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Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

To set the tone for his inauguration the next day, President-elect Biden will lead a memorial to remember and honor lives lost to COVID-19, with church-bell ringings and light shows across the country on Tue., Jan. 19, at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Driving the news: The Presidential Inauguration Committee is announcing Thursday morning that a D.C. ceremony, led by Biden, will feature lights around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool — the first time lighting around the Reflecting Pool has memorialized American lives lost. 

  • "PIC is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C., in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET [15 minutes after sunset] in a national moment of unity and remembrance," the committee says.

PIC communications director Pili Tobar said in a statement: "The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey."

  • "However, in the midst of a pandemic — when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors — it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation."

Go deeper: Ahead of scaled-down inauguration, Biden details three-part "100-day challenge"

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Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

15 mins ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.