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President Ilham Aliyev attends 2nd Summit of World Religious Leaders

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The 2nd Summit of World Religious Leaders has today kicked off in Baku.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva are attending the Summit.

Prior to the Summit, a joint photo was taken.

The event started with the recitation of verses from the holy Quran.

President Ilham Aliyev is making a speech at the Summit.

Held as part of the events organized on the 70th anniversary of Sheikhulislam Allahshukur Pashazade, the Summit brings together leaders and representatives of more than 70 countries, 25 traditional religions and religious sects from 5 continents, as well as about 500 high-level representatives from around 10 influential international organizations.

The Summit aims to contribute to the development of inter-religious dialogue, promotion and evolution of such human values as mutual understanding and human solidarity. The event will feature discussions on topics as “Azerbaijan’s exemplary role in promoting multiculturalism, tolerance and interreligious solidarity”, “Sheikhulislam Allahshukur Pashazade’s contributions to the development of interfaith and inter-civilizational cooperation”, “Religious leaders against terrorism, aggression, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia.

The Summit will see the adoption of the Baku Declaration.

On April 11, 2019, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed an Order to set up an Organizing Committee as Baku will host the 2nd Summit of World Religious Leaders.

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Europe must do more to protect its rivers and lakes scientists

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More than 5,500 scientists have signed an open letter saying that Europe is facing a severe threat to its freshwater biodiversity and must do more to protect its rivers and lakes, Reuters reported.

The letter follows the release of a report by the EU’s own environment agency, EEA, which said that nearly two thirds of freshwater bodies across the continent are unhealthy.

The scientists call on the European Union to intensify its efforts to ensure freshwater diversity.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, more than 1 million species worldwide are at risk of extinction due to humans’ pursuit of economic growth. Freshwater species are especially at risk. Worldwide populations have crashed 83% in the past decades.

Water is also at risk of becoming an increasingly scarce resource as climate change exacerbates pressures on the water sources of half a billion Europeans who depend on it.

The EEA has said nearly half of all habitants in the countries around the Mediterranean experienced some form of drought in the past summers.

The EU policy protecting the bloc’s waterways, the Water Framework Directive, was introduced in 2000. Since its inception, implementation has been lacklustre.

The new head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has committed to fighting biodiversity loss as part of her European Green Deal, an ambitious plan which would make Europe the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050.

The scientists wrote: “There cannot be an effective European Green Deal without healthy water ecosystems at the heart of it.”

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Peles last Brazil jersey sells for 30000 euros in Italy

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The jersey worn by Brazilian football legend Pele during his final match for the five-time world champions has sold for 30,000 euros ($33,000) in an action in Italy, AFP reported.

The three-time World Cup winner wore the jersey in a friendly against Yugoslavia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in July 1971, the last time he played for Brazil.

Pele, 79, regarded as among the greatest footballers of all-time, scored 77 goals for Brazil in 92 appearances.

The shirt was the highlight of objects which went under the hammer at the Bolaffi auction house in Turin on Thursday.

Other sporting memorabilia included the yellow jersey won by Italian cycling star Fausto Coppi on his way to victory in the 1952 Tour de France, which sold for 25,000 euros.

A rare blue Juventus jersey worn by Italian defender Luciano Spinosi in the final of the 1971 UEFA Cup sold for 9,400 euros.

Another shirt worn by Argentina legend Diego Maradona during his time playing for Napoli in the 1989-90 season sold for 7,500 euros.

A bat used by US basketball great Michael Jordan during his brief foray into baseball fetched 425 euros.

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Japan launches human trial of new Ebola vaccine

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Japanese scientists will begin the country's first human trial for a new vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus this month, they said Friday, AFP reported.

The vaccine, which has previously been tested in monkeys, uses an inactivated form of the virus that can only effectively replicate in artificial cells.

Scientists hope that will make it safer than other treatments, the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo said in a press release.

"We think there's high hope for a new, safe vaccine which can be produced effectively," Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a professor of infectious diseases at the university who helped developed the vaccine, said in the release.

The university will begin the clinical study later in December, injecting 30 healthy adult men with two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart.

They will be monitored for side effects and whether they have developed immunity to Ebola.

The Ebola virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person.

The death rate is typically high, ranging up to 90 percent in some outbreaks, according to the WHO.

Several Ebola vaccines exist, including rVSV-ZEBOV and a new formula produced by a Belgian subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that went into use last month in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country is in the grip of an Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 people in 15 months.

It is the second most deadly to date after a 2014-2016 outbreak which left some 11,000 people dead and underscored the urgency to bring a vaccine to market.

The current outbreak is the tenth in the country since its first in 1976.

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