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Monday 20th December 2021

Asia

In the Philippines, at least 169 people have died in a tropical storm. Typhoon Rai has had winds of over 200Km/h, and has caused extreme damage in the southern islands of the Philippines. Landslides and flooding have forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes, and over 3 million people have lost electricity. At the time of recording this podcast typhoon Rai is on the coast of Vietnam and is expected to travel towards Taiwan tomorrow.

Hong Kong had legislative elections yesterday. The elections were boycotted by pro-democracy groups because of the imprisonment of many candidates, restrictions on who can be a candidate and because of electoral reforms which limit the number of directly elected seats, and allow Chinese authorities to choose many members of parliament. Only 30% of people voted in the elections - the lowest turnout ever. Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam said that the electoral reforms were improvements, and that electing patriots was more important than a high turnout.

“I do have set very clear targets for this general election of the legislative council. One is to ensure patriots administering Hong Kong. Perhaps unlike previous elections because this is the first major election after improvements to the electoral system. I and my colleagues have been going all out to explain the basis, the rational and the merits of this electoral system. And I think these three objectives will guide how we see this particular election rather than the voter turnout rate.”

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Afghanistan is heading for chaos, and has said that the United States must ‘de-link’ the Taliban from the people of Afghanistan. Khan spoke yesterday in Islamabad at a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation with Taliban representatives...

“And I speak to the United States specifically - they must delink the Taliban government from the 40 million Afghan citizens. Even if they have <they’ve> been in conflict with the Taliban for <forty years> twenty years - but this is a question of the people of Afghanistan - 40 million human beings. And that is why it is very important that action is taken immediately. Already we are late.”

Europe

The United Kingdom is continuing to break records for numbers of new coronavirus infections, and is now reporting around 90,000 new cases a day. Cases of the Omicron variant are doubling every two days, and it is now the dominant strain in the UK. However, there is also a very fast campaign to give booster vaccinations. 42% of people in the UK have received a booster vaccine, more than in any other European country. The UK has also started giving an antiviral pill to some people at risk of serious illness, after they have tested positive for COVID19.

The Netherlands has entered a full lockdown. All non-essential shops, bars and restaurants will be closed until the 14th January. Schools will be closed until the 9th January. Houses will only be allowed two visitors, except for on Christmas Day and New Year's Ever, when 4 visitors will be allowed. Denmark has closed theatres, cinemas and large venues but bars and restaurants are still open. Norway has banned the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants. Austria has relaxed its restrictions as new cases have fallen. France and Germany have banned travel from the UK because of the high levels of Omicron in the UK.

Africa

In Sudan there were large anti-military protests yesterday. Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Khartoum and chanted slogans against the military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The Algerian national football team won the Arab Cup yesterday, beating Tunisia in the final Qatar hosted the tournament, in preparation for the World Cup next year.

Americas

In Haiti, there have been media reports that President Jovenel Moise was assassinated because of his intentions to stop drug trafficking. An investigation by the New York Times has showed that Moise was attempting to stop the use of planes that fly cocaine from South America into Haiti. Moise’s wife, Martine Moise, told the New York Times pretended to be dead during the shooting in their home in July. She said that after the shooting she could hear the attackers looking for documents, expected to be the president’s personal documents about the drug trade in Haiti.

In Chile, Gabriel Boric has been elected president. The left-wing socialist candidate, beat the right-wing conservative candidate Jose Antonio Kast, winning around 55% of votes. Boric will be Chile’s youngest ever president. Last night President Sebastian Piñera gave a speech in which he congratulated Gabriel Boric.

That’s your world news in 7 minutes. A massive thank you to Josef from Austria for being out newest supporter. If you find the podcast valuable then you can support us at send7.org, where you can also find transcripts and more. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Juliet Martin. Have a great day

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