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Friday 11th December 2020

Africa

The world has now passed 70 million recorded COVID19 infections. The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have expressed concern that vaccinations against COVID19 will not be equally distributed around the world. Director of the ACDCP, John Nkengasong said yesterday that it will be terrible to see rich countries receiving COVID19 vaccines, while African countries do not. The World Health Organization started its COVAX scheme this year - which aims to provide vaccines to poorer countries , however, Nkengasong said that COVAX will not take Africa to the goal of vaccinating 60% of the population - the amount needed to reach herd immunity.

Morocco and Israel have agreed to normalize relations. Until now Morocco did not recognize the existence of Israel. Morocco is the fourth Arab state to recently normalize relations with Israel, after Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan. The United States sponsored the deal, and it appears that The United States offered to officially recognize The Western Sahara as part of Morocco. The Western Sahara is a disputed territory in the South of Morocco that claims independence. Yesterday US President Trump posted a Tweet that said that because Morocco recognized the United States in 1777, the US should recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

In Ghana official results have declared President Nana Akufo-Addo won a second term as president in Monday’s election, winning 51% of the vote. His main rival, former president John Mahama has said that he wishes to fight the result. Ghana’s Parliament was divided almost in half, with 137 seats going to Akufo-Addo’s NPP party, and 136 going to Mahama’s NDC party. There is one seat left to be declared.

Europe

The European Union and The United Kingdom have said that a final decision on a trade deal will happen this weekend. After leaving the European Union in January, the UK has been in a transition period which will finish on the 31st December. Economists have warned of bad consequences if a deal is not reached, however, both sides are saying that this is now likely. Yesterday, EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that her talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson have been difficult...

“I had a very long conversation yesterday night with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It was a good conversation but it is difficult. We are willing to grant access to the single market to our British friends - it is the largest single market in the world. But the conditions have to be fair. And we will take a decision on Sunday.”

Italy has charged 4 Egyptian security officials with the murder of an Italian student. Giulio Regeni was murdered in 2016 in Cairo, and his family say that he was tortured before being killed. Many reports say that Egypt’s security forces have tortured and killed political opponents since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power in a coup d’etat in 2013.

The European Union has agreed to a coronavirus recovery package. Over seven years 1.82 trillion euros will be spent to help the economy recover from the pandemic.

Asia

In Afghanistan, a journalist and defender of women’s rights - Malala Maiwand - was murdered yesterday, as well as her driver. More from Khadija Tahir...

“In the Afghan city of Jalalabad, a female journalist - Malala Maiwand - was shot dead yesterday. Maiwand was also a social activist who had been very vocal about the problems faced by female journalists in Afghanistan. Her mother, a well-known activist, was killed by unknown gunmen five years ago. No group has claimed responsibility yet. There have been multiple targeted attacks on Afghani activists and politicians in recent months which were condemned by NATO and the European Union. Talks continue between The Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar.

Japan has reported a record number of daily coronavirus cases - reporting 2,811 on Wednesday. A record 555 people are in hospital with serious COVID symptoms. Experts are calling this Japan’s third wave, despite Japan having one of the lowest death rates in the developed world. Japan has reported 2400 COVID deaths since the pandemic began. The United States reported over 3,000 deaths on Wednesday alone

Americas

In Argentina Congress is debating the legalization of abortion. A vote is expected next week on whether to change the current law- which prohibits abortions, except in cases of rape, or if the mother’s life is at risk. In 2018 the congress voted in favour of legalizing abortion, however the senate rejected it.

And Google has released its top searches for 2020. Many are related to the coronavirus, such as “how to make a mask” and “how to make hand sanitizer.” Food results were a mixture of healthy recipes and people trying to make their own version of fast food brands, such as KFC.

That’s your Simple English World News for this week. Find the transcript for this episode, and past episodes, at send7.org. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great weekend, and I will see you on Monday.

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