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Friday 4th February 2022

Asia

In Syria the leader of Daesh, the Islamic State group, has been killed, according to the United States. Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi died during a raid by US soldiers in the village of Atme, close to the border with Turkey. Yesterday, President Joe Biden said that the US had been planning an attack for two months, and had chosen a raid using soldiers instead of an airstrike, to avoid killing civilians. Despite this, Biden said that al-Qurayshi blew himself up and killed some members of his family....

“ Last night, operating on my orders, United States military forces successfully removed a major terrorist threat to the world: the global leader of ISIS, known as Hajji Abdullah. Knowing that this terrorist had chosen to surround himself with families, including children, we made a choice to pursue a special forces raid, at a much greater risk to our own people, rather than targeting him with an air strike. We made this choice to minimize civilian casualties.

... as our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardice, with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up — not just with a vest, but to blow up that third floor rather than face justice for the crimes he has committed, taking several members of his family with him...

In China the Winter Olympics start today. Athletes from 90 countries are participating in 109 events. There will be no international spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic. Medals will be given tomorrow for some skiing events. Norway won the most medals and gold medals in the last Winter Olympics, which were held in South Korea.

In Pakistan army checkpoints were attacked yesterday in Balochistan. Khadija Tahir reports...

In Pakistan, there was an attack on two security posts in the province of Balochistan. According to a spokesperson of the Pakistani army, seven soldiers were killed, and 13 of the attackers were also shot dead. The Balochistan Nationalist Army claimed responsibility for the attack. There have been many attacks in Balochistan in recent years due to a growing separatist movement in the province.

Europe

Russia is closing the Moscow office of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, one day after Germany announced that it had banned the German-language channel of Russian State Media broadcaster Russia Today. Germany said that RT Deutschland was banned because it didn’t have the correct license. Western countries have often accused RT or Russia Today of spreading pro-Russia propaganda, and it has been banned in Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania. Russia said that Deutsche Welle would be banned because it was a ‘foreign agent’.

In Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday. Erdogan offered to host peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in Turkey.

Americas

In Argentina at least 23 people have been killed after taking cocaine which had apparently been mixed with a toxic substance. Authorities said yesterday that over 80 other people are in hospital, and said that anyone who has bought cocaine in the last 24 hours should throw it away. The possession and consumption of cocaine has been decriminalised in Argentina, however, transporting and selling it is still illegal. Samples of the cocaine are currently being tested.

Venezuela’s currency - the bolivar- has maintained its value for over 4 months - something which hasn’t happened in ten years. Venezuela has had by far the worst inflation rate in the world for many years. In October 6 zeros were removed from the bolivar. Before this change one US dollar could be exchanged for 4.5 million bolivares. However, since then, the exchange rate has remained stable at 4.5 bolivares to the dollar.

Africa

South African pharmaceutical company Afrigen is making its own MRNA vaccine for COVID19, using information from Moderna. The vaccine is expected to be tested on humans this year, and will be the first MRNA vaccina designed and produced in Africa.

Burkina Faso will not be given economic sanctions by ECOWAS, the economic group said yesterday. Other countries where there have been military coups have been given economic sanctions by ECOWAS, however ECOWAS said yesterday that Burkina Faso can avoid sanctions if the military immediately presents a timetable for a democratic transition.

And in Cameroon, the African Cup of Nations football final will take place on Sunday. Senegal will play against Egypt - who have won AFCON 7 times. Last night Egypt beat hosts Cameroon in the semi-finals on penalties. Egypt’s manager Carlos Queiros, received a red card for shouting at the referee.

That’s your world news for this week. A big thank you to Calli from the United States for becoming our newest supporter. If you find this podcast valuable then please help to support it at send7.org/support. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.

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