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Friday 18th December 2020

Africa

In Nigeria, more than 300 schoolchildren have been released, one week after being kidnapped by jihadist, islamist group Boko Haram. Last Friday hundreds of boys went missing after an attack on a school in Katsina State. On Tuesday an attempt to rescue the children finished with 17 students rescued, and 2 dead. However, last night, the governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, said that 344 of the boys had been recovered by security forces. It is not currently known if this is all of the kidnapped children. Masari said that medical checks would be conducted and then the boys would be reunited with their families...

“344 of the students have been handed over to security agency. I think we have recovered most of the boys if not all of them. And the news has gone out that the children have been discovered unharmed. And all of them are on their way to {???} from the forest area of Katsina state. By tomorrow we will have them medically examined and arrangements will be on their way to reunite them with their families.”

In Libya, 18 Italian fishermen have been freed, after more than 100 days in captivity. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, flew to Benghazi for the release of the fisherman. Benghazi is the centre of power for Khalifa Haftar’s forces, who control Eastern Libya.

Europe

The European Union is expected to start COVID19 vaccinations on the 27th December. The European Medicines Agency is expected to approve the Pfeizer vaccine on Monday. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the 27 EU countries should start vaccinations together...

“So let’s start as soon as possible with the vaccination, together, as 27, with the start at the same day. As we’ve gone in unity through this pandemic, let’s start the eradication of this horrible virus together, and united.”

In the United Kingdom, actor Sir Ian McKellen, famous for his role as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, and Magneto, in X-Men, received the COVID19 vaccine yesterday. McKellen is 81 and took the vaccine live on television.

“I couldn’t be happier. I’ll carry on wearing the mask, and social distancing, and all that, but it does that I can imagine going back to work.”

The King of Sweden has criticised his countries response to COVID19. Sweden is known for using less restrictions than other European countries, however, the number of deaths from COVID19 reached a record high in December.

Americas The Mexican government has announced plans to raise the minimum wage by 15%. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said yesterday that despite this raise, Mexican wages are still “shameful”. The new minimum wage will be around 7 US dollars a day - less than one dollar an hour. Mexico’s minimum wage, and the minimum wage of Haiti, are the lowest in the Americas.

In Canada, two of the biggest marijuana producers are planning to combine, to make the world’s largest marijuana company. The combined revenue of Tilray and Aphria was over $500 million dollars in the last 12 months. Canada legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2018, the second country in the world, after Uruguay.

Asia

In India, last week hundreds of people mysteriously became ill, and some people died. Scientists now believe they have found an explanation. This story from Khadija Tahir...

In India, almost 600 people were taken to hospitals in Andhra Pradesh province last week, with a mysterious illness. According to local authorities, three people have died. Excessive amounts of lead and Nickel were found in the patients’ blood. Nickel is poisonous for humans. Indian scientists believe that the Nickel may have come from pesticides sprayed on crops in the town.

In Lebanon, a court has sentenced singer Fadel Shaker to 22 years in prison. Fadel Shaker was a popular singer in Lebanon in the 90s and 2000s, however in 2012 he joined a group recognized as terrorist by Lebanon.

In the Marshall Islands, an abandoned boat has been found with hundreds of kilos of cocaine. Marshall Islands police say that the boat probably floated from central or south America, and may have been drifting for one or two years. 649 kilos of cocaine were on board, which in The United States have a street value of a hundred of million dollars.

That’s all from us this week. Follow us on social media @send7podcast, and please leave a review on apple podcasts. It helps other people to find us. Find transcripts and more at send7.org I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you on Monday.

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