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Friday 15th January 2021

In the World 2 million people are confirmed to have died of COVID19. One year ago today, less than a hundred people had been diagnosed with a new coronavirus in the city of Wuhan in China. Today, 93 million people have been diagnosed. However, the true number is expected to be much higher, and some reports say that one in ten people in the world have already had COVID19. Around 3% of confirmed cases have ended in death, however most scientists believe that the true fatality rate is lower than 1%. Vaccination campaigns have started in 45 countries, and over 33 million people have already received at least one dose. The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom has said that more developed nations have a responsibility to extend vaccinations around the world...

“We are in a race to prevent infections, bring cases down, protect health systems, and save lives, while rolling out highly effective and safe vaccines to high-risk populations.”

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that the recovery from COVID19 should bring good changes...

“Pandemic recoveries are a chance to change course. With smart policies and the right investments we can chart a path that brings health to all, revives economies and builds resilience and rescues biodiversity.”

Africa now...

In Uganda there was a general election yesterday. At the time of recording this podcast the results have not been announced. Singer and member of parliament Bobi Wine is attempting to stop President Yoweri Museveni from winning a 6th presidential term. During the last few months more than 50 people have been killed in political violence and Bobi Wine has been arrested many times.

In Ethiopia, the government has said that it has killed leading members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, after they refused to surrender. One of those killed was Seyoum Mesfin, who was Ethiopia’s minister of foreign affairs for almost twenty years.

In Algeria a roadside bomb killed 5 civilians yesterday close to the border with Tunisia. This is the worst attack on civilians in Algeria in recent years.


Chinese cotton and tomato products from the Xinjian region have been banned in the United States. China is accused of forcing Uigher Muslims to work in those industries. The United Kingdom introduced similar measures this week, and foreign secretary Dominic Raab said that there was clear evidence that over a million Uyghurs are being held in re-education camps that use forced labour.

Turkey started its vaccination campaign against COVID19 yesterday. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca received his first dose of the Chinese CoronaVac live on television. State media said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also received the vaccine yesterday.


In the United States President Donald Trump has released a message condemning the riots in the congress building last week, in which 5 people died.

“My fellow Americans, I want to speak to you tonight about the troubling events of the past week. I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement.

On Wednesday President Trump became the first president ever to be impeached twice, after congress agreed that he had incited the violence in Washington DC. Trump did not mention his impeachment in this message, however he warned his supporters not to cause more violence and promised a peaceful transition of power.

“There has been reporting that additional demonstrations are being planned in the ocming days both here in Washington and across the country. I have been briefed by the US secret service on the potential threats.”

During last week’s speech before the riots in congress, Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell” because the election was stolen from them.

“And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

However, during this week’s speech, Trump did not mention claims that the election was fraudulent. Recent polls have found that 70% of Republicans think that the presidential election was not free and fair. President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday. Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez are expected to perform.

In Venezuela, Reuters news agency is reporting that the government is talking to private companies to work in its oil fields. During the presidency of Hugo Chavez the oil industry was nationalised. A combination of mismanagement and United States sanctions has lead to the almost complete collapse of the oil industry.


In Germany, Alexey Navalny has said that he will fly back to Russia on Sunday. The Russian opposition politician was poisoned in August, in an attack he blames on President Vladamir Putin.

And in Sweden, Greta Thunberg will be on new postage stamps. The climate activist, who turned 18 last week, appears on the new 12 kronor stamps, in her yellow raincoat.

That’s your Simple English World News this week. Please leave a review on apple podcasts in your first language. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great weekend, and I will see you on Monday.

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