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German president hails the contribution of migrant workers to the state, economy and society

German president hails the contribution of migrant workers to the state, economy and society

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaking on the 60th anniversary of the day Berlin signed a migration deal with Ankara that allowed tens of thousands of Turkish citizens to find jobs in Germany said that "being German today can mean having grandparents from Cologne or Königsberg as well as from Istanbul and Diyarbakir". He said that German identity now includes "all those who want to live peacefully in this land of law and freedom."

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EU countries start mass vaccination against covid-19

EU countries start mass vaccination against covid-19

A Europe-wide mass vaccination against the covid-19 virus started on Sunday (27 December) as part of an EU-wide effort co-ordinated by the European Commission. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had been delivered to all 27 member states.
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From Bethlehem to Rome, subdued Christmas celebrations amidst pandemic lockdown

From Bethlehem to Rome, subdued Christmas celebrations amidst pandemic lockdown

Bethlehem on Thursday ushered in Christmas Eve with a stream of joyous marching bands and the triumphant arrival of the top Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land, but few people were there to greet them as the coronavirus pandemic and a strict lockdown dampened celebrations in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
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Rumi goes virtual

Rumi goes virtual

The 747th anniversary of the death of the most important Sufi mystic and poet in the world, Jalal al-Din Rumi was commemorated during the “Seb-i Arus” ceremony held on December 17 at the Mevlana Cultural Centre in Konya, in Turkey. This annual commemoration was this year held in virtual format because of the coronavirus pandemic
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Improvised oral poetry remains a popular entertainment in Kazakhstan

Improvised oral poetry remains a popular entertainment in Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan,  improvised oral poetry, spoken or sung to the accompaniment of traditional musical instruments, has for centuries been a source of entertainment. The Kazakh government has since independence in 1991 been keen to promote the tradition, known in Kazakh as Akyndar Aitysy, since this is seen as a way of consolidating national identity.