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Friday 13th August 2021

Updated: Aug 28

Good morning. This is SEND7 World News in 7 minutes. I am Stephen Devincenzi. This will be the last episode of SEND7 podcast for two weeks. We are taking a short break and we will return on Monday 30th August. But today is Friday 13th August 2021.

Asia

In Afghanistan, Herat, the third largest city, has been captured by the Taliban. Herat is the eleventh provincial capital that has been taken in one week. The Taliban now control 65% of Afghan territory. There is major fighting in the second largest city, Kandahar, and some reports say that Kandahar is also under Taliban control. A United States intelligence report has said that the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, could fall to the Taliban within 90 days. The US and the United Kingdom are sending soldiers to Afghanistan to help to evacuate all of their citizens. France, Germany, Denmark and other countries have suspended deportations of failed Afghan asylum seekers. Yesterday Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to the media and criticised the United States and the Afghan government for saying that Pakistan has influence over the Taliban.

“The Afghan government is extremely critical about Pakistan. They think we have some magic powers that we will make the Taliban do whatever we want to do. They don’t realize that the Taliban - the moment the Americans started drawing down their troops - and especially when they gave an exit. From then onwards our leverage on the Taliban was miniscule - diminished. Because the Taliban thought that they had won the war - they had won the war by not losing to the Americans. And in their mind once the Americans had left, then they had won. So to try to persuade them when the time was given for exiting Afghanistan by Americas, it became extremely difficult to try to persuade them."

Chinese state media has removed references to a Swiss scientist, after Switzerland said that the scientist didn’t exist. State-owned media, such as China Daily and Global Times, said that a biologist named Wilson Edwards, had said the US was politicising the coronavirus pandemic. However, the articles were changed after Switzerland said that Wilson Edwards isn’t real.

Pakistan will not charge an 8 year old boy with blasphemy. Khadija Tahir reports...

In Pakistan, blasphemy charges against an 8-year-old Hindu boy have been dropped. The boy who was accused of urinating inside a Muslim religious school was the youngest Pakistani to ever be charged with blasphemy. After he was released on bail, a Muslim mob attacked and destroyed the local Hindu temple in the city of Rahim yar-khan. The temple has since been repaired by the government and reopened for the public on Wednesday. Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws have often been criticized by international human rights agencies.

Europe

Italy has recorded the hottest temperature ever in Europe. The Italian island of Sicily reported the temperature of 48.8 degrees Celsius on Wednesday. There are still fires in Sicily and other parts of Italy, as well as in many other Mediterranean countries. Algeria reported 65 deaths from fires this week. Tunisia also reported its highest ever temperature this week - 49 degrees Celsius.

In Germany a nurse is suspected of giving thousands of people a saline solution instead of their COVID19 vaccines. Although the solution is harmless, the people affected are believed to be mostly old and more at risk from coronavirus. Over 8000 people have been asked to return to vaccination centres,

Americas

In The United States Kathy Hochul has confirmed that she will become the governor of New York State on 24th August. Earlier this week Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he would resign because of sexual harassment allegations against him. Hochul is currently the lieutenant Governor of New York, effectively the deputy governor. She will be the first female Governor of New York.

“I spoke with Governor Cuomo yesterday and he pledged his full support for a smooth transition. And I thanked him for his service to our state.”

Argentina has criticised Iran’s selection of Interior Minister. Ahmad Vahidi has been chosen by new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, to be the new interior minister. However Argentina say that Vahidi was involved in the planning of a bombing in 1994 in Buenos Aires. The Argentinian government blame Iran and the Lebanese Islamist party Hezbollah for the attack on a Jewish centre that killed 85 people. Iran deny any involvement.

Africa

South African President Cyril Rampahosa has admitted that there was rampant corruption during the time he was Vice President under President Jacob Zuma. Ramaphosa was giving evidence to a judges about corruption during Zuma’s presidency. Ramaphosa said that his party, the ANC, are changing, and fighting corruption...

”But now, the game has changed. A line has been drawn in the sand and the ANC is saying that we are renewing ourselves.”

In Zambia there was a presidential election yesterday. This is the 3rd time that President Edgar Lungu and opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema have faced each other in a presidential eelction. In both previous elections Lungu won by a very small number of votes, and this election is also expected to be very close. The internet was largely restricted in Zambia yesterday.

And in Japan an Olympic gold medal is being replaced after the mayor of Nagoya bit it. Baseball gold medal winner Miu Goto, was in a press conference with Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura, when the mayor put the medal in his mouth. During the Tokyo Olympics it became a tradition for the winners to bite their medals.

That’s your world news in 7 minutes. Thank you to Sricharan from India for your Instagram story. We are taking a two-week break. The next episode of SEND7 will be on Monday 30th August. You can send us a message at send7.org or find us on social media @send7podcast. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.

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