Monday 10th August 2020.
Starting in Europe today
In Belarus, there were presidential elections yesterday. At the time of recording this podcast the results have not yet been confirmed. President Alexander Lukashenko is expected to win a sixth term in office. He has faced protests due to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and vote-rigging. The main opposition candidate was Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the wife of another candidate who was detained by police a few weeks ago. Some of Tikhanovskaya’s staff were also arrested yesterday. Most international organizations say that Belarus’s elections are not free or fair.
In the United Kingdom, prime minister Boris Johnson said that it was a 'moral duty' to get all children back into schools. Schools are expected to be reopened by next month. Yesterday, the UK reported 1062 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily rise in cases since June.
In Czechia 11 people were killed in a fire in an apartment building in Bohumin on the border with Poland on Saturday. Police believe the fire was started deliberately and have arrested one person.
In Brazil, over 3 million cases of COVID 19 have now been reported. This number has doubled in just one month. Also, in Brazil, fires are raging in the Amazon rainforest. Scientists are expecting 7 percent more fires than last year. Last year almost 9000 sq km of vegetation was lost due to fires.
In the United States, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has passed 5 million. The US continues to report over 50,000 new cases every day. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top United States infectious disease expert, said that a vaccine might be only 50 or 60 percent effective, and public health measures will still be needed.
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to give economic aid to millions of Americans hit by the pandemic. Trump said that people have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus, but it wasn’t their fault, it was China’s fault. “
“We’ve had it and we’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American workers... I’m taking action to provide and additional or an extra $400 per week in expanded benefits, $400 OK? So thats generous, but we want to take care of our people. Again, it wasn’t their fault, it was China’s fault”.
Lebanon's information minister and environment minister quit yesterday. They are the first members of government to resign since the large explosion last week. There were large protests over the weekend in Beirut. Protesters were demanding answers after the devastating explosion that killed at least 158 people and left 6000 injured. Sixty people are still missing. A virtual conference with 36 countries was held yesterday. Millions of dollars in aid were promised, to be given directly to the Lebanese people to help them rebuild schools and hospitals.
In India there was an aeroplane crash on Saturday in the Southern city of Kozhikode. A Boeing 737 carrying 190 people crashed while trying to land. At least 18 people, including the pilots, have died, and more than 150 are injured. The flight was carrying Indians who had been left in Dubai due to the pandemic. Flight data recorders have been found and are being reviewed.
Also, in India, a fire in a coronavirus facility yesterday has killed at least 11 people. The hotel Swarna Palace was being used as a quarantine facility. The fire was expected to have been caused by an electrical problem. India had its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in on Saturday, with over 62,000 confirmed new cases and 1000 deaths. The total number of confirmed cases in India has passed 2.2 million.
In Pakistan, nearly 50 people have died after three days of heavy monsoon rain. Rain also caused a canal to burst in Sindh province, flooding many villages.
Sri Lanka. Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister after a record victory. He was sworn in by his brother Gotabaya, who is the president of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka People's Front - the party led by the Rajapaksa brothers, won 145 out of 225 seats in the election last Wednesday.
In Niger, eight people, including 6 French nationals, were killed yesterday in the region of Kore. The incident took place in a wildlife park famous for giraffes. The French humanitarian workers were shot by unknown attackers. An investigation continues.
And in Namibia, Rhino poaching has fallen by a record 60 percent. Namibia has the second-largest white rhino population in the world, and strict operations by the authorities and longer prison sentences for poachers are helping to stop poaching.