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Friday 19th February 2021

Africa

In Nigeria security forces are tracking the gang that kidnapped over 40 people on Wednesday. At least 27 students were kidnapped and one was killed when armed men attacked a school in Niger State in central Nigeria. In 2014 there was large international focus on Nigeria after 270 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the Islamist Jihadist group Boko Haram. Last year over 300 schoolchildren were kidnapped by Boko Haram but were later released after negotiations.

Guinea is expected to receive 11,000 vaccines against Ebola this weekend according to the World Health Organization. Guinea declared an outbreak of Ebola last week, and 5 people are known to have died.

Asia

The Iran Nuclear deal of 2015 is being reconsidered by diplomats from Europe and the United States. The US has said that it is ready to hold direct talks with Iran. The 2015 agreement allowed international inspectors access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, in return for the normalization of trade with Iran. The Trump administration left the agreement in 2018, however President Biden has said that he would like to restart the agreement.

Pakistani authorities say that 3 climbers have died on the world’s second-highest mountain. This story from Khadija Tahir...

In Pakistan, three mountain climbers have been declared dead after going missing on 5th February. Ali Sadpara of Pakistan, Jon Snorri of Iceland, and Juan Pablo Mohr of Chile were climbing the K2 mountain. Ali Sadpara was one of Pakistan's most famous mountaineers. Pakistan declared that all three climbers are assumed to be dead after an extensive search of the mountains by the Pakistani army. The search for their bodies will continue. K2 is the second-highest mountain in the world, often called the killer mountain. Last month a Nepalese team reached the peak of K2 for the first time in winter.

In Australia, Facebook has stopped the ability to share or view all media content. Facebook blocked news media as a law is expected to be passed in Australia’s parliament this week, which says that social media companies must pay news companies for their content. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Facebook was wrong...

“In respect to Facebook’s actions today - Facebook was wrong. Facebook’s actions were unnecessary, they were heavy handed, and they will damage its reputation here in Australia.

Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed a plan to share coronavirus vaccines. Talking to the Financial Times yesterday, Macron said that Europe and the United States should give away 5% of their current vaccines - especially to Africa. On Wednesday, Head of the United Nations Antonio Guterrez said that current vaccine distribution was uneven and unfair...

“The rollout of COVID19 vaccines is generating hope. But at this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral task before the global community. We must ensure that everybody everywhere can be vaccinated as soon as possible.”

In Belarus two journalists have been sentenced to two years in prison, charged with violating public order. Daria Chultsova and Katsiaryna Andreyeva were arrested after filming live coverage of protests against president Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus has had continued protests since August, when Lukashenko claimed to win a 6th presidential election that international observers said was not free and fair. Lukashenko is often considered to be Europe’s last dictator.

Greece has suggested that it may allow foreign travel this summer from people who have been vaccinated against COVID19. Tourism minister Haris Theoharis said that vaccine passports would stop people from having to quarantine when arriving in Greece. Tell us your thoughts on vaccine passports or any other news story by sending an audio message on speakpipe.com/send7

Americas

In Brazil, health workers have reported problems when trying to vaccinate the indigenous community against COVID19, because of rumours that the vaccine is dangerous. The indigenous population of Brazil was given priority access to the vaccine, because of a higher death rate in the community, and lack of medical services. Social media has been blamed for the spread of anti-vaccination propaganda. President Jair Bolsonaro has also been accused of making the situation worse, after joking that he would not be responsible if you turned into an alligator after taking the vaccine.

And on Mars, the American perseverance rover has landed. Perseverance was launched by NASA in July last year and sent its first pictures last night. The Perseverance mission is aimed at discovering if there has ever been or if there could be, life on mars.

SEND7 listeners, please complete our survey to help us improve the podcast. Find the survey at send7.org or in the episode description on your podcast app. Next week one person will win €40 of Amazon vouchers for completing the questionnaire. Find the survey at send7.org or in the episode details of your podcast app. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Have an excellent weekend and I will see you on Monday.

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