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Monday 1st February 2021

Asia

In Russia, at least 4000 people were arrested this weekend as protests continue in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalnvy. Navelny’s wife, Yulia, was arrested in a demonstration in Moscow, according to supporters on social media. Navalny has been in jail since returning to Russia 2 weeks ago, from Germany, where he was recovering from being poisoned. Navalny says that president Vladamir Putin gave the order for him to be poisoned. Yesterday United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Navalny should be released and that Russia should allow peaceful protests.

In China, World Health Organization experts have visited the market in the city of Wuhan, where COVID19 was first recorded last year. Reuters news agency have said that the visit is being tightly controlled by China. Most experts believe that COVID19 passed from animals to humans in Wuhan. However, the World Health Organization have said that they will investigate all hypotheses. One year ago today 8000 cases of COVID19 had been reported - most of them in China. Today 103 million cases have been confirmed according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Africa

In Somalia the Al-Shabaab jihadist islamist group attacked a hotel yesterday. At the time of recording 9 deaths have been confirmed by police, however more are expected. A car bomb exploded outside the hotel in Mogadishu, and many fighters went inside with guns. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility. In a separate attack a bomb killed at least 8 people in the Golweyn area, 100 kilometres south of Mogadishu.

South Africa is now in its third alcohol ban since last year. Sasha Fairhead reports from South Africa...

"Lockdown in South Africa included a ban on the consumption and purchase of all alcohol. Now, South Africa is experiencing its third alcohol ban since the beginning of the pandemic and as a result the local alcohol industry is on the brink of collapse. There has already been a loss of 165,000 jobs with another 100,000 people now at risk of unemployment. The initial reason was to reduce trauma cases at hospitals to allow space for COVID patients. Not only has this ban created a booming black market, but it is estimated to have cost the government over 500 million dollars in loss of alcohol tax. With COVID cases declining, the industry is pleading with the government to lift this ban."

South Africa is expected to receive its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines today. The first one million Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines, produced in India, will be given to healthcare workers.

Americas

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has appeared in public for the first time since testing positive for COVID19. In a video released on Saturday Obrador said that he wanted to stop rumours about his health...

“I still have COVID, but doctors have now told me that the critical phase is over. I wanted to show myself to you to stop any rumours or misunderstandings. I am well. Even though I still have to rest.”

In Bolivia doctors are demanding a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of COVID19. Ricardo Landivar of La Paz Medical College said that the Bolivian health system is close to collapse. Bolivia started using the Russian Sputnik V COVID19 vaccine last week.

In the United States more people have been arrested in connection with the attack on the United States congress last month. 164 people have now been arrested including believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, and members of the Proud Boys white supremacy group.

SEND7 listeners - Give a report or comment on the news in your country. Send an audio message on speakpipe.com/send7

Europe

Portugal has said that it is running out of space in intensive care units because of COVID19 patients. On Saturday, Portugal’s health ministry said that it had only had 7 beds left in mainland Portugal, and that some critical patients had been sent to Portuguese islands.

In France hundreds of people protested against the company Amazon this weekend. Amazon is planning to build a giant warehouse in the South of France. Protesters say that Amazon’s growth destroys local jobs and harms the environment. Last month Amazon said that it had created 130,000 jobs in France.

The United Kingdom has reported its lowest level of seasonal flu since records began. Influenza rates in the UK are currently 95% lower than normal, according to Oxford University. Dr John McCauley, from the World Health Organization said that most years one billion people suffer from influenza, but that this year only one-tenth of infections are expected.

That’s your World News in 7 minutes. Read the transcript for today’s episode at send7.org Send audio messages at speakpipe.com/send7. And follow us on social media @send7podcast. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Raugnath. Have a great day.

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