefold after arrests

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily increased its print run more than fivefold to 500,000 copies as residents lined up Friday to buy the paper in a show of support for beleaguered press freedoms, a day after police arrested five top editors and executives.
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North Korea vows to be ready for confrontation with U.S.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his government to be fully prepared for confrontation with the Biden administration, state media reported Friday, days after the United States and other major powers urged the North to abandon its nuclear program and return to talks.
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Millions driven from homes in 2020 despite COVID-19 crisis: UN

GENEVA -- The UN refugee agency says war, violence, persecution and human rights violations caused nearly 3 million people to flee their homes last year, even though the COVID-19 crisis restricted movement worldwide as countries shut borders and ordered lockdowns.
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North Korea's Kim vows to be ready for confrontation with U.S.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his government to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation with the Biden administration -- but more for confrontation, state media reported Friday, days after the United States and others urged the North to abandon its nuclear program and return to talks.
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States across the country are scrambling to close their government offices Friday after U.S. President Joe Biden signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
While June 19 -- which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States -- falls on a Saturday this year, governors across the country announced in quick succession a range of plans for their state offices Friday, the closest workday to the new holiday.
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Ex-President Gbagbo back in Ivory Coast after acquittal

ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST -- Former President Laurent Gbagbo returned home to Ivory Coast on Thursday, a decade after his refusal to concede defeat in a presidential election sparked months of violence that left more than 3,000 people dead.
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