Monday 19th April 2021
Czechia has charged two Russians with an explosion in 2014 that killed two people. Czech intelligence has said that they believe that the two Russians are the same men who the United Kingdom accuse of poisoning people in 2018 in the UK. According to the UK Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Skripal and his daughter both survived however a British woman who accidentally touched the poison died. This weekend British foreign Secretary Dominic Raab praised the Czech intelligence and said that these attacks are part of a pattern from the Russian government. Yesterday Czechia expelled 18 Russian diplomats and in response Russia expelled 20 Czech diplomats.
The United Kingdom held the funeral for Prince Philip on Saturday. Prince Philip was married to Queen Elizabeth for for 73 years. In the UK 13 million people watched his funeral on television.
In Cuba Raul Castro has resigned as the head of Cuba’s Communist Party. Castro took the role of First Secretary from his brother Fidel Castro in 2011. Today is the first day since 1959 that Cuba does not have a Castro brother as leader.
In the United States there are reports that an attacker in Indianapolis bought guns despite having been investigated for mental illness and having had a gun seized from him before. On Thursday 19 year old Brandon Hole killed 8 people at a FedEx office before killing himself. Last year Hole’s mother contacted the FBI to warn about her son, and police took away his gun. However, insufficient evidence against him allowed him to continue to buy guns. The United States and Yemen are the only countries in the world where people can buy guns without a permit or a reason. President Joe Biden said that shootings were a national embarrassment...
“This has to end. It is a national embarrassment. It’s a national embarrassment what’s going on. And it’s not only these mass shootings that are occurring. Every single day, every single day there’s a mass shooting in The United States if you count all those who are killed out on the streets of our cities and our rural areas. It’s a national embarrassment and it must come to an end. I strongly support the universal background checks, which I continue to push, but congress has to step up and act, the senate has to act. And I strongly support a ban on assault weapons and magazines that hold more than ten bullets. Who in God’s name needs a weapon that can hold a hundred rounds? or 40 rounds? or 20 rounds? It’s just wrong and I’m not going to give up until it’s done.”
In Pakistan, France has advised its citizens to temporarily leave Pakistan because of concerns for their safety. This weekend protests continued in support of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, an Islamic fundamentalist party. The party was banned last week for terrorism, however protests have continued that demand that the French ambassador be expelled because of cartoons published in a French magazine. Many Muslims believe that pictures of the Prophet Muhammad are blasphemous, however French President Emmanuel Macron has said that free speech allows people to publish whatever they want. In Pakistan blasphemy can be punished by death. Many people who have suggested changing blasphemy laws have been killed by far-right groups.
Syria has said that it will hold a presidential election next month. Bashir al-Assad is expected to continue his 21 years as president that been have marked by a civil war which has killed over half a million people. The last election in Syria in 2014 was called illegitimate by the European Union, the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council, although Russia and Iran said that it was free and fair.
In Hong Kong billionaire Jimmy Lai has been jailed for one year as well as 4 other pro-democracy activists. Lai was convicted of organizing a protest last year that attracted 1.7 million people - almost a quarter of Hong Kong’s population.
In Egypt a train crash has killed at least 11 people. The health ministry has said that a hundred more people were injured when a train derailed near Cairo.
Some Ugandan officials have been given vista restrictions by the United States. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that it was because of interfering in democracy. Yoweri Museveni has been the president of Uganda since 1986 when he took power in a coup d’etat.
And a company in Lesotho has been given a license to sell medical marijuana in the European Union. Lesotho will become the first country in Africa to sell medical marijuana to Europe. That is despite the fact that medical marijuana is still illegal in Lesotho.
A big thank to listeners who sent messages this weekend, after the first birthday of the podcast! Thank you to Joao from Brazil, Monet from Japan, Bob Li from China, Marek and Mariusz from Poland. Thank you. Please leave a review in your podcast app, and we will say thank you on the podcast! You can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send an audio message at send7.org, where you can find transcripts and more. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.