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Monday 26th July 2021

Africa

In Ethiopia there is concern that war could continue between Tigrayans and people of other ethnicities. On Friday the president of Ethiopia’s Afar region, east of Tigray, told civilians in Afar to fight Tigrayan rebels. Yesterday, the President of Ethiopia’s Ahmara state, to the south of Tigray, also told civilians to fight Tigrayans. The war in Ethiopia started last November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent soldiers into the Tigray region to remove the local government.

In Nigeria a man has been kidnapped when trying to pay kidnappers to release school children. 136 children were kidnapped in Niger state in May. The old man was carrying 30 million Naira - around $73,000 dollars, that parent’s had raised by selling land and possessions. According to the BBC, the kidnappers called the headmaster, and said that the money was not the agreed amount.

Sierra Leone has voted to abolish the death penalty. The last execution in Sierra Leone was over 20 years ago. In the world today, 108 countries have completely abolished capital punishment, and 54 continue to use the death penalty.

Europe

In Hungary thousands of people marched in Budapest this weekend to celebrate LGBT pride and protest against a new law from Viktor Orban's governemnt. Orban has said that his policies are aimed at preserving family values and protecting children. The European Union has launched legal action against the Hungarian government, saying that it discriminates against people based on their sexuality. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said that the law goes against the basic principles of the EU...

“The Hungarian bill is a shame. This bill clearly discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. And it goes against all the values - the fundamental values - of the European Union, and this is human dignity, it is equality, and is the human fundamental rights. So we will not compromise on these principles.”

In the United Kingdom the chief executive of cigarette company Philip Morris, has called for a ban on cigarettes. Jacek Olczak said that the UK government should ban cigarettes by 2030, the same date when petrol cars will stop being sold. Olczak said that Philip Morris is aiming for half its revenue to come from non-smoking products by 2025.

Americas

In Peru police have stopped a criminal organization charging large amounts of money for access to Intensive care beds for coronavirus patients. Some people were being asked to pay over $20,000 dollars for a bed for their relatives. Peru has recorded the highest death rate in the world from COVID19.

The United States has said that it will continue to carry out air strikes to support the Afghan army. Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie said that in the last few days the US has increased its airstrikes on the Taliban, despite the US having almost completely removed its soldiers. The Afghan government has imposed a curfew to try to stop the advance of the Taliban. Civilians will not be allowed to leave their houses between 10pm and 4am. The Taliban have taken a lot of land in the last few weeks, and now control around half of Afghanistan.

Asia

In India heavy rains and landslides have killed at least 120 people this weekend. In Maharastra rescue operations are continuing after the heaviest July rainfall in 40 years. Goa’s chief minister Pramod Sawant said that it the worst flooding in decades and over a thousand homes were damaged. Extreme weather has been linked to thousands of deaths across the world in July. Floods in Western Europe killed at least 210 people, in China at least 60 people died last week, and heatwaves in Canada and the United States have been blamed for 800 excess deaths. Yesterday parts of Belgium were flooded again, just two weeks after the worst floods in decades.

In Australia there were large anti-lockdown demonstrations on Saturday. Around half of Australia is currently in a lockdown. There were fears that the protests caused more infections, as Sunday was one of the highest increases in infections this year. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the protesters were selfish...

“Millions of Sydney -siders who stayed home. They’re the ones who are bringing an end to the lockdown sooner. Not those who are putting themselves at risk, those around them at risk, particularly the police at risk. And that was a very selfish act.”

In Japan the Olympics started this weekend. Skateboarding is an Olympic sport for the first time. Yuto Horigome of Japan won the first ever gold medal for skateboarding. And France beat the United States in a basketball match. This was the first time that the US team lost a game at the Olympics since 2004. In swimming there was a major shock as Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui won the 400 metre freestyle, despite being ranked 16th. Hafnaoui is only 18 years old.

That’s your seven minutes. Comment on any new story in writing or by sending an audio message at send7.org where you can also find todays transcript. Follow us on social media @send7podcast. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.

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