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Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

The red carpet at this year’s Venice Film Festival is proving to be unlike any before it, with celebrities arriving on the island of Lido in face masks and gowns to a muted reception.

The 77th edition of the festival is one of the first major cultural events to take place in Europe since the coronavirus pandemic took hold on the continent, with the Cannes Film Festival canceling its 2020 event in May.

“We are not proud to be the first, after the forced pause, to be able to do so,” said Roberto Cicutto, president of festival organizer La Biennale di Venezia, in an online statement. “But we are proud of having shown… that it can be done, putting in place all the safety measures and presenting a program that has little to envy those of the preceding years.”

Those safety measures include mandatory face masks, temperature checks, physical distancing during screenings and a wall built around the red carpet to keep the public away.

Though attendance was much sparser than in previous years, celebrities still touched down on the red carpet in style. Tilda Swinton, who is a Chanel ambassador, arrived at the opening ceremony in a white blouse and black crepe layered skirt from the brand’s Spring-Summer 2020 Haute Couture collection. The glimmering gold carnival mask she carried was later traded for a loftier gold object: the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement, awarded to her during the event.
Tilda Swinton attends the opening day of the Venice Film Festival.

Tilda Swinton arrives for the festival’s opening ceremony and first screening holding a custom sea creature-inspired mask by artist James Merry. Credit: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Actor and jury president Cate Blanchett greeted festival director Alberto Barbera by touching elbows, with both wearing masks. Blanchett paired hers with an Esteban Cortazar cape dress she had previously worn to the “Carol” premiere at the 2015 London Film Festival.

Elsewhere, model Taylor Hill hit the red carpet in an Etro crystal-embroidered floral chiffon gown, while Roberta Armani impressed in a vivid blue number from her uncle Giorgio’s namesake label.

The future of cinema

This year’s Venice Film Festival opened with the premiere of “Lacci,” a romantic drama directed by Daniele Luchetti. The movie, which is set in Naples and depicts a marriage on the brink, has been compared to Noah Baumbach’s 2019 hit “Marriage Story.” The festival will also see the premieres of movies including the Greta Thunberg biopic “Greta,” Pedro Almodóvar’s Swinton-led “The Human Voice,” the moody Frances McDormand road trip story “Nomadland,” and the period love story “The World to Come,” starring Vanessa Kirby, Katherine Waterston and Casey Affleck.

A brief history of the red carpet

On stage at the opening ceremony, festival director Barbera voiced his concern about the future of cinema, as the pandemic could give streaming services a further edge over theaters. “The feeling of watching a film on the large screen with other people is in the very nature of the film industry,” he said. “We have to support cinemas. Many are still closed today, others will never open again.”

While accepting her Lifetime Achievement award, Swinton emphasized the tenacity of the film industry: “To come to Venice, this year of all years, to celebrate immortal cinema and her defiant survival in the face of all the challenges that evolution might throw at her — as at us all — will be my sincere joy.”

This year’s Venice Film Festival is being held at the Venice Lido and runs from September 2-12, 2020.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the best looks from Venice Film Festival’s red carpet. The gallery will be updated throughout the event.

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Poland’s biggest protests in decades stand against abortion ban

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Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski said more than 100,000 people were in attendance, while protest organizers put the figure at 150,000.

Police detained 37 people Friday evening, the vast majority of whom were football hooligans, Sylwester Marczak, spokesman for the Warsaw Police headquarters, said Saturday morning. Taking into account the huge number of participants, it was a “very peaceful” protest, he added.

Demonstrations of this scale were last seen in the Solidarity movement of the 1980s in Poland which led to the collapse of the government, analysts say.

The protest in Warsaw was the culmination of nine days of nationwide protests since a court ruling on October 22 deemed abortion due to fetal defects to be unconstitutional. This meant abortion in Poland would only be legal in two scenarios — if the pregnancy threatened the mother’s life and health, or if a woman became pregnant following rape or incest.

Demonstrators also turned out in Gdańsk, Białystok, Poznan, Kraków, Wroclaw, Torun, Sczescin, Myślenice, Gorlice and Jasło on Friday.

According to local media, 430,000 people attended more than 400 demonstrations across the country against the ban on Wednesday. Online supporters are using the tag #ThisIsWar to show solidarity with those marching.

Polish women disrupt church services in protest at abortion ban

The protests have been taking place in defiance of a ban on gatherings of more than five people due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aerial footage of the demonstration in Warsaw posted to social media showed the vast scale of the turnout there on Friday evening.

Protest organizers urged protesters to make their way towards the residence of Jaroslaw Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party Leader (PiS) who is widely seen as the de facto decision maker in Poland. The demonstration ended there at around 11 p.m. local time and organizers urged protesters to make their way home safely.

Kaczyński on Wednesday called the protesters “criminals” and said people taking part in mass gatherings were endangering people’s lives given the surge in coronavirus cases in Poland.

Thousands of protesters march towards the residence of ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski during the demonstration Friday in Warsaw.

Draft amendment

In an apparent softening of his stance, Polish President Andrzej Duda on Friday submitted a draft amendment to the controversial law which would legalize abortion in situations where the baby has “lethal defects” and would die soon after birth.

The amendment would mean abortion would remain legal in an event where “prenatal tests or other medical indications indicate a high probability that the child will be born still or burdened with an incurable disease or defect that will lead to the death of the child inevitably and directly,” according to a statement from Duda on Friday.

“It is an extremely delicate and painful situation for every mother, for every parent. In the case of lethal defects, the death of the child is inevitable. The protection of his life is therefore beyond human power,” the statement also said.

Duda had earlier clarified his stance on abortion in such cases in an interview with Polish radio station RMF FM. “You must clearly ask yourself whether anyone has the right to demand, or the law may require such a woman to… bear such a child in her womb and then bear the entire physical cost of birth,” Duda said.

Duda added that he did not think abortion should be legal in situations where a child has Down syndrome, for example, and the life of the unborn child is not at risk.

Poland moves to near-total ban on abortion, sparking protests

The ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal removed one of the few remaining grounds for legal termination in the country, which already had some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.

Abortions due to fetal defects comprised approximately 98% of all legal abortions carried out in Poland in 2019, according to data from the Polish Ministry of Health.

Asked about the ongoing protests across Poland over the controversial court ruling, Duda condemned the demonstrators who disrupted church services earlier this week.

“If we are talking about acts of physical or verbal aggression, if we are talking about invading churches, if we are talking about insulting religious feelings, profaning places of worship, I am sorry, but the boundaries are definitely exceeded here,” he said.

Abortion rights protest leaders have accused the populist PiS party of pushing the court to tighten abortion restrictions in order to please the party’s base, and the Church. Church leaders have denied influencing the change in law.

Covid warning

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday urged protesters not to go out on the streets as he announced further steps to try to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“I understand your anger, but I urge you to stay at home, especially for the sake of seniors,” he said.

The measures include closing cemeteries for three days, urging business owners to allow employees to work from home and urging older citizens to remain at home.

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told Polish news channel TVN24 on Friday that he looked with “great concern” at the protests and urged people to isolate themselves from those taking part, saying they could be more exposed to Covid-19.

On Friday, Poland recorded 21,629 new coronavirus cases, marking another record high in the country, where case counts have tripled in less than a month. A further 202 deaths were also reported by the Polish Health Ministry, with the total number of confirmed infections in the country surpassing 340,000.

CNN’s Zahid Mahmood contributed to this report.

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Coronavirus: Hungary and Poland see record cases

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Greece is the latest country to announce a partial lockdown, with restaurants and other leisure activities closed in major Greek cities from Tuesday. “We must act now, before intensive care units buckle under the strain of lives in danger,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday. Greece has not seen as many cases as other parts of Europe, but there has been a steady increase since early October

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Philippines typhoon: Evacuation ordered as Goni, the world’s strongest storm of 2020, approaches

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Typhoon Goni — known locally as Rolly — is a category 5 storm with 215 kilometers per hour (133 miles per hour) sustained winds and gusts of up to 265 kph (164 mph). It will make landfall on Sunday as the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines since Haiyan killed more than 6,300 people in November 2013.

Pre-emptive evacuations have started in coastal and landslide-prone communities in the provinces of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur, while the Albay provincial government will order residents in risky areas to leave their homes, Gremil Naz, a local disaster official, told DZBB radio station.

Earlier this week, Typhoon Molave killed 22 people in the Philippines — mostly through drowning in provinces south of the capital Manila, which is also in the projected path of Goni.

Authorities are facing another hurdle as social distancing needs to be imposed in evacuation centers to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Philippines has the second-highest number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia, behind only Indonesia.

At least 25 dead and scores missing after Typhoon Molave lashes Vietnam

Relief goods, heavy machinery and personal protective equipment are already positioned in key areas, Filipino Grace America, mayor of Infanta town in Quezon province, told DZBB radio. “But because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our funds for calamity concerns and expenses are insufficient,” she said.

Local officials canceled port operations and barred fishers from setting sail.

Typhoon Goni, moving westward at 20 kph (12 mph) from the Pacific Ocean, will bring intense rains over the capital and 14 provinces nearby on Saturday evening, and threats of floods and landslides.

Another typhoon, Atsani, is gaining strength just outside the Philippines. Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year.

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