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Monday 15th February 2021

Asia

In Myanmar the internet has been cut off. Army tanks were reported to be driving through Rangoon and other major cities this weekend, two weeks after the Burmese military took power in a coup d’etat. There have been protests almost every day since the coup. Ambassadors from the European Union, The United States, Canada and 11 other countries sent a joint declaration yesterday, which said “We support the people of Myanmar in their quest for democracy, freedom, peace and prosperity. The world is watching.” On Friday the United Nations Human Rights Council demanded the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In Japan a large earthquake hit on Saturday in the Fukushima area. The earthquake is considered an aftershock of the 2011 earthquake that killed almost 16,000 people and caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster. No deaths have been reported from Saturday’s earthquake, however almost a million homes lost electricity.

China has rejected allegations from the United States that it has hidden information about the origin of COVID19. On Saturday The United States said that China should make data available from the first days of the COVID19 outbreak in Wuhan. Speaking to Science Magazine yesterday, Professor Ben Embarek, The head of the World Health Organization team that visited Wuhan recently - said that “politics was always in the room”. Who scientists have said that the most likely origin of COVID19 was that it passed from an animal to a human, however WHO head Tedros Adhanom has said that all options are still being considered...

“Some questions have been raised as to whether some hypothesis have been discarded. Having spoken with some members of the team I wish to confirm that all hypotheses remain open and requite further analysis and studies.”

Tell the world your thoughts on this story or any other story by sending an audio message at speakpipe.com/send7

Europe

In the United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that the 15 million people most at risk of dying from COVID19 have now received their first dose of a vaccination...

“This nation has achieved an extraordinary feat. Administering a total of 15 million jabs into the arms of some of the most vulnerable people in the country. And I want to thank each and every person who has helped to make it happen. You can be incredibly proud of the part you have played. And thanks also to everyone who has had a jab so far, giving protection not just to yourself but also to your fellow citizens and to the NHS.”

Italy has a new government. The former head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi has been sworn in as Prime Minister. Almost all of Italy’s main parties have shown support for Draghi’s government.

In Spain Catalonia has had a parliamentary election. With 98% of votes counted, Catalan separatists are expected to win over half of seats.

Kosovo has also had a parliamentary election. At the time of recording this podcast the results have not been declared, however, the opposition party Vetevendosje is expected to win..

Africa

Guinea has declared an Ebola epidemic after 3 people died and another four cases were confirmed this weekend. This is the first time that Guinea has recorded Ebola cases since the 2013 - 2016 West Africa epidemic which killed over 11,000 people. In the last two weeks The Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed two deaths from Ebola. Ebola has an extremely high fatality rate - with around half of cases resulting in death.

In Chad the leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad will meet this week to discuss terrorism in the region. French President Emmanuel Macron will attend meetings virtually. Attacks from Islamist groups such as Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda have constantly increased in the last ten years. It is estimated that around 7000 people died from fighting in the Sahel region last year.

Americas

In the United States Former President Donald Trump has been acquitted by the senate for a second time. 57 senators, including 7 Republicans, voted to convict Trump of inciting insurrection, however, 67 votes were needed to make a two-thirds majority. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit Trump, saying that it was not constitutional to convict a former president, however, he also said that Trump was guilty...

“There is no question - none - that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. The president did not act swiftly. He didn’t do his job. He didn’t take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed and order restored. No. Instead according to public reports he watched television happily, happily, as the chaos unfolded. He kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election.”

In Argentina, former President Carlos Menem has died aged 90. Menem was president from 1989 to 1999, and was a Senator until his death.

That’s your World News in 7 minutes. A big thank you to Frederic from France for his lovely audio message. Listeners can help to support SEND7 by leaving a review in your podcast app. Transcripts for every episode are at send7.org I am Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath.

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