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KeithBinns/iStock(ATHENS, Greece) -- An earthquake hit Athens, Greece, on Friday, causing strong shaking in the capital city.

The earthquake was a 5.3 magnitude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and hit just after 2 p.m. local time.

The mobile phone network went down and there were some power outages reported around the city. The fire department is responding to calls of people trapped in elevators.

Otherwise, there was no reported serious damage or injuries immediately after the quake. The Acropolis Museum remains open, although many people around the city were sent home from work for the day.

It officially hit about 14 miles from Athens, the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center said, and lasted just a few seconds.

The last major earthquake to hit Athens was a 6.0 magnitude quake in 1999, which caused extensive damage and killed over 140 people.

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Marshall_Islands/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Parts of the Marshall Islands where the U.S. government carried out nuclear testing are more contaminated with radioactive material than Chernobyl and Fukushima, a new study found.

Researchers from Columbia University located external gamma radiation on nine islands and four atolls on the Marshall Islands, a chain of islands in the central Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the Philippines, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

In addition, soil samples from 11 islands in four of the northern atolls yielded radioactive concentrations, scientists found.

The U.S. military used two of the Marshall Islands' northern atolls, Bikini and Enewetak, for the testing of 67 nuclear weapons between 1946 to 1958, according to the study.

The activity caused "unprecedented environmental contamination" and long-term health effects for the indigenous residents, even beyond the islands where the testing occurred.

People on the islands of Rongelap and Utirik were affected by radioactive fallout that occurred on March 1, 1954, from the first-ever hydrogen test bomb known as Castle Bravo, which was the "largest nuclear test the United States has ever conducted," the study states.

Commack, New York, resident Joe Lofaso, 86, was in his early 20s when he was stationed on Bikini Island in 1954 with the U.S. Air Force and witnessed the detonation of Castle Bravo in the middle of the night, describing the dark sky as it transformed into a sight brighter than daylight.

"It was pitch black outside, and when it detonated, the nighttime turned to the eeriest, brightest day you could ever imagine -- way past normal daylight," he told ABC News. "And then it slowly went back to normal darkness."

Lofaso, who worked as an air traffic controller, said that while he and his colleagues were aware of the nuclear testing, they were not concerned about their health, and the military did not warn them about the possible health effects it may have.

However, when the hydrogen bomb went off, they were required to wear monitors around necks that checked for radiation levels, he said.

Exposure to very high levels of radiation, such as being close to an atomic blast, can cause acute health effects such as skin burns and radiation sickness as well as long-term effects such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

At the time, there were no inhabitants on the remote island other than members of the military and contractors, Lofaso said. The local populations were relocated to other atolls in the region before the testing began, according to researchers.

"The military was very concerned about keeping people away from the island," he said, adding that part of his job duties was to record anything they saw, such as fishermen approaching the lagoon.

The concentration of radioactive material is still so high in some areas of the Marshall Islands -- more than 60 years after the testing -- that it is from 10 to 1,000 times higher than portions of the Chernobyl power plant, which exploded in 1986, and the Fukushima power plant, which had a disaster caused by a tsunami and earthquake in 2011, according to researchers.

Some previous residents of the Bikini atoll resettled there in the 1960s after it was declared safe, but they left by 1978, "as it became clear that they were accumulating large exposures to radiation while living on the island," according to the study.

Lofaso has suffered bouts of cancer, including prostate cancer 23 years ago, skin cancers on his face and shoulder and cancer in both of his kidneys, he said, but it is unclear whether it was related to his time in the Marshall Islands. He is now cancer-free, he said.

Several decades ago, Lofaso received a letter from a fellow airman who participated in the operation and contracted cancer, asking him whether he had it as well, he said.

"I never heard from him again," he said.

A medical examination Lofaso underwent after receiving a letter from the Atomic Energy Commission about 30 years ago found that he was OK and radiation-free, he said.

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Family Photo(SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic) -- One of the 11 Americans who have died while visiting the Dominican Republic since June of 2018 died of "natural causes," according to the country's minister of tourism.

Tracy Jerome Jester Jr. of Forsyth, Georgia, died on March 17 after a day of sightseeing while vacationing with his sister at a resort, his mother, Melody Moore, told ABC News last week. The 31-year-old was planning to fly back to the U.S. the next morning but complained of vomiting and breathing problems the day he died, she said.

Jester's autopsy confirms that he died of "natural causes," according to a statement on Wednesday from the Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia. His official cause of death was listed as basal bilateral pneumonia, which produced a pleural effusion and acute respiratory insufficiency.

"We extend our sincerest condolences to Mr. Jester’s family," Garcia said.

The U.S. Department of State confirmed Jester's death to ABC News in a statement last week. The name of the resort where Jester stayed was not immediately available.

His body was returned to the U.S. on April 4. Moore said he had lupus and that "respiratory illness" was written on his death certificate, but she has not seen the document.

Because of the other reports of Americans dying in the country, Moore now wants "to know the truth" about Jester's death, Moore said.

The State Department said there was no immediate evidence linking Jester's death to any of the other tourists who have died, and that there has been no "uptick" in American deaths in the Dominican Republic, despite a recent rise in media attention.

Around 2.7 million Americans visit the Dominican Republic every year, Garcia said, adding that an intergovernmental National Tourism Safety Council is being formed to "safeguard the traveling public."

In addition, the government is establishing a multi-lingual tourist center, doubling hotel inspections to ensure strict compliance with food and beverage regulations, as well as environmental standards, and scrutinizing the professional qualifications of doctors and staff at medical offices within hotel facilities, Garcia said.

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Lance Cpl. Dalton Swanbeck/11th Marine Expeditionary Unit(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said that the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Boxer destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday that was "threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew."

"The Boxer took defense action against the drone which had closed into a very close distance, approximately a thousand yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew," Trump said at the White House. "The drone was immediately destroyed."

"This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters," he continued. "The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran's attempt to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce. I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Straight of Hormuz and to work with us in the future."

In a statement, chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said the incident occurred at approximately 10 a.m., local time, when the Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz, adding that the Iranian "fixed wing unmanned aerial system" approached the Boxer and "closed within a threatening range."

A U.S. official told ABC News that it was the Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit that destroyed the Iranian drone using counter-drone jamming equipment.

The Marines from that unit make up several thousand of the approximately 4,500 Marines and U.S. Navy sailors on board the Boxer.

Speaking to reporters at the United Nations in New York City on Thursday, Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, "We have no information about losing a drone."

About a fifth of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. It was over this strategic waterway where the U.S. said Iran shot down an American drone last month.

The U.S. has also blamed Iran for a June attack on two commercial tankers sailing in international waters in the Gulf of Oman. And Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Thursday it had seized a foreign oil tanker with 12 crew members aboard. Iran accused them of smuggling oil in the Persian Gulf.

The Trump administration has been urging allies to join a maritime security initiative to protect the Strait of Hormuz following these events.

Trump's nominee for defense secretary, Army Secretary Mark Esper, said at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that the initiative, called Operation Sentinel, would involve "passive patrolling in the Strait Hormuz ... to deter provocative actions by the Iranians or IRGC."

"The goal is to increase maritime domain awareness and surveillance capabilities in the region to dissuade malign action," Kathryn Wheelbarger, a senior Pentagon official who briefed NATO allies this week on the proposal, told Reuters.

The State Department and Pentagon are hosting a pre-planned meeting with foreign ambassadors in Washington on Friday to discuss the initiative.

Esper reiterated on Tuesday that the U.S. wants to get back on a diplomatic track with Iran, saying the administration would meet Iran "anytime, anywhere with no preconditions."

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Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Navy is conducting search and rescue operations in the Arabian Sea following reports of a missing U.S. Navy sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

A "man overboard incident" was reported aboard the Lincoln while operating in the Arabian Sea on Wednesday, the Navy's Fifth Fleet said in a statement.

"The Sailor’s name is being held in accordance with U.S. Navy policy," the statement said.

The aircraft carrier and the cruiser USS Leyte Gulf were joined by a Spanish frigate and Pakistani Navy ship in the search.

The Lincoln became the most-watched aircraft carrier in the world after it was rushed to the Middle East in early May in response to U.S. intelligence which indicated Iran and its proxies were planning an attack on U.S. forces in the region.

ABC News was among the first group of media outlets permitted aboard the carrier when it arrived in the Middle East. At the time, U.S. officials said the Lincoln's deployment had deterred Tehran from direct attacks against American interests. But less than two weeks later, the U.S. blamed Iran for shooting down an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

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JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images(KYOTO, Japan) -- More than two dozen people have died in a massive fire at an animation production studio in Kyoto, Japan, which investigators are treating as arson.

An official with the Kyoto fire department told ABC News that at least 33 people were confirmed dead. Dozens of others were reported injured.

The fire broke out Thursday morning at Kyoto Animation after a man, who police say is in his 40s, broke into the building and set it ablaze, the BBC reports.

The suspect was among those injured and taken to a hospital, according to the BBC.

In a post on Twitter, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the fire "too appalling for words."

The blaze, if an arson attack, could be the deadliest mass killing in Japan in three years. The last mass murder was in 2016 when 19 people were stabbed to death at an assisted living center near Tokyo.

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KeithBinns/iStock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran claims it has seized a "foreign vessel" carrying oil with 12 crew members aboard in the Persian Gulf, according to a statement from the country's Republican Guard carried by the state media agency Fars.

The statement says the tanker was carrying 1 million liters of smuggled oil that it had picked up from small Iranian ships and was sailing towards foreign ships with it. The ship was seized south of Lark Island in the Strait of Hormuz, the IRGC statement quoted by Fars says.

“During the patrolling mission in the Persian Gulf aiming at the discovery and confrontation with organized smuggling on Sunday, 14th of July2019, the IRGC’s first region navy patrol made the seizure of a foreign vessel in surprise after it made sure the vessel was carrying one million liters smuggled fuel. The seizure was coordinated with the judiciary and happened in the south of Lark Island," the IRGC statement says.

"This ship which has the capacity of carrying 2 million liter of oil, had 12 crew members on board and was sailing towards foreign ships farther away to take the smuggled oil it had got from Iranian dhows. But the mission was failed with IRGC fighters’ smart move,” the statement adds.

According to Fars, the IRGC’s Navy First Region statement denied western media’s claims about the seizure of any other ships over the past few days. It adds that the ship's smuggling case is on the judiciary process.

The statement also says the patrolling units of the IRGC Navy keeps confronting organized smuggling and will defend the interests of the Iranian nation.

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makasana/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union continued even as Apollo 11 astronauts were already walking on the moon.

Before the U.S. successfully reached the lunar surface, Americans watched the Soviet Union accomplish a few space exploration firsts. The Soviets put the first satellite, Sputnik I, and humans into orbit.

"Sputnik shocked the American public," Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong recalled in 2009 during the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's annual John Glenn Lecture Series. "We believed we were the most technologically advanced community in the world and how could this have happened."

When President John F. Kennedy challenged the U.S. to put a man on the moon in less than a decade, the Soviets made it their mission to beat them.

Their secret plan was to send an unmanned probe, Luna 15, and bring back soil from the moon. It was the second Soviet attempt to obtain and bring lunar soil back to Earth.

The Soviets launched Luna 15 three days before the liftoff of Apollo 11. Armstrong and his crew were still in the final stages of preparation, unaware that the Soviets were already on their way.

"The crew did not know about Luna 15 or its goal," Armstrong said. "Mission control informed the crew of the existence of the Soviet craft while they were en route to the moon."

The Soviets thought Luna 15 would land on the moon less than 2 hours after Apollo 11, but their landing was delayed 18 hours due to unknown terrain.

The delay allowed Armstrong and fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin to walk on the moon and start collecting samples before Luna 15 made contact.

When the Soviets finally tried to land Luna 15, just two hours before the Apollo 11 crew would lift off the lunar surface, the probe stopped communicating.

According to NASA, engineers believe Luna 15 "crashed into the side of a mountain due to a slight error in its descent angle."

"It was the ultimate, peaceful, competition: U.S.A vs. U.S.S.R.," Armstrong believed. "I'll not assert that it was a diversion which prevented a war, nonetheless, it wasn't diversion. It was intense and it did allow both sides to take the high road with the objectives of science and learning and exploration."

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Egyptian Ministry Of Antiquities Handout(CAIRO) -- Egypt has started a project to restore the wooden coffin of Tutankhamun for the first time since the boy king's tomb was discovered in 1922, the country's antiquities ministry said.

The process started after the coffin was transferred from Tutankhamun's tomb near Luxor to the under-construction Egyptian Grand Museum on the outskirts of Cairo a few days ago, ministry officials said in a statement Wednesday.

It was the only coffin left in the tomb after the two other coffins of Tutankhamun were moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir square in 1922.

"The coffin was moved amid security measures and under the supervision of the conservators and archaeologists in cooperation with the Tourism and Antiquities Police," the statement read.

Eltayeb Abbas, Director General of Archaeological Affairs at the Grand Egyptian Museum, said that the coffin will be displayed in the museum exhibition of King Tutankhamun's collection.

The myriad damage to the coffin includes "fractures to its gesso [plaster] layers," said Eissa Zidane, who is overseeing the conservation efforts.

The restoration process of the sarcophagus, which is made of wood and covered with gold, will take about eight months, he added.

In January, officials concluded a decade-long restoration of Tutankhamun's tomb.

To mark the centennial of the tomb's discovery by British Egyptologist Howard Carter, Egypt also embarked earlier this year on a world tour of 150 King Tut artifacts, including 60 pieces that have never left the country.

The exhibition kicked off in Paris in March and will move on to locations around the world including London, California and Sydney. The exhibit will run until 2021.

The Grand Egyptian Museum, which will house those artifacts and many others, is scheduled to open next year near the Giza Pyramids.

Tutankhamun, a pharaoh of the 18th Egyptian dynasty, ruled Egypt from 1332 to 1323 B.C.

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Motortion/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo an international emergency.

An emergency committee of experts convened by the WHO, the global health arm of the United Nations, recommended the decision after meeting in Geneva on Wednesday to reassess whether the current epidemic constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

"It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts. We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system," WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press conference.

This is only the fifth time in history such a designation has been used.

The committee had thrice declined to make such a proclamation, which often mobilizes more resources and commands global attention.

The move comes on the heels of the Ebola virus spreading to the Congolese city of Goma, a major transportation hub along the Democratic Republic of the Congo's eastern border with Rwanda that's home to more than two million people.

A confirmed Ebola case in Goma was announced late Sunday by the country's health ministry. The patient, a 47-year-old pastor, was transferred to an Ebola treatment center but died. Officials identified and vaccinated 40 confirmed contacts of the pastor in Goma as well as 37 "high risk" contacts, the ministry said.

A total of 2,512 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever -- which can be caused by Ebola -- in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's northeastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri since ‪Aug. 1, 2018. Among those cases, 2,418 tested positive for Ebola virus disease, according to the latest bulletin from the country's health ministry.

The current outbreak has a case fatality rate of about 67%. There have been 1,676 deaths so far, including 1,582 from confirmed cases of Ebola and the rest from probable cases, according to the health ministry.

Two people, including a 5-year-old boy who tested positive for Ebola after traveling home to neighboring Uganda, also died, according to the Ugandan health ministry. The boy was the first cross-border case in the ongoing outbreak.

The Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person, either directly or through contaminated surfaces, needles or medical equipment. A patient is not contagious until they start showing signs of the disease. The virus is not airborne, which means a person cannot get the disease simply by breathing the same air as an infected patient.

Since Aug. 8, 2018, more than 163,500 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in the outbreak zone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, using an experimental vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical company Merck.

This outbreak is infecting more children than previous ones-- 31% of total cases as of July 7, compared to 20% in previous outbreaks, according to the United Nations Children's Fund.

"Young children -- those below five years old, are especially hard hit," UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said at a press briefing Tuesday in Geneva. "They, in turn, are infecting women. Among adults, women comprise 57% of cases."

This is the 10th outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the most severe in the Central African nation since 1976, when scientists first identified the virus near the eponymous Ebola River.

It's second only to the 2014-2016 epidemic in multiple West African countries that infected 28,652 people and killed 11,325, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It's also the first Ebola outbreak in history to occur in an active war zone. The WHO has recorded at least 198 attacks on health facilities and health workers in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo since January.

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Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(SEOUL, South Korea) — A thorny trade dispute between South Korea and Japan could end up with "dire consequences" and "adversely affect companies like Apple, Amazon, Dell, Sony, and billions of consumers all over the world," a senior South Korean government official told foreign reporters in Seoul on Wednesday.

The official slammed the Japanese government for undermining principles of free trade and warned that if the latest export curbs against South Korea continues, "the global value chain will crumble."

Japan, in a surprise move, announced July 1 that it will implement tighter export curbs on essential chemical materials exported to South Korea. The materials – fluorinated polyamides, photoresists and hydrogen fluoride – are mostly imported by Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix to produce memory chips, displays and next-generation semiconductors. Semiconductors take up some 25% of Korea's exports.

Seoul hopes Washington would mediate

South Korea, the world's leading semiconductor manufacturer, was caught off guard by the move and hopes that the U.S. would mediate the dispute as the three allies face other political challenges in the region against China and North Korea, according to reports.

David Stilwell, new U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told reporters the U.S. "sufficiently understood the seriousness of the issue" and recognized that the two allies of the United States must work together.

"The truth is, no significant issue in this region can be resolved without cooperation between our two allies," said Stilwell after a series of meetings with top government officials in Seoul Wednesday.

Domino effect on global industries

Unlike trade of finished goods, high-tech industry goods that are sourced globally are interdependent. Countries that rely on South Korea's semiconductors such as United States, China and even Japan will all be adversely affected, analysts say, causing a domino effect on the global supply chain in computer and smartphone industries.

"In the worst case scenario, if an export of chemical materials such as etching gas (hydrogen fluoride) is restricted, Samsung factories cannot operate normally. That will subsequently affect the export of manufactured semiconductors from South Korea to China as well as to Japan. It will also be difficult for Chinese end-products to be delivered to the United States and Japan," Kim Hyun-Chul, an expert on Japanese enterprise at Seoul National University, told ABC News.

"U.S. electronics firms, many of which have large production hubs in both the U.S. and China, are vulnerable to supply shortages of South Korean memory chips, given the importance of South Korea as a supplier of chips to both China and the U.S.," Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit, told ABC News.

It's not only hardware such as mobile phones and electronic products but also data processing programs that would face supply shortage or delay.

"Memory semiconductor is an integral part of data processing center operated by global IT companies like Google and Amazon," Kim Yang Paeng, research fellow at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade, told ABC News.

History shadows politics

Japan's sudden exports curb on chemical products going to South Korea stemmed from a decades-long dispute between the two countries over Japan's atrocities during the occupation years from 1910 to 1945, namely controversial issues of "comfort women" and wartime forced labor.

South Korea's Supreme Court ruled last October and November that Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries must compensate Korean victims of wartime forced labor.

But Japan disputes the ruling, saying all reparations had already been settled in a 1965 treaty that normalized relations between the two countries.

"We cannot help but say the relationship of trust has been severely damaged," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told reporters in early July.

Three days later, another Tokyo official, Koichi Hagiuda, a senior member of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, threw a second punch at flabbergasted Seoul by claiming the restrictions were prompted by concerns that one of the three restricted chemical materials, etching gas, might be flowing into North Korea and could be used to produce chemical weapons. Hagiuda said there was "inadequate management" of sensitive items and a lack of information sharing on export controls.

Japan then took back the accusations last Friday, stating that its decision to impose restrictions on the export of high-tech materials to South Korea has nothing to do with North Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has put work into North Korea affairs since taking office, fired back loud and clear in a speech saying the accusations pose a "grave challenge" and Seoul has undoubtedly been "complying with UN Security Council resolutions and working within the sanctions framework."

Seoul hopes for diplomatic solution

"We should remember that science and technology is not a tool for war, which will only lead to tragic consequences," said the senior level South Korean government official. The two countries should resolve the "historical matters" in a constructive manner by dialogue and diplomatic negotiations and Seoul "will try to exercise flexibility," he said.

South Korea is contemplating the idea of resolving the issue through the Geneva-based World Trade Organization, but in reality, even the senior official admits that process will take years, after which it would be too late for Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix with only a few months worth of stockpiles left for production.

The topic is now formally included as the final agenda item at a two-day meeting of the WTO Council for Trade in Goods next week, Yonhap News reported.

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Pawel Libera/LightRocket via Getty Images(PARIS) -- Many paintings are moved around at the Louvre in Paris, but rarely is it one of the world's most iconic works.

For the first time in 14 years, Leonardo da Vinci's The Mona Lisa will be relocated so that its well-trafficked home, Room 711 in the Salle des États, can be renovated.

The painting is particularly fragile and can't be moved outside the museum. Painted in the 16th century on a thin panel of poplar, The Mona Lisa is kept at a constant temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit and a hydrometry of 50%.

The masterwork was moved between 1992 and 1995 and again from 2001 to 2005 during another round of renovations.

This most recent move is part of a larger renovation of the Louvre, which has seen attendance reach unprecedented levels, more than doubling over three decades. The museum was forced to close on May 27 because understaffed security employees were concerned about overcrowding.

Since 2014, tens of thousands of square meters worth of renovations have been undertaken.

Patrons wishing to view The Mona Lisa -- about 15,000 to 20,000 of whom seek out the painting daily -- can see it in the Medici gallery near works by Ruben in the meantime.

The Mona Lisa is scheduled to return to its permanent home in mid-October.

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Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) -- Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has remained publicly silent amid criticisms and name-calling in the press since her wedding to Prince Harry last year.

But the duchess gave a sign that she is aware of the negativity in a conversation she and Harry had with singer Pharrell Williams at the London premiere of The Lion King Sunday night.

Williams was heard on camera praising Harry and Meghan for their relationship, saying to them, "[I am] so happy for your union. Love is amazing. It's wonderful. Don't ever take that for granted, but what it means in today's climate, I just wanted to tell you, it's so significant for so many of us. Seriously ... We're cheering you guys on."

Meghan reached out and touched Williams' arm as she thanked him and said, "They don't make it easy."

Harry then whispered a reply in Williams' ear that made both him and Meghan laugh.

Williams finished the conversation by saying, "So you understand the significance. It's beautiful."

Meghan's remark that "they don't make it easy" came just a few days after she faced backlash for an appearance at Wimbledon to support her friend Serena Williams. She was accused of having extra tight security that left rows of empty seats around her and her friends and saw security guards appearing to chastise people who had cameras near her.

In February, five of Meghan's close friends spoke anonymously in a rare interview with People magazine to stand up to what they called "global bullying" of the duchess.

"Meg has silently sat back and endured the lies and untruths," one of the friends, described as a former costar of Meghan's, told the magazine.

"We worry about what this is doing to her and the baby," the costar said of Meghan, who was pregnant at the time with her first child, a son she and Harry named Archie. "It's wrong to put anyone under this level of emotional trauma, let alone when they're pregnant."

Meghan has been dubbed "Duchess Difficult" by the British tabloids and faced rumors of a feud with her sister-in-law Kate, who is married to Prince William.

She was also criticized for her and Harry's decisions to keep details of Archie's life private, like his christening and his birth.

"When you see her at walkabouts, when she crouches down to talk to the kids and genuinely has real conversations with people, that's Meg," Meghan's former costar told People. "That's how she crouches down with our kids at home. That's how she plays with them. That's how she engages with people and how she always has."

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iStock(LONDON) -- A pair of extremely rare conjoined twins were successfully separated after a total of 55 hours of surgery during a months-long endeavor to help them each live independent lives.

The odds were stacked against Safa and Marwa Ullah, now 2, from the moment they were born, according to the officials at the London hospital where the surgeries were performed. Not only were the girls conjoined twins -- a condition that occurs once in every 2.5 million births -- but they were also craniopagus twins, meaning they were joined at the head.

Conjoined twins occur once in about every 2.5 million births, according to officials at the London-based Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH). Yet only 5% of the world’s conjoined twins are craniopagus and of that number, about 40% are stillborn or die during labor while another third will die within 24 hours, according to GOSH officials.

The two were successfully separated after three major operations that took place over the course of four months and involved a 100-person team, hospital officials said.

"We are indebted to the hospital and to the staff and we would like to thank them for everything they have done," the twins’ mother, Zainab Bibi, said in a statement. "We are extremely excited about the future."

Born in January 2017 in the town of Charsadda in Pakistan, the family traveled to London to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children -- one of the few hospitals worldwide that has surgeons experienced in separating craniopagus twins.

Owase Jeelani, a neurosurgeon at the hospital who helped lead the surgeries, called the separation procedure "very complex."

"The secret of doing them properly is like any other complex problem," he said in a video explaining the surgery. "You break it down into smaller, much more manageable steps."

The team’s first step was to perform a detailed assessment of the twins, their brains and the blood vessels connected their heads. Once that was completed, the surgeries began. The first surgery took place in October 2018 and the last operation happened in February.

The first two procedures focused on separating the brain and the blood vessels, then placing a piece of plastic between the two brains, according to an animation video explaining the surgery.

The third procedure focused on the skull and used a technique known as tissue expansion to stretch out the skin. The reconstruction was then done with their own bones and covering the top of their heads with the expanded skin.

The collection of surgeries were deemed a success.

"We are delighted we have been able to help Safa and Marwa and their family," Jeelani said. "It has been a long and complex journey for them, and for the clinical team looking after them."

The hospital staffers that looked after Safa and Marwa remembered the girl’s distinct personalities.

"Safa has always been a bit boisterous," Lydia Lowe, a staff nurse, said in the video the hospital released that explained the surgery procedures.

"She’s always been the first to count or speak and Marwa is more cheeky where as soon as Saga goes to sleep, Marwa comes out to shine. It’s like Marwa’s time."

Jeelani said he is hopeful for the girl’s future and is optimistic they’ll be walking by their next birthday.

For now, they are recovering in a London home with their mother, grandfather and uncle after leaving the hospital on July 1. The twins continue to receive daily treatment and rehabilitation.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- A day after protesters clashed with police outside the governor's mansion, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello insisted that he would not resign his post.

Rossello said he understood that Monday night’s protests were a direct message against him and his administration.

"I will continue in my job," a defiant Rossello said from the governor’s mansion, adding "my commitment is to keep on working." He would not answer what it would take for him to resign and insisted that he still had the legitimacy to stay in office.

The island's embattled leader called Monday's clashes "unacceptable" and condemned the "vandalism, aggression and violence."

The third day of protests come after the nonprofit journalism group Center of Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of conversations that detail efforts to manipulate public narratives, operations to discredit negative press coverage and criticism of opposition leaders.

The conversations, made through the Telegram app, also contain sexist, homophobic and misogynistic comments from the members of the group, according to the report.

"I have not committed any illegal acts, or corrupt acts. I committed an improper act," Rossello said of the Telegram chat group messages.

Following the revelation of the messages, Rossello announced the resignation of a number of government officials including Luis Rivera Marin, the Secretary of State.

On Monday, the Old San Juan streets surrounding the governor's mansion were filled with hundreds of protesters calling for Rossello to leave.

Tensions escalated later into the evening when, according to police, some demonstrators threw rocks and tear gas at officers. Police responded with tear gas and the crowd disbursed at 1 a.m. Twenty-one police officers were injured in Monday's protests, officials said.

Police Commissioner Henry Escalera told a local television station during the unrest, "We will defend democracy... until the last drop of blood."

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a written statement on Tuesday that the latest political developments on the island "prove the President’s concerns about mismanagement, politicization, and corruption have been valid."

The governor responded to the White House’s comments, saying "Corruption is a social evil. It’s a social evil in the private sector, it’s a social evil in local government, it’s a social evil in the federal government."

Rossello addressed reports from El Vocero newspaper that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating the finances of Unidos por Puerto Rico, an organization launched by the governor and first lady Beatriz Rossello, to centralize donations to the island after Hurricane Maria.

He said that neither he nor his wife have been interviewed by the FBI as he distanced his administration from the fund, saying that his wife was only the spokesperson, but his administration had nothing to do with administering it.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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