Fireworks over Moscow as Russia scales back Victory Day celebrations amid COVID-19 | AFP

Fireworks are seen over Moscow at night to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, amid the coronavirus outbreak. With cases surging and authorities urging Russians to stay in their homes, celebrations of this year’s Victory Day were muted after the Kremlin grudgingly postponed plans for a grand parade with world leaders. IMAGES

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Trump joins World War II vets at V-E Day ceremony

Seven World War II veterans, ages 96 to 100, joined President Donald Trump at a wreath-laying ceremony in Washington, D.C. Friday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe. (May 8)

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Russia WWII survivor aids needy during lockdown

As a child during the World War II siege of Leningrad, Galina Yakovleva learned how to make the best of fearful times. (May 8)

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Large French flag hangs from Eiffel Tower to mark 75 years since end of World War II | AFP

A large French flag flies above the first level of the Eiffel Tower as part of the annual 8 May commemorations. This year marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe but ceremonies have had to be scaled back and held without the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. IMAGES

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Angela Merkel attends ceremony marking 75 years since end of WWII | AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier attend a ceremony in Berlin marking 75 years since the end of World War II. IMAGES

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French President Emmanuel Macron lays wreath ahead of 8 May ceremony | AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron lays a wreath of flowers in front of the statue of General de Gaulle on the Champs Elysées in Paris before presiding over the 8 May commemorations under the Arc de Triomphe, marking 75 years since the end of World War II. IMAGES

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London’s Trafalgar Square near-empty for silence to mark VE Day | AFP

A small number of people gather in Trafalgar Square for a two-minute silence to commemorate VE Day in London. Europe and the United States mark 75 years since the end of World War II on Friday in a sombre mood as the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of elaborate ceremonies even as Berlin declares an exceptional holiday for the first time. IMAGES

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Red Arrows flypast to mark VE Day in London | AFP

Red Arrows flypast to mark VE Day outside Horse Guards Parade in London. Europe and the United States mark 75 years since the end of World War II on Friday in a sombre mood as the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of elaborate ceremonies even as Berlin declares an exceptional holiday for the first time. IMAGES

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World War II survivor survives COVID-19

Tony Vaccaro has survived an abusive childhood as an orphan during the Depression, the devastating Battle of Normandy as a GI during World War II, and a potentially lethal bout with the COVID-19 virus this April, at the age of 97. (May 8)

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Today in History for May 7

Highlights of this day in history: The Lusitania sunk in World War I; Nazi Germany signs surrender in World War II; Vietnam’s Battle of Dien Bien Phu; Composer Peter Illych Tchaikovsky born; Glenn Miller records ‘Chattanooga Choo-Choo.’ (May 7)

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Europe set to mark 75 years since defeat of Nazis

Europe is preparing to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis and the end of World War II on Friday, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (May 6)

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Born in a concentration camp: the Holocaust’s youngest survivors | AFP

Two survivors of World War II share the same seldom discussed experience: they were born in Nazi concentration camps in 1945. Hana Berger Moran was born on April 12 in the Freiberg subcamp in eastern Germany and Florence Schulmann on March 24 in Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany. Their mothers were deported while pregnant, from Poland in the case of Schulmann, and from Czechoslovakia in Berger Moran’s case.

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Today in History for May 2nd

Highlights of this day in history: Nazi Germany’s capital Berlin falls in World War II; Artist Leonardo da Vinci dies; Civil War Gen. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson killed; Nelson Mandela claims victory in South Africa vote; Singer Bing Crosby born. (May 2)

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Russia set to unveil giant ‘Orthodox Cathedral of Armed Forces’ | AFP

A giant Orthodox cathedral located at Patriot military park outside the Russian capital is slated to be unveiled next month to celebrate victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Besides the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, the church also glorifies other “feats of arms of the Russian people” including Moscow’s takeover of Crimea in 2014, according to Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson. Standing 96 meters tall and crowned by six golden globes, the cathedral will be Russia’s third-largest Orthodox Christian church. The unprecedented project has been steeped in symbolism, with the bell chamber’s height — 75 meters — symbolising the 75th anniversary of victory over the Nazi. Melted-down elements of Nazi tanks and planes have been used to build the cathedral’s steps, the defence ministry spokesman said. Even before its formal opening on May 9, the church has become the target of fierce criticism and ridicule. It will be the first time that the Russian Orthodox Church has agreed that the image of Stalin — who famously clamped down on religion — appear in a cathedral, historians said.

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Romans fly flags and sing ‘Bella Ciao’ from windows to mark Liberation Day | AFP

Residents of a building in Rome wave Italian flags and sing along to ‘Bella Ciao’ to celebrate Liberation Day. The national Italian holiday commemorate the end of Nazi occupation during World War II and the victory of the Resistance in Italy. IMAGES

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Today in History for April 25th

Radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi born; ‘America’ first used on a world map; U.S. and Soviet troops meet in World War II; The Hubble Space Telescope deployed into orbit; Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald born. (April 25)

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Coronavirus: pandemic worst crisis since World War II, says UN head — 1st April | AFP

Authorities in India are struggling to keep citizens off the streets during a nationwide three-week lockdown. So in some cities police have resorted to unusual tactics, wearing coronavirus-shaped helmets in an effort to raise awareness. In other parts of the world, governments have been advising against April Fools’ Day pranks. The deadly virus outbreak has already been accompanied by a deluge of online misinformation.

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Coronavirus: Italy mourns its dead at end of fateful month with minute of silence | AFP

Italy marks a minute of silence and flies flags at half mast to mourn 11,591 people who have died of the coronavirus pandemic that has altered the Mediterranean country’s life. The nation of 60 million has recorded nearly a third of all fatalities cause by the once-in-a-century disease since first detecting it near Milan in late February. The day of mourning marks a month in which Italy saw more deaths from a single disaster that at any time since World War II.

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Seniors show resiliency in face of coronavirus

Social distancing rules are affecting U.S. seniors in nuanced ways. Many are resilient and say the coronavirus crisis reminds them of World War II rationing and past disease epidemics. Others are isolated and lonely in senior homes. (March 27)

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Can We Trust Russia’s Low Coronavirus Infection Rate?

MOSCOW – The fight against coronavirus has stopped performances by the world famous Bolshoi Theater company, something that even World War II couldn’t do.

It’s part of Russia’s efforts to contain an outbreak which President Putin claims as “a whole is under control.”

For weeks, Russia only reported a handful of infections. Then on Monday, that number went from 63 to 93. The next day it was 114, and the day after 147.

The government jumped into action— closing the border to foreigners, banning gatherings of more than 50, and forcing residents returning from abroad to self-isolate. Muscovites responded by stockpiling, emptying supermarket shelves and wearing face masks.

But for some experts this response might be coming too late. Anastasia Vasilyeva, Head of an independent doctors union, Doctors Alliance told VICE News, “Across the country, there are a huge amount of patients with pneumonia … we cannot ignore the coincidence and link these pneumonia cases with Coronavirus. In my opinion, there are tens of thousands of cases that we don’t know about.”

She’s not the only one who is worried that the rate of infection in a country of 146 million people, that borders China on one side and Europe on the other, seems suspiciously low. Especially because most people who arrived from abroad haven’t been tested.

Although Putin claims Russia has curtailed the spread of the epidemic he’s called for an increase in the production of tests and more supplies of medicine and equipment. The government has gone so far as to order prisoners to start making face masks.

But for Vasilyeva, the national response isn’t going far enough: “Russia is absolutely not ready for the epidemic. I am more than sure that even serious cases and deaths will be simply hidden from the population.”

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