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Friday 12th March 2021

Americas

In the United States, President Joe Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion dollar relief package yesterday. On Wednesday Congress approved the law, despite no Republicans voting for it. One part of the package is a direct payment of $1400 dollars to most Americans. Anyone who makes less than $75,000 dollars a year will receive the money, approximately 85% of the adult population. Biden said that the package is about rebuilding the backbone of the country...

“Well this historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving the people of this country a fighting chance. That’s what the essence of it is.

In Argentina there have been protests demanding justice for footballer Diego Maradona. Maradona died in November, however some fans say that he was nt treated correctly before his death.

Africa

In Equatorial Guinea, Human Rights Watch say that the government has lied about the number of deaths from explosions last Sunday. State media has reported that 105 people died in explosions in an army base, however HRW say that it is much more. The group also said that people should send support directly to victims, because of high levels of corruption in Equatorial Guinea.

Tanzania’s opposition has claimed that President John Magafuli is receiving treatment for COVID19 in India. Magafuli has not been seen in public in 2 weeks and the government has not commented on his health. Magafuli has previously said that prayer and steam inhalation can prevent COVID19, and has attacked vaccines. Last month the vice-president of the autonomous region of Zanzibar died, weeks after testing positive for COVID19.

Europe

Asia

Pakistan has ordered a ban of TikTok for a second time. Khadija Tahir reports...

In Pakistan, the Peshawar High court has ordered a ban of the social media app Tik Tok. Tik Tok is one of the most popular apps in Pakistan, and this is the second time it has been banned for explicit content. The Chief Justice of Peshawar high court claimed that some videos on the app are unacceptable for Pakistani society and has ordered the Pakistani Telecommunication Authority to ban its service. Pakistan's authorities heavily monitor internet content and frequently bans web sites and social media apps. Rights groups argue that this is against the right to freedom of expression.

In Myanmar, Amnesty International has said that the military is using battlefield weapons on protesters. Yesterday United Nations special rapporteur for Myanmar Thomas Andrews said that At least 70 people had been killed by the military since it took power last month.

Japan honoured the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami yesterday. People held silence and released balloons to remember almost 20,000 people who died on March 11th 2011.

Europe

Denmark, Norway and Iceland have suspended the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID19 vaccine. Denmark said that it will not use the vaccine for two weeks after a woman died of a blood clot after receiving the vaccine. The European Medical Association said that there is no indication that the blood clots had been caused by the vaccine. Denmark’s Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said that it should be investigated. Spain said yesterday that it had not registered any cases of blood clots related to teh vaccine, and it would continue its use.

In Belarus, people have complained of the song choice for the Eurovision song contest. Rock band Galasy ZMesta was chosen by state-controlled media to represent the country. The band supports leader Alexander Lukashenko who has controlled Belarus since 1994. There have been constant protests against Lukashenko since an election in August, that was rejected as fraudulent by many countries and the European Union.

This week we asked listeners to tell us how they had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you to everyone who has responded so far. Mehedi Hasan from Bangladesh wrote us an email, in which he said that all of his family tested positive for COVID19 at the same time. They had high temperatures, were very tired and lost their senses of taste and smell, but luckily none of them needed to go to hospital. Mehedi said that the best moment was being able to have dinner with his family again after they had all recovered. In Italy Giuseppe Pini told SEND7 that the pandemic has left him living in a dictatorship which violates the constitution. Francesca, also from Italy, said that wearing a mask bothers her face...

“The coronavirus has caused me a lot of stress because I can’t go out with my friends freely, and because I don’t feel free as I was before. In addition, the mask bothers my face.”

Thank you Francesca. We will hear more messages on Monday. If you would like to tell your experience of the pandemic - positive or negative - send an email to podcast@send7.org or send an audio message at speakpipe.com/send7 Follow us on social media @send7podcast. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.

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