Near Libya, in the Mediterranean sea, at least 90 people have died after refugee boats have sunk in the last 3 days. One of those killed was a 6 month old boy from Guinea, names Joseph. Over a hundred survivors were taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa. This year at least 800 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration.
In Ethiopia yesterday Prime Minister Amiy Ahmed said that the west of the Tigray region had been ‘liberated’. Last week the Ethiopian military began a military campaign against local Tigray soldiers. It is expected that thousands of people have crossed the border from Ethiopia to Sudan to avoid the fighting.
In Guinea many opposition politicians and activists have been arrested, including the vice president of the leading opposition party UFDG. There has been violence in Guinea since last months election that gave President Alpha Conde a third term, that opposition parties say is unconstitutional.
The Chinese government has condemned the mass resignation of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy parliamentarians. On Wednesday 4 member of Hong Kongs parliament were disqualified because of a new rule which said that members cannot be pro-independence. As a result, the other 15 pro-democracy legislators resigned. In the UK parliament parliament yesterday, Foreign office minister Nigel Adams said that China had broken the Sino-British declaration by not respecting Hong Kong’s autonomy...
“It is my unfortunate duty to report to this house, our judgement that this decision breaches the legally binding Sino-British joint declaration. It breaches both China’s commitment that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy and the right to freedom of speech guaranteed under paragraph 3 of the declaration.”
Turkey has warned Armenia not to break the new truce with Azerbaijan. Turkey said that it would continue to fight against Armenia if Armenia broke the ceasefire. Protests have continued in Armenia against the peace deal signed by Prime Minister Pashinyan that allowed Azerbaijan to keep territory that it had gained in the last 6 weeks of fighting, and allowed Russian peacekeepers to stay in Nagorno-Karabakh for 5 years.
In India a toxic smog is covering large parts of the North, including the capital, Delhi. Air quality has reached emergency levels in many areas. Air quality is often worse in India in winter, because of an increase in fuel consumption, combined with higher moisture in the air, which traps pollutants.
In Poland there have been continuing protests for the last 3 weeks against new restrictions on abortion. A change in the law has made almost all cases of abortion illegal. Abortion is legal on request in every major European country, however in Poland it is now restricted only to cases of rape or maternal health. One protester, Aleksandra Sidoruk, sent this message to SEND7 podcast...
“What this government and this undemocratic court are doing is trying to make us scared with the pandemic and they are trying to scare us with arresting us. But we will not give up. We want our freedom, we want free choice. Me as a woman who does not want to have children I demand to have rights to abortion in my country. Now as the protests become much more we demand the resignation of the government. We demand separation of the church and state and we demand high quality sexual education and easy access to contraception. We are still protesting and we will not give up.”
Since the new law came into effect in Poland, abortion charities in Germany have reported an increase in calls from Polish women.
In Germany the lead scientist of the COVID19 vaccine from the company Pfeizer, says that it can end the pandemic. Speaking to The Guardian newspaper yesterday, Uger Sahin said that he hoped that people who receive the vaccine would be immune from COVID19 for at least a year. Pfeizer said on Monday that the vaccine is 90% effective.
In the United States President-elect Joe Biden is not receiving the Presidential daily security briefing because President Trump is blocking access. Traditionally the president-elect attends the daily security briefings before taking over the presidency. President Trump has started some legal cases saying that there was fraud in the presidential election, although they are not expected to succeed due to a lack of evidence. President-elect Biden won over 5 million more votes than President Trump.
In Belize, the governing United Democratic Party has been defeated by the opposition People’s United Party. The PUP won 26 out of 31 seats of the Belize house of representatives. The new Prime Minister is Johnny Briceño. Belize has a population of 400,000 people and although English is the main language spoken, Spanish is spoken by over half of the country, and an English based creole is the main lingua-franca. 10% of people speak a native Mayan language.
That’s your Simple English news for this week. Read the transcript of today’s episode and listen to past episodes at send7.org. Follow us on facebook, twitter or instagram @send7podcast. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.