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Eight Fantastic Autumn Food Weekends in the UK


There are some fantastic autumn food weekends in the UK. Whether you’re into artisan produce or the most stunning botany, this weekend is guaranteed to have something to suit your taste buds.

New Forest

The New Forest has some fantastic opportunities for foodies in autumn. You can visit a local fruit orchard, enjoy a traditional New Forest cream tea, and see a huge variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables in the countryside. The New Forest is a fantastic place to go for a family outing, and there are a number of food events happening throughout the year.


If you love eating local food, the autumn season is a great time to explore Carmarthenshire. This partly coastal area is home to some award-winning food producers and diverse landscapes. The county has a great mix of outdoor activities that you can enjoy all year round. It is located between Pembrokeshire and the Gower Peninsula in South West Wales.


The autumn season is a wonderful time to explore the UK’s great food and drink scene. From Yorkshire’s famous gourmet farmer’s markets to the succulent seafood of Kent, autumn in England offers a diverse range of food and drink experiences.

North Yorkshire Moors

Autumn is the perfect time to indulge in some of the finest food in the UK. From scrumptious seafood to foraged delights, the autumn months bring a feast of flavours to savour. North Yorkshire’s rich natural heritage also provides some of the best opportunities to sample local produce. There are plenty of foodie activities to take part in, including foraging on the shoreline and artisanal bread-making classes.

Melton Mowbray

The East Midlands Food Festival is one of the country’s largest and most interesting food festivals. This weekend will offer the chance to sample food from across the region and beyond. This event will feature gourmet delicacies, artisan cheese, and charcuterie. As one of the largest food festivals in the UK, it will also feature a number of local cider and beer producers and spirits companies.

Melton Mowbray food festival

For over a century, the Melton Mowbray food festival has been a staple of the town’s agricultural scene. Its annual event includes a Street Food arena, where you can sample a variety of international cuisines. Other highlights include a farmers market and an antique market. The town has also hosted a weekly market for almost a thousand years, and its market has been mentioned in the Domesday Book since the 11th century. It also received the royal seal of approval in 1324.

Taste Cumbria

In the UK, autumn is a great time for food festivals. In the Lake District, the annual Taste Cumbria festival draws 40,000 visitors each year and is considered one of the country’s best. The event has a wide range of activities and is packed with independent producers. There’s a kids’ zone, hedgerow-based cordials, and artisan cheeses.

Allium at Askham Hall Penrith

Located within the Askham Hall hotel, Allium at Askham Hall Penrith has recently gained a Michelin star. Head chef Richard Swale uses seasonal and local produce to create a unique dining experience. The kitchen also raises its own chickens. The menu offers dishes such as turbot with gnocchi and geranium cream with Campari granita. A maitre de maison talks guests through wine pairings and helps them select the right one.

7 Great Arts and Crafts Hotels and Houses in Britain


If you love art and architecture, you can’t miss a stay at a hotel with Arts and Crafts features. From city hotels to country houses, there is a hotel for you. From the Grade II-listed Oak Lodge to the sweeping views of Jesmond Dene House, these hotels are sure to inspire you.

Oak Lodge is a country house hotel

The Oak Lodge is a charming Arts and Crafts style country house in the village of Great Barton. It is about 3 miles from Bury St Edmunds, and offers easy access from the A14. Oak Lodge offers cosy rooms with flat-screen TVs and heating. It also has off-road parking and a cosy shared lounge.

The Arts and Crafts style of Oak Lodge has a distinctly English feel. While this hotel is essentially English in design, the decor is pleasantly eclectic, making it ideal for a relaxing country holiday. The quaint touches can surprise visitors. For instance, in the evening, you’ll be greeted by a wooden dog that fooled night porters. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the hotel’s thoughtful designs take into consideration your needs. The Oak Bedroom, for example, features distinct zones made to take advantage of its dual aspect. In keeping with the style of the hotel, the color palette is muted and earthy.

Maplehurst is a Grade II listed house

Secluded in its own grounds in Galashiels, Maplehurst is an Arts and Crafts home with many original features. It was commissioned by Andrew Fairgrieve in 1904 and melds features of Canadian Art Deco with traditional Arts and Crafts design. The interiors of the house feature stained glass windows, oak floors and massed plantings of rhododendrons. A private garden boasts forty-five listed trees. While the interiors of the hotel are decorated in classic decor, guests can expect to find modern comforts, including free WiFi and soft drinks in the lobby.

Located in the countryside, the property boasts a spectacular location and five bedrooms. The master suite includes a refrigerator, dressing room, and en-suite bathroom. Guests can explore the landscaped gardens, which used to be a part of the estate at Standen.

Jesmond Dene House is a city hotel

Jesmond Dene House is set in a wooded valley and is a Grade II-listed Arts and Crafts mansion designed by Georgian architect John Dobson. Although the house is small by modern hotel standards, its historic style and calming surroundings make it an excellent place to stay. The hotel boasts a beautiful garden, a river and wild animals visiting its garden.

The hotel’s cuisine focuses on fine, flavoursome dishes and local produce. The kitchen prides itself on its high-quality ingredients and sources them ethically. They also strive to source as much produce as possible from local, organic farms. Guests can enjoy a meal in one of the two dining areas, which are decorated with simple candlelight and white tablecloths.

Oak Lodge is a Grade II listed house

Oak Lodge is an Arts and Crafts style house and B&B in Great Barton, Suffolk. It is 3 miles from Bury St Edmunds and has easy access to the A14. The lodge has 3 bedrooms and features oak beams and a feature oak staircase with a large window overlooking a beautiful garden. It also has a large dining room and shared lounge area. The hotel has off-road parking.

Hintlesham Hall is a country house hotel

Hintlesham Hall is a 16th-century Grade I-listed country house in England. Originally a single-storey Tudor hall, the property was acquired by the Timperley family in 1454. The property was later owned by Richard Lloyd, the future solicitor-general, and Richard Powys, the 4th Duke of Norfolk. From then until the early 1900s, the hall was passed down through descendants.

Known for its symmetry, elegance, and history, Hintlesham Hall has a stately exterior and lush, romantic grounds. The Georgian exterior hides the 16th-century origins of the building. Tudor red brick adorns the hall, and the oak staircase leading to the north wing dates to the Stuart era. Inside, you’ll find lofty Georgian reception rooms and Victorian function rooms ideal for private parties and other special events.

Lindisfarne is a Grade II listed house

Lindisfarne is the perfect destination for a family holiday or a romantic getaway. The picturesque island is home to the historic Lindisfarne Priory, which was destroyed in the ninth century by Vikings. You can visit the Lindisfarne Gospels museum and St Mary’s Church, which is one of the oldest buildings on the island. You can also admire Fenwick Lawson’s famous sculpture, depicting monks carrying St Cuthbert.

Located on a tidal island, Lindisfarne is a true gem of Northumberland. The idyllic island is filled with ancient history and unspoilt nature. Separated from the British mainland by a causeway, Lindisfarne is an island of peace and quiet, surrounded by sea, mountains, and countryside.

Coleton Fishacre is a Grade II listed house

The building dates from 1923-6. It was designed by Oswald Milne, who had previously worked as an assistant to Sir Edward Lutyens. He was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, which advocated simple, elegant design and high craftsmanship. As a result, there is virtually no decoration on the exterior, although a stone sundial carved in the style of Tutankhamun’s tomb has been placed in the grounds.

Coleton Fishacre was once considered to be an important modern country house. It is set in a wooded valley and sits in the south-east corner of Devon. Its gardens feature rare trees, water features, and moisture-loving plants. The architect was a pupil of Sir Edwin Lutyens.

7 Great Holiday Destinations in France


France is a wonderful holiday destination and it has something to offer everyone. Paris, the City of Light, is a city that is packed with iconic landmarks and attractions, superlative shopping, and plenty of activities. Here are some of the top holiday destinations in France. And if you’re looking for a more relaxed holiday, you’ll find the country’s charming countryside to be the perfect place to get away from it all.

Saint-Paul de Vence

Saint-Paul de Vence is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department of France. It is a popular holiday destination because of its picturesque coastal setting. It is also a popular place for wine tasting and enjoys a long, mild Mediterranean climate.

The town is also home to the famous Saint-Paul cathedral, which is located in the town’s ancient square. It attracts visitors and locals alike, and the area is always buzzing with activity. If you’re hungry, a great place to grab a bite to eat is La Fontaine, which is right above the square. The restaurant features a wonderful menu and a stunning view of the historical square.


In Normandy, Mont-Saint-Michel is a tidal island and mainland commune. It is one of France’s most popular holiday destinations and is a wonderful place for families. It is also a popular destination for couples and honeymooners.

The average temperature in Mont-Saint-Michel is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it a perfect place for sightseeing. However, it is chilly at night, and visitors are advised to bring warm clothing. Also, make sure to wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking and stair climbing, so it is important to have sturdy shoes.

Les Alpilles

Les Alpilles is a sequence of limestone mountains dotted with picturesque villages. While St-Remy and Mont-Saint-Michel are popular day-trip destinations, the rest of Les Alpilles is virtually unspoiled. For example, the medieval village of Maussane, on a 100-acre property, is less visited by tourists. You can explore the castle there, which is on a steep cliff, and admire the spectacular views of the Alpilles.

The region is also famous for its chestnuts. These prickly, round nuts are a perfect Christmas gift. The southeast region of the Ardeche produces around 5,000 tons of chestnuts a year. Visitors can also explore the Monts d’Ardeche national park and take half-day hikes. The Volane Valley is also popular with kayakers and swimmers.


Auxerre is a city in Burgundy, France. It is the capital of the department of Yonne and the fourth-largest city in the Burgundy region. The city has a population of around 35,000 people. It is also known as “Auxerrois,” which refers to the people who live in the town.

The medieval Gothic cathedral, with its beautiful stained-glass windows, towers over the esplanade in the city centre. The town hall is located on Place de l’Hotel de Ville, which is pedestrianised. There is also the Tour de l’Horloge, a 15th century astronomical clock that stands on the foundations of a Gallo-Roman gate. The clock shows the movements of the sun and moon.


The city is located in the southern part of the country, near the border with Spain. It was originally a small fishing village, but the aristocracy soon flocked here for its beaches, good food, and relaxed atmosphere. You can explore the city on foot or take a train. There is a small and charming historic cathedral in the city center. It’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway.

Cap d’Osne

With its pristine beaches and secluded coves, Cap d’Osne is a perfect spot for a romantic getaway with your partner. The town is a popular destination for whale-watching enthusiasts, thanks to its proximity to the Mediterranean sea. Visitors can join boat trips organized by dedicated whale watching companies, who also educate guests about the protection of these incredible creatures.

The resort has a charming medieval centre, squeezing between the Thiou River and the Canal. The most iconic landmark is the Palais de l’Ile, a medieval castle now turned museum. From here, you can walk along the picturesque Lake Annecy.


Banyuls is a great place to go on a holiday. It is in the Cap d’Osne region and has plenty of narrow streets. The tourist office has marked out a walking route through the town. The town is home to some interesting historical monuments, including the Eglise de la Rectory, which dates back to the 12th century.

The town is located near the border with Spain and is renowned for its picturesque architecture. It also has some of the finest beaches in France. There are a few beaches to choose from, including Fontaule beach, which is in the center of town and close to restaurants. The quieter Sana beach, near the Helio-Marin center, is another great option. There are also plenty of vineyards in the area, which make for an enchanting setting.

Attacks in France and Austria: Europe’s response to extremism


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This Friday marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris terror attacks, in which 130 people were killed. The last few weeks have seen more bloodshed, with attacks in the Paris region, in Nice and in the Austrian capital Vienna. European leaders are looking for solutions: ways to stop hate being preached, broadcast and acted upon, while defending individual freedoms of speech and of conscience. In our debate we ask two leading members of the European Parliament, from France and from Austria, what they believe should be done.


Produced by Yi Song and Perrine Desplats

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning


Our guests

  • Andreas SCHIEDER, Austrian MEP, Socialists & Democrats
  • Nathalie LOISEAU, French MEP, Renew Europe

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Covid-19: ‘There is no choice between lives and livelihoods,’ OECD chief Gurría says


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As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of the year, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development backs measures seen by many as tough. Ángel Gurría tells FRANCE 24: "If you win the battle against the virus first, you will have less economic consequences." He adds that "there is no choice between lives and livelihoods; it's a false dilemma".


Mexican economist Ángel Gurría has been Secretary-General of the OECD since 2006 – throughout the global financial crash and subsequent recovery.

With hopes now high for viable vaccines against Covid-19, he's telling world leaders that the solutions to health and economic crises must carry the elements of our solutions to the environmental crisis too: "The single most important inter-generational responsibility is with the planet. That means the recovery, where we are going to make investments that have an impact for the next 30, 40 years, must absolutely have the sustainability of the planet in mind".

On the recently announced Pfizer vaccine, Gurría says: "It is a game changer […] The possibility of a vaccine being close is of enormous consequence. We still have to wait for it to be finalised, approved and distributed in sufficient amounts that it can get everywhere, so we are calculating that we are going to spend most of 2021 still living with the virus. But it changes expectations; the whole mood has improved considerably since the announcement."

On the refusal of Donald Trump, leader of the OECD's biggest single funder, to concede defeat in the US presidential election, Gurría sounds an upbeat note: "I believe that we will have an orderly transition of power in the United States come 20th January 2021. I believe in the institutions in the United States, I believe that the political forces in the United States will eventually align."

Finally, as talks drag on over a new Brexit deal on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, Gurría says he still expects a deal to be struck: "I believe that the common interest will lead to a deal […] The impact in Europe is going to be limited to the trade with the UK. The impact in the UK is going to be very serious, not only because of the flows of trade and flows of investment, but also because the overall business mood will be affected. So I am still counting on a deal."

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet

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Brexit architect Dominic Cummings steps down as PM Johnson’s top advisor


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Dominic Cummings, the controversial brains behind the 2016 campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, on Friday stepped down as Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide.

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Amid speculation that he would leave the government at the end of the year, Dominic Cummings was pictured Friday leaving from the front door at 10 Downing Street.

Cummings was due to leave at the end of the year, reports said, but he was seen walking out of Johnson's 10 Downing Street office on Friday carrying a cardboard box.

A government source confirmed he would no longer be officially employed from "mid-December".

Cummings, a chief architect of the campaign to have Britain leave the European Union, has been a divisive figure inside the Conservative government since Johnson became prime minister 16 months ago. His position weakened earlier this year after he drove hundreds of miles across England after contracting Covid-19, violating national lockdown rules and leaving the impression that elite officials didn't have to obey the same onerous rules as everyone else.

The episode fuelled criticism of the government’s handling of the pandemic after delays in the expansion of testing and efforts to avoid a second national lockdown in England. That lockdown was finally imposed last week, but it couldn’t stop the UK from becoming the first country in Europe to pass 50,000 deaths during the pandemic.

'Boris's brain'

Nicknamed “Boris' brain'', Cummings has also been the target of complaints from senior members of Johnson’s Conservative Party, who say that unelected advisers in the prime minister’s Downing Street office were effectively running the government, sidelining ministers and Parliament.

Bernard Jenkin, chairman of an influential committee of Conservative lawmakers, said Cummings’ resignation is an opportunity for Johnson to “reset how the government operates”.

“I would suggest there are three words that need to become the watchwords in Downing Street: they are respect, integrity and trust,” Jenkin told the BBC. “And certainly in the relationship between the Downing Street machine and the parliamentary party, there’s been a very strong sense that that has been lacking in recent months.”

Despite winning an 80-seat majority in last December’s general election, Johnson’s government has been forced into a series of embarrassing policy reversals in recent months, stoking criticism that Cummings was giving the prime minister bad advice.

In addition to his stance on lockdown, Johnson has backtracked on decisions to let the Chinese technology giant Huawei participate in building Britain’s new mobile phone network; one to use an algorithm to assign grades to students after annual school tests were cancelled due to the pandemic; and a third not to extend free meals to poor children when schools were closed as Britain faced rising unemployment due to the pandemic.

'Weirdos and misfits'

In a January blog post, Cummings called for changes in the way government works, claiming that the civil service didn’t have enough expertise in some fields. He infamously said “weirdos and misfits with odd skills” could help the government develop better policies.

In that post, Cummings said he wanted to make himself “largely redundant” within the next year.

In his Thursday interview with the BBC, Cummings said rumours that he had threatened to resign this week were untrue, but that “his position hasn’t changed since my January blog”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps downplayed Cummings’ departure, saying he has achieved many of the things he set out to do.

Adversarial approach

Cummings’ signature policy goal was Brexit – ensuring Britain’s departure from the EU – and that process is scheduled to be completed at the end of this year. More recently, he has taken the lead in rolling out mass testing to help control Britain's Covid-19 outbreak, and that programme is now being rolled out.

“It’s always been good to have somebody in the room who sort of shakes things up, asks why, doesn’t take no for an answer,” Shapps said. “And that’s been very much the way Dominic Cummings has been able to bring his talents to No 10, but he’s ready to move on.”

But Cummings has been criticised for creating an adversarial relationship between the prime minister’s office and those he thought stood in his way, including civil servants, the BBC and backbench lawmakers.

Jenkin said there has also been a breakdown in Johnson's government, with Johnson appointing inexperienced Cabinet ministers then dictating policies to them, rather than having ministers take responsibility for their departments.

Cummings’ departure is an opportunity to reshuffle the government and bring in more experienced ministers, Jenkin said.

“If you don’t have the corporate memory, well then history repeats itself and people make the same mistakes, or certainly mistakes that can be avoided,” Jenkin said.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)

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As schools shut across the US, Europe made it a mission to keep them open


But as he announced the new restrictions, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin emphasized that schools and childcare facilities should stay open. "This is necessary because we cannot and will not allow our children and young people's futures to be another victim of his disease. They need their education," Martin said.There has been a similar story in many European countries including Germany, France and England, which made it their mission to keep in-person learning going, even as they imposed strict measures to combat the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. In contrast, major cities in the United States, including Detroit, Boston and Philadelphia, are shutting schools and moving classes online in a bid to stave off rising infection rates.Younger students attend class in Knutsford, England, at the start of a four-week national lockdown on November 4."There are rates of infection at which is too dangerous to keep schools open, and that has happened in a number of places in Europe," Anthony Staines, professor of Health Systems at Dublin City University, told CNN.But he said that the major response should be "effective, highly resourced public health.""Schools do spread this virus, but they're not a major route of spread," he added.Staines said it was appropriate for different places to employ different measures "because their economic situation is different, the spread of the virus is different." Israel, for example, faced major outbreaks linked to schools.School closures "may be part of a response for a period of time" but "with appropriate knowledge, information and understanding, closing schools is not required," he added."European countries have made a choice, I suppose, that trying to keep schools open is very important."

US school shutdowns

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) announced Thursday it was suspending all face-to-face instruction because of the city's rapidly increasing infection rate. Classes will move entirely online, starting Friday until January 11. The DPSCD said the decision was made with the city's health department, after the infection rate neared 5% last week and has been increasing this week. If the rate improves, the district will consider reopening learning centers before January 11, it said in a statement.New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned at his Thursday briefing that the city is preparing to shut its schools if the test-positivity rate continues to increase.New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned that public schools, like this one in Kew Gardens, could be on the verge of closure.The city is currently seeing a 2.6% test-positivity rate on a seven-day average. De Blasio previously said schools would close if that figure reached 3%. The mayor said that if schools shut, "our hope would be to make it a very brief period of time," adding that despite growth in the positivity rate, there was still time to turn the number around. The School District of Philadelphia announced Tuesday all schools will remain fully virtual until further notice.The city's schools have been using digital learning since September 2 and were supposed to start the transition process to a hybrid model on November 17. Chief of Schools Evelyn Nunez told school leaders in a letter obtained by CNN that remote learning would continue for now, "to help safeguard the health and well-being of our staff, students and families."Boston public schools had begun a phased reopening, with the city's highest-need children returning from October 1. Three weeks later, just as kindergartners were due back, the city returned to remote learning."It was devastating for me to have to close the schools," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told CNN's Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow at the time, citing the city's positivity rate moving from 4.4% to 5.7% in a week as the major factor.Walsh told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room the city felt the number was "a little on the edge there for us to continue to have in-person learning for our high-needs students. It was a really difficult decision."Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a statement she was "heartbroken" about closing schools. "Our families are desperate for these services for their children, many of whom are non-verbal and unable to use technology in the home," she said.Des Moines and Iowa City are also closing schools for two weeks.

European alternative

Not all leaders believe that such a step is necessary, however. France and England entered month-long second national lockdowns on October 28 and November 4 respectively. In both countries, non-essential businesses, restaurants and bars have closed, with residents only allowed to leave home for work, medical reasons, exercise or grocery shopping.One key difference from the spring lockdowns in these two countries is that they have chosen to keep schools open.Amanda Spielman, chief education inspector at UK education watchdog Ofsted, said in a report published this week that the decision to keep schools open during England's second lockdown was "very good news indeed." "The impact of school closures in the summer will be felt for some time to come — and not just in terms of education, but in all the ways they impact on the lives of young people," she said.The Ofsted report, published on Tuesday, found that some children had seriously regressed because of school closures earlier in the year and restricted movement.A ventilation system installed in a classroom in Mainz, western Germany, on November 12.It found that younsters without good support structures had in some cases lost key skills in numeracy, reading and writing. Some had even forgotten how to use a knife and fork, the report said. Some older children had lost physical fitness or were displaying signs of mental distress, with an increase in self-harm and eating disorders, while younger children had lapsed back into using diapers, it found.Some children in Europe, the US and across the world have been missing schooling during the pandemic because of a lack of access to technology — and it's hitting low-income students much harder."In places that have shut schools extensively, there is significant risk of educational interruption," Staines said, adding that "children from poorer and more deprived backgrounds lose more and take a lot longer to recover from what they've lost."He said school also "provides an extensive childminding service," allowing families to participate in the economy. A fall in referrals to social services also raised alarm in the UK that abuse may be going undetected. German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged this risk on October 28 when she announced a partial national lockdown to fight rising infections in the country, saying restaurants and bars would close and people should minimize contacts for four weeks from November 4.Merkel said schools and kindergarten would stay open, with strict hygiene measures, not only as "an educational mission," but because spring had shown "what dramatic social consequences it has when children cannot go to school or the daycare center.""This has a direct impact upon families. To say it clearly: Violent assaults against women and children have increased dramatically," the German leader said.The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported in August that children accounted for fewer than 5% of coronavirus cases in the European Union and UK. It said closures were unlikely to provide significant extra protection for children's health.While they may present a small risk to grandparents, Staines said, "the major risk to grandparents is the older adults in the house."Many European schools have introduced measures like ventilation, mask-wearing and holding classes outside or in small, distanced groups."Both Europe and the United States have made a mess of managing Covid," added Staines. "Lockdowns are not for controlling infections in populations, lockdowns buy you time to bring in public health measures. They buy you time to do contact tracing," he said."Make schools safe by making the rest of society safe. So as the rate of infection falls in the community, the risk of schools falls."

Nadine Schmidt, Maria Fleet, Amy Cassidy, Elizabeth Stuart, Annie Grayer, Evan Simko-Bednarski, Sheena Jones, Jennifer Henderson, Gregory Lemos, Barbara Wojazer, Lindsay Isaac and Claudia Otto contributed reporting.

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Italy extends ‘red zones’ as number of Covid-19 cases hits new record


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Restrictions aimed at slowing a surge in coronavirus cases will be extended in various Italian regions, with both Tuscany and Campania set to be designated as high-risk "red zones", the health ministry said on Friday.

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Italy registered a record 40,902 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total since the disease came to light in February to 1.107 million – a threefold increase in barely a month.

Looking to limit the spread, the government last week created a three-tier system, with varying degrees of curbs in each area, initially placing four regions in a red zone, two in an orange zone and the rest in a moderate-risk yellow zone.

It tweaked the zoning at the start of this week and revised it again on Friday after reviewing the latest data, including local infection rates and hospital occupancy.

Tuscany and Campania will be added on Sunday to the red list, joining the wealthy northern regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Valle D'Aosta, the province of Bolzano and Calabria in the toe of Italy.

People living in these areas are only allowed to leave their homes for work, health reasons or emergencies. Bars, restaurants and most shops must remain closed.

Nine regions in orange zone

Nine regions will now sit in the intermediary orange zone – Emilia-Romagna, Friuli, Marche, Abruzzo, Basilicata, Liguria, Puglia, Sicily and Umbria. Just five remain in the yellow zone, including Lazio, centred on Rome, and Veneto.

Campania has jumped straight from the yellow to red zone after medics warned that the health system there was close to collapse, with huge queues building outside hospitals and some patients put on oxygen in their cars as they awaited admission.

But even in the north, officials have warned that hospitals are struggling to cope as the number of coronavirus sufferers climbs ever higher and staff battle exhaustion.

"We had just four cases here in Lombardy in August. Now we have more than 800 (intensive care) beds occupied by COVID-positive patients," said Enrico Storti, director of the intensive care unit in a hospital in the northern town of Lodi.

"We now know what to do, we are now for sure better prepared compared with the first wave … but we are also tired and it is not easy to find the same energy, to find the same strength that we were able to use in the first hit," he told Reuters.


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Nagorno-Karabach villagers burn down their houses before Azerbaijan handover


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Villagers in Nagorno-Karabakh set their houses on fire Saturday before fleeing to Armenia ahead of a weekend deadline that will see parts of the territory handed over to Azerbaijan as part of a peace agreement.

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Residents of the Kalbajar district in Azerbaijan that was controlled by Armenian separatists for decades began a mass exodus this week after it was announced Azerbaijan would regain control on Sunday.

Fighting between the separatists backed by Armenian troops and the Azerbaijan army erupted in late September and raged for six weeks, leaving more than 1,400 dead and forcing thousands to flee their homes.

In the village of Charektar, on the border with the neighbouring district of Martakert which is to remain under Armenian control, at least six houses were on fire Saturday morning with thick plumes of gray smoke rising over the valley, an AFP journalist saw.

"This is my house, I can't leave it to the Turks," as Azerbaijanis are often called by Armenians, said one resident as he threw burning wooden planks and rags soaked in gasoline into a completely empty house.

"Everybody is going to burn down their house today… We were given until midnight to leave," he said.

Fresh ceasefire agreement

On Friday at least 10 houses were burned in and around Charektar.

The ex-Soviet rivals agreed to end hostilities earlier this week after previous efforts by Russia, France and the United States to get a ceasefire fell through.

A key part of the peace deal includes Armenia's return of Kalbajar, as well as the Aghdam district by November 20 and the Lachin district by December 1, which have been held by Armenians since a devastating war in the 1990s.

Russian peacekeepers began deploying to Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday as part of the terms of the accord and took control of a key transport artery connecting Armenia to the disputed province.

Russian military officials said the mission consisting of nearly 2,000 troops would put in place 16 observation posts in mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor.


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Austria goes into national lockdown Tuesday as Covid-19 cases rise


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Austria will introduce a national lockdown on Tuesday in a bid to bring its soaring coronavirus infections under control, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Saturday.

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Non-essential shops will close and the current curfew from 8pm to 6am will be expanded into an all-day requirement to stay at home, with specific exceptions such as shopping for essentials or exercise, Kurz said. People should work from home wherever possible, he added.

The lockdown is due to last almost three weeks, with the last day set for December 6.

The Austrian government had so far used a lighter touch in dealing with the second wave of coronavirus cases than the first.

A nighttime curfew this month failed to stop infections from accelerating. Daily new cases hit a record of 9,586 on Friday, nine times higher than at the first wave's peak.


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So Many Factors Can Trigger Your Caffeine Headaches — Heres the...

For me, the smell of freshly brewed coffee is the equivalent of a comforting, warm hug. Those first few sips hardly disappoint either, as I'm instantly energized to take on the day. But, all good things come to an end after too many caramel-infused cups leave me with a headache. That's just one example of how complicated my relationship with caffeine can be — and I know I'm not alone in feeling this love-hate connection. "Genetically, we all metabolize caffeine differently. Although caffeine can help to reduce headaches (by restricting inflammation!), it can also bring one on by its impact of narrowing blood vessels in the brain," Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN, a Clear Probiotics scientific advisor and the president of KAK Consulting, says. The amount of sleep you're getting, your diet, if you're prone to migraines, and your water intake directly influences your caffeine-headache vulnerability, she adds. That's why talking to a doctor about your lifestyl..