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Monday 19th July 2021

Europe

Western European leaders have been blamed for failing to warn people about the catastrophic floods that have hit in the last few days. In Germany over 150 people are known to have died, and hundreds are still missing. Chancellor Angela Merkel returned from the United States yesterday, and went straight to areas damaged by the floods and met with survivors. In Belgium at least 30 people have died, and thousands have been forced to leave their homes. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen visited affected areas of Belgium yesterday, and said that the EU will help to reconstruct affected areas...

” Of course the European Union has been helping with helicopters and with boats, but I just reassure the citizens that we will of course also be here for reconstruction.” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo has announced a national day of mourning for tomorrow. Serious floods have also hit France, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

In Spain hundreds of people have been evacuated because of forest fires. Helicopters have been used to extinguish fires in Catalonia’s Costa Brava region.

The United Kingdom has stopped almost all coronavirus restrictions today. From today all businesses can open and any number of people can attend venues. Wearing masks is now voluntary instead of mandatory. One remaining restriction is that anybody who comes into contact with a person infected with COVID19 must stay at home for ten days. Yesterday this happened to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after the Health Secretary Sajid Javid tested positive ...

” Hi folks, like so many hundreds of thousands of other people across the country, I’ve been ‘pinged’, I’ve been asked to self-isolate by the test-trace-and-isolate system after I’ve been in contact with somebody who has COVID - in this case the health secretary Sajid Javid.”

Asia

In Thailand more than a thousand people protested in Bangkok this weekend against the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. Police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon against the protesters. Chan-ocha took power in a military coup d’etat in 2014.

China should be more transparent about the origins of COVID19, according to World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom. Adhanom has said that China should give its raw data from the beginning of the pandemic. The WHO has previously said that the most probably way that the pandemic began was from the coronavirus passing from an animal such as a bat, to humans. However, Adhanom has now said that the possibility of a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, should continue to be investigated. Adhanom said on Friday that accidents at laboratories are common...

“There rwas a premature push to <you know>, especially, produce one of the options, like the lab theory... as you know I was a lab technician myself, I’m <an> immunologist, and I have worked in the lab. And lab accidents happen. It’s common. I’ve seen it happening. And I myself have had errors. So it can happen. And we need information - direct information - on what the situation of this lab was before and at the start of the pandemic.”

New Zealand has hosted APEC 2021, the first ever virtual meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group. of 21 countries including the United States, China and Japan. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that import tariffs should be dropped on all items needed for vaccinations...

“It may surprise you to know that vaccines can in some cases face tariffs of 6%; vials and packaging 20% in some cases, syringes face tariffs. So it is a very real problem that APEC economies have the ability to remove.”

Americas

In the United States the Surgeon General has said that misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic is threatening people’s lives. Dr. Vivek Murthy said that tech companies should do more to stop the spread of misinformation, and that today in the United States almost all deaths from COVID19 are in unvaccinated people, despite the fact that most people have been vaccinated...

“It is painful for me to know that nearly every death we are seeing now could be prevented.”.

In Cuba pro-government protests were held this weekend, against the anti-government protests from last week. The internet was blocked in Cuba last week to try to stop the spread of protests. US President Joe Biden said this weekend that the Cuba is a failed state, and that the US was considering a way of bringing the internet back to Cuba...

Africa

South Africa’s president Cyril Rampahosa has praised South Africans who are helping to rebuild areas damaged by rioters last week. Over 200 people were killed in riots that began after former President Jacob Zuma was jailed for failing to go to court to answer questions about corruption. Yesterday was Nelson Mandela’s birthday - when people are encouraged to help others.

Sao Tome and Principe voted in presidential elections yesterday. The small Portuguese-speaking islands off of West Africa are considered more democratic than most African countries. President Evaristo Carvalho is not seeking re-election.

Thank you to teacher Alexandre Barbosa from Brazil for your instagram story about this podcast! You can find us on social media @send7podcast. Send us a message in writing or in audio at send7.org where you can also find transcripts. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.

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