Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Nov. 16

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TEHRAN -- Iran on Monday registered 486 daily deaths over COVID-19 and 13,053 new cases over the past 24 hours, the highest daily figures since the outbreak of the disease in the country on Feb. 19.

Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said during her daily briefing that 3,133 of the newly infected patients were hospitalized.

The total number of confirmed cases has reached 775,121 in Iran, where the epidemic has by now claimed 41,979 lives, said Lari. (Iran-COVID-19)

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ISTANBUL -- The Turkish government opened on Monday an investigation against Ekrem Imamoglu, mayor of Turkey's biggest city Istanbul, over his objection to the planned Canal Istanbul.

Istanbul Municipality spokesperson Murat Ongun announced on his Twitter account that the Interior Ministry launched the probe, saying "it is not possible to oppose the principle of the integrity of the administration and state policy by using public funds." (Turkey-Istanbul-Canal)

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JERUSALEM -- Israeli officials said on Monday that the country will send an astronaut to space in 2021, for the second time in Israel's history.

The announcement was made at a press conference by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Ran Livne, director-general of the Ramon Foundation, a non-profit group that will coordinate the mission. (Israel-Astronaut)

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CAIRO -- The 42nd edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) will feature 84 long and short movies from 43 countries, said Mohamed Hefzy, the CIFF's president in a press conference on Monday.

Some 20 world premieres will be screened in the CIFF that is scheduled to be held from Dec. 2 to Dec. 10 at the Cairo Opera house. (Egypt-Cairo Int'l Film Festival) Enditem

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