Friday 31st July 2020
In the United States, President Trump yesterday suggested the idea of postponing this year’s Presidential election. In a Tweet yesterday Trump said that the 2020 election would be inaccurate and fraudulent, because of mail-in voting. The President does not have power to delay elections. Polls show that Trump’s popularity has fallen in recent months, and a majority of Americans think that he has handled the coronavirus pandemic badly. Over 150,000 Americans are now confirmed to have died of COVID19. The US economy fell by 33% in the second quarter - the biggest recession since records began.
Also in the US yesterday was the funeral of Congressman John Lewis. Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama all spoke at the funeral...
BC: “Born with strength - that he made the most of when many don’t. Born with weaknesses that he worked hard to beat down, when many can’t. But still a person. It made him more interesting, and it made him, in my mind, even greater.” GB: “His lesson for us is that we must all keep ourselves open to hearing the call of love, the call of service, and the call of sacrifice for others”. BO: ”...even if it takes another two centuries - John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America”.
Mexico is also in a record breaking recession. Mexico’s economy fell by 17% in the last quarter. The popularity of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is at its lowest since he became president.
Brazil has set a different, sad record - the worst single day for coronavirus so far. On Wednesday more than 70,000 new cases were confirmed, and over 1,500 deaths were recorded. Over two and a half million Brazilians have now been confirmed infected. President Jair Bolsonaro wants lockdowns to finish so that the economy can recover.
Germany’s economy fell by 10% in the second quarter. This is despite Germany having a better coronavirus record than other Western European countries. Experts say that it will take two years for Germany’s economy to return to pre-COVID levels.
Belarus has suspected Russian mercenaries of an attempt to destabilize Belarus. 33 Russians from the Wagner paramilitary group were arrested this week in Belarus. Belarus has elections on the 9th August, however, the international community does not recognize Belarus’s elections as being free and fair, and President Alexander Lukashenko is generally seen as a dictator.
In Afghanistan at least 18 people were killed in a suicide bombing yesterday in Logar province. The Taliban has denied responsibility.
In Hong Kong 12 pro-democracy activists have been banned from running in local elections. The
Hong Kong government said that they could not be considered for election, because they had either promoted Honk Kong’s Independence, supported foreign intervention in Hong Kong or did not support Beijing’s authority in Hong Kong. Activist Josh Wong said that he was banned from running in this election, despite coming first in a the selection process.
“I was just disqualified from running in the upcoming legislative council election, even though I got the highest vote share in the primary. Beijing now staged the biggest ever crackdown on the city’s election, by disqualifying nearly all pro-democracy runners.”
4 students aged between 16 and 21 have been arrested, for calling for Hong Kong’s independence. Calling for Hong Kong’s independence is now illegal in Hong Kong. Yesterday the Chinese ambassador to the UK said that China would not recognize Brtiish overseas passports as legal travel documents. This comes as the UK has offered British residency to people from Hong Kong.
Cote d’Ivoire has a new Prime Minister. Hamad Bakayako, the defence minister, has been named as Prime Minister by president Alassane Ouattara. Former Prime Minister Gon Coulibaly had been expected to run for president, however he died suddenly on July 8th.
In Uganda, a man who killed an endangered gorilla, has been given 11 years in jail. The Ugandan Wildlife Authority said that this should be an example to other people who kill wildlife.
And Senegalese musician Balla Sidibe has died in Dakar. Balla Sidibe founded the Afro-Latin group Orchestra Baoab in the 70s. Orchestra Baoab mixed traditional African music with soul, jazz and Cuban music. Sidibe mostly sang in his native language - Wolof.