In Germany, the vaccine committee has said AstraZeneca's Covid jab should only be given to people aged under 65. The committee said there was not enough data showing its success in older people. The European Medicines Agency is to decide today whether to approve the vaccine for use across the EU. The UK has been using the AstraZeneca vaccine for weeks now. Yesterday, Boris Johnson supported the vaccine
"Our own authorities have made it very clear that they think the oxford Astrozenica vaccine is very good and efficacious, gives a high degree of protection after just one dose, and even more after two doses. And the evidence that they've seen, that they've supplied, is that they think that it is effective across all age groups and provides a good immune response across all age groups."
In Poland, a controversial ban on abortion has become official. Abortion is now only allowed in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy puts the life of the mother at risk. The majority of Polish citizens are against the ban. Protests took place in Polish cities on Wednesday evening. Activists have called for large protests in Warsaw, tonight.
In Russia, opposition leader Alexei Navalny yesterday has called his arrest “illegal”. Authorities say he was arrested for not regularly reporting to the police, something he had to do following his previous sentencing. But his lawyers called this crazy, saying the authorities knew he was in Berlin recovering from poisoning. Mr Navalny told the judge yesterday "this is all massively illegal”. Thousands of Navalny supporters protested across Russia last Saturday.
In Pakistan, 4 men who were accused of killing an American Journalist have been released. This report from Khadija Tahir..
"In Pakistan, the supreme court has ordered the release of four men who were accused of killing United States journalist Daniel Pearl. In early 2002, Pearl was working on a report for the wall street journal when he was kidnapped and murdered in Karachi. A man named Omar Sekih and three other people were arrested soon after for his murder. Pakistan's top court has released them due to a lack of evidence. It is believed that a senior al-Qaeda member is responsible for Pearl's murder."
In Nigeria, Amnesty International accused the government yesterday of attempting to cover up the killing of a dozen citizens during peaceful protests in Lagos last October. Youth-led demonstrations in Nigeria began against police abuse by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit. The protests quickly turned into calls for changes in the government. However it ended weeks later when security forces shot at demonstrators in Lagos – killing at least 12 people, according to the rights group.
The African Union has gained an additional 400 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for the continent. This brings the total of doses in Africa to 1.27 billion. Africa needs about 1.5 billion doses to immunise 60% of its people. This percentage required for the ‘herd immunity’. The herd immunity is when a large part of the population of an area is immune to a specific disease. Most nations in Africa have not started vaccinating, and don’t have enough money to do so.
In the United States, President Joe Biden is planning to get more Americans health insurance during the pandemic. This is a part of a promise he made during his campaign to work on health care, and to support women’s reproductive rights.
“The first one I’m going to be signing here is the strength of Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. And of all times that we need to reinstate access to, affordability of, and extent of access to medicaid, is now in the middle of this covert crisis"
Latin America's richest man, is in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19. According to his family, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim was in hospital "only for a check up and was "in very good health” when he tested positive. The 80 year old and his family, who control Mexico's largest telecoms provider, are worth an estimated $52bn (£38bn), according to Forbes magazine's list in 2020.
And finally, a portrait by Sandro Botticelli sold for $92m (£67m) at an auction in New York yesterday. This is a new record for the Italian renaissance painter.
And thats your world news in 7 minutes. You can read the transcript for today episode, or listen to past episodes at SEND7.org. I'm Namitha Ragunath, have a great weekend.