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Friday 5th March 2021

Europe

In Italy a shipment coronavirus vaccines for Australia, has been blocked. The European Commission supported the blocking of the export of 250,000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine doses. There have been problems between the European Union and Oxford AstraZenca, since the EU says that the company is not delivering the number of vaccines promised.

In France former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur has been cleared of corruption charges. Earlier this week Former President Nicolas Sarkosy was convicted of corruption and given a one year prison sentence. Sarkozy is appealing against the decision.

In Greece, Wednesday’s earthquake has been declared the strongest in over 80 years. Greece reported heavy damage but no deaths in the 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

Americas

In the United States, the States of Texas and Mississippi have said that they will continue to lower pandemic restrictions, despite criticism from President Joe Biden. On Tuesday Texas governor Greg Abbot said that now is the times to open Texas 100%, and ordered an end to having to wear masks in public buildings. President Biden said that lowering restrictions now was ‘Neanderthal thinking”...

“I hope everyone has realised by now - thee masks make a difference . WE are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we are able to get vaccines into people’s arms, and the last thing, the last thing that we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it.... it still matters.”

Brazil recorded over 1,800 COVID19 deaths on Wednesday, the worst single day since the pandemic began. However, yesterday President Jair Bolsonaro celebrated positive results in Brazil’s economy. Brazil’s economy fell by 4.1% last year . It is the worst drop in thirty years, but less than what was expected.

In Canada, people have been confused about why their butter is not as soft as it used to be. After months of people talking about why their butter is harder than usual, many experts now agree that it is because of a change in diet of dairy cows. Dairy cows in Canada have recently been eating more palm oil products, which could make butter harder.

Asia

In Iraq Pope Francis will start a 4 day visit today. The Pope will visit Baghdad, Mosul, Qaraqosh and Erbil, the Capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, which is home to 150,000 Christian refugees. The number of Christians in Iraq has reduced significantly in the last 15 years because of persecution from Islamist Jihadist groups, however it is expected that there are over half a million Christians in Iraq today. Francis is the first Pope to ever visit Iraq.

India’s COVID19 vaccine from Bharat Biotech is safe and effective, according to results from clinical trials on 26,000 people. Bharati Biotech said that it had an efficacy rate of 81 percent. Some health officials criticised India’s government fro approving the vaccine in January, before phase 3 trials were finished. On Monday Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the vaccine.

In Myanmar, the internet is continuing to face restrictions. Social media platforms are blocked, and all internet is cut during the night. The United Nations has criticised violence being used against protesters in Myanmar this week. The UN human rights office says that at least 54 people have been killed in protests since the military took power last month.

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Africa

In Nigeria there was violence during the return of 279 schoolgirls, who were kidnapped last week. 3 people were shot soon after the girls were freed. Earlier this week President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a large military presence in Zamfara state intended to stop more kidnappings.

In South Africa local authorities have asked the government to reconsider the name change of Port Elizabeth. Last month the official name of the city of Port Elizabeth was changed to a name from the local Xhosa language. People have complained that they cannot pronounce “Gqerbeha”. I also can’t pronounce the name. This person can...

-Gqerbeha”Gqerbeha”

Difficult. That’s your Simple English news this week. Listeners! If you would like to hear an interview with me, I am a guest on today’s episode of “My fluent podcast”, an excellent podcast for language learners. You can find it by searching for “My Fluent Podcast” in your podcast app, or by going to myfluentpodcast.com

If you enjoy SEND7 please leave a review in your podcast app. Thanks again to everyone who completed the survey last week and all your nice messages.

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