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Man carrying Confederate flag during Capitol riot arrested



A Delaware man photographed carrying a Confederate battle flag during a deadly riot in the US Capitol has been arrested.

Federal prosecutors said Kevin Seefried was arrested in Delaware along with his son Hunter Seefried.

Prosecutors said both men entered the Senate building through a broken window.

They were charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and degradation of government property.

Members of the National Guard walk past the dome of the Capitol building (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Court documents say the men were identified after the FBI was told by a co-worker of Hunter Seefried’s that he had bragged about being in the Capitol with his father.

Earlier, a retired Pennsylvania firefighter was arrested on suspicion of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three police officers during the siege.

Former Chester firefighter Robert Sanford was arrested on charges including assault of a police officer and unlawfully entering the Capitol.

The charges against Sanford are not related to the widely publicised attack on an officer who was hit with a fire extinguisher and died.

Sanford is appearing in federal court in Pennsylvania but the case will be prosecuted in Washington.

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France tells citizens fabric masks not enough to protect from Covid



The French government is now recommending that people wear surgical masks in public because they offer better protection from Covid-19 transmission than fabric face coverings, French health minister Olivier Veran said today.

France already requires masks to be worn in public places, but until now has not made recommendations about the type of masks. French authorities are worried they could be hit by new, more contagious variants of the virus.

“The recommendation that I make to the French people is to no longer use fabric masks,” Mr Veran told French broadcaster TF1.

He also said it was very unlikely that restrictions on ski resorts, a hotspot for the virus at the start of the pandemic, would be lifted next month.

That effectively rules out a return to skiing in time for the February school holidays, normally the last peak skiing period of the season.

Mr Veran said that the government could not rule out a tightening of coronavirus restrictions if the situation with virus transmission deteriorates.

“We could be forced to take tougher measures than those that the French people dealt with this autumn. That could go as far as a lockdown if the situation were to require it,” he said.

France has reported over 71,000 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began. It is now at 35 per cent of its peak infection rate, according to Reuters data, well below its neighbour, Britain, which is at 70 per cent. French schools are still open, and non-essential shops are allowed to trade.

However, French public health officials say they have detected a rise in transmission rates in the past few days and they are also wary of the spread of new, more contagious variants of Covid-19 which are prevalent in other countries.

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Asia & Americas

Al-Arabiya TV: Saudi minister optimistic US ties will be ‘excellent’ under Biden



Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has voiced optimism that relations between Riyadh and Washington will be “excellent” under new US President Joe Biden, Al-Arabiya TV channel cited him as saying on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Appointments made by Biden show “understanding of the common issues” by the new US administration, Prince Faisal bin Farhan added, according to Twitter posts by the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based TV channel.

“The Biden administration will find that our targets regarding Yemen are the same,” Al-Arabiya quoted him as saying.

READ: Biden administration to declassify report about Khashoggi murder

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group after it seized the capital Sanaa.

Biden pledged during his election campaign to reassess ties with Saudi Arabia, demanding more accountability over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 and calling for an end to US support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab monarchies have long been allies of the United States, sharing the objective of protecting oil supplies from the Gulf region and containing Iran.

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