Xinhua world news summary at 1530 GMT, Feb. 25

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ADDIS ABABA -- Around 2,000 fighters in Ethiopia's western Benishangul-Gumuz regional state have surrendered, an Ethiopian official said on Thursday.

Ashadli Hassen, president of Bensihangul-Gumuz regional state, said the 2,000 fighters surrendered after recent security sweeps by the Ethiopian army forced the fighters to give up their weapons. (Ethiopia-Fighters-Surrender)

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HELSINKI -- Staring on March 8, Finland will go into a three-week lockdown as the country faces a surge in COVID-19 infections, the Finnish government announced on Thursday.

The new rules will include the closure of bars and restaurants and expanded remote learning in a large part of the country, including the capital region, but there will be no curfews. (Finland-Covid)

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN -- Brunei's Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said on Thursday that the temporary suspension of cross-border activities between Brunei and Malaysia will be extended for another two weeks until March 10.

Temporary suspension on the entry of foreign nationals from Malaysia, including transits through Brunei via land and sea ports, is extended by 14 days, until March 10, the PMO was quoted as saying in a statement by the local daily Borneo Bulletin. (Brunei-Malaysia-Transit Suspension)

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GABORONE -- Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has launched a new funding program dubbed Grand Challenges Botswana, to support innovations that can accelerate progress towards achieving national development priorities and economic transformation.

"Launching Grand Challenges Botswana today, gives me renewed hope that we are on course towards achieving our national Vision 2036 aspirations. We are looking at a five-year implementation plan in which we target supporting key projects that will scale commercially, locally and regionally, building a portfolio with potential to create jobs," said Douglas Letsholathebe, minister of tertiary education, research, science and technology on Wednesday. (Botswana-Fund-Innovation)

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BERLIN -- After a couple of spectacular heists in Germany, the government announced Thursday it would launch a program to help cultural institutions expand security measures so as to better protect national art and cultural treasures.

For this purpose, the German government would provide up to 5 million euros (6.1 million U.S. dollars) this year. Cultural institutions, such as museums, archives and exhibition halls, could apply to fund the installation of structural, mechanical or electronic security measures against burglary and theft. (Germany-Heist-Cultural Treasures) Enditem

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