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Monday 21st June 2021


In Iran Ebrahim Raisi has won the presidential election with 62% of votes, although voter turnout was the lowest evert recorded. Raisi is Iran’s top judge, and is known for ultra-conservative views. In Iran the president is the second most powerful person, after the Supreme leader, who is not elected.

In Japan Tokyo’s governor Yuriko Koike has cancelled all public viewing sites for the Olympics and has said that some will be turned into vaccination centres instead. Coronavirus restrictions have been relaxed in Tokyo and other cities from today, however foreign spectators are not allowed into Japan to watch the games. Polls show that most people and businesses in Japan want the games to be cancelled or delayed.

Sri Lanka’s coast has been damaged by the X-Press Pearl Ship that caught fire and sunk over the last few weeks. Maya Dil reports...

In Sri Lanka’s sea, a fire on a container ship that started on May 20th has caused “significant damage to the planet” according to united nations representative Hanaa Singer-Hamdy. The Sri Lankan navy says that the fire was started by the chemical cargo on the ship, which sank close to the capital, Colombo, on Thursday, a month after catching fire. Tonnes of microplastic from the fire have caused a fishing ban in Colombo and sea animals like dolphins and turtles have been found dead on beaches, according to local reports. The United nations has sent a team of chemical experts to Sri Lanka to assess the environmental damage, and is working to prevent disasters like this from happening again.

India is offering free COVID19 vaccinations to all adults from today. Last week Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this dramatic change in policy. Previously States were buying their own vaccines and making decisions about who to give them to. New cases of COVID19 have fallen in India in the last few weeks, to around 60,000 new cases a day. Last week there was an average of 1,400 deaths a day after testing positive for COVID, although this is expected to be an undercount. Milkha Singh, one of India’s most celebrated athletes, and his wife Nirmal, both died of COVID19 this weekend.

In China, Social Media company Linkedin is blocking profiles from being seen in China if they contain politically sensitive topics, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. LinkedIn has previously said that it follows China’s censorship rules. Many of the world’s most visited websites are blocked in China, such as Google, Youtube, Facebook, Wikipedia and most western news websites.


In Libya transitional Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh has officially reopened the main road between Misrata and Sirte. This road is considered important because it was the dividing line between the East and West of Libya during the civil war which finished last year. In March a transitional government was formed including members of the rival Eastern and Western governments. In December Libya is expected to hold its first nationwide election since 2014 when the civil war started.

Ethiopia is holding parliamentary elections today. Elections were supposed to take place last year, but Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed delayed them because of the COVID19 pandemic. Abiy won the Nobel peace prize in 2019 for making peace with Eritrea, however, Abiy has been criticised by the international community for a war in the Northern Tigray region that has killed thousands of people and has left hundreds of thousands without food. People in the Tigray region and some other regions won’t be able to vote today.


Canada has extended its travel ban with the United States. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that it won’t open until 75% of adults have received a COVID vaccination...

Peru has seen rival protests this weekend. Supporters of socialist Pedro Castillo called for him to be officially declared president. Supporters of conservative Keiko Fujimori called for the election results to be cancelled because of fraud. Official results show that Castillo won 50.1% of votes and Fujimori won 49.9%.


In Belgium, a far-right soldier who had threatened to kill people was found dead yesterday. Hundreds of security forces were involved in the search for Jurgen Conings after he escaped a military base with many weapons.

France held regional elections yesterday. At the time of recording this podcast, results have not been announced but voter turnout is thought to be very low.

Today is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere - the day with the most hours of sunlight, and, of course, it is the shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere.

Go to to read the transcript of today’s episode, or to send us a message in writing or in audio. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.

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