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Monday 4th January 2021

Good Morning and Happy New Year. This is SEND7 - Simple English World News in 7 minutes. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Today is Monday 4th January 2021.

Starting in Asia today... India has approved 2 COVID19 vaccines - the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine and the Indian-designed Covaxin. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that it was great that both of these vaccines were being produced in India. However, opposition leader Sashi Tharoor said yesterday that the Indian Covaxin vaccine, had not yet finished phase 3 trials, and so it should not have been approved yet. India has confirmed over 10 million cases of COVID19, The second highest number in the world, after the United States.

In Pakistan an attack killed at least 11 people of the Hazara minority group yesterday. Daesh, the Islamic State group, claimed responsibility for the killing of the group of coal miners in Balochistan province. The Hazara Shia Muslim minority is often targeted by jihadi terrorist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In Japan Prime Minister Yokoshide Suga has said that the Tokyo Olympics will continue as planned this year. The Olympics were postponed from last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Japan recorded its highest single day of COVID19 infections on Friday. Suga said that preparations are being made to make the Olympics safe.

In Iraq thousands of people protested against the United States on Saturday - one year after the killing of Iranian general Qaseem Suleimani. Protesters held pictures of Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone strike in Baghdad last year.

Europe

The United Kingdom has now given more than one million people the Pfeizer COVID19 vaccine, and will start to give the Oxford University vaccine today. Despite heavy restrictions throughout the United Kingdom, over 57,000 new cases of COVID19 were reported on Saturday - the worst single day so far. The leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer said that schools should not open today, however Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that schools are safe. Johnson said that the next few months will be difficult, however, the situation will improve in the Spring...

“I said we were going to have a very bumpy period at Christmas and beyond but I thought that by the Spring things would be better. I stick to that. I think that’s roughly how it is going to be. It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in many parts of the country.”

Most parts of the European Union also started using the Pfizer vaccine in the last days of 2020. Israel is the country that has vaccinated the biggest proportion of its population by far. More than one in ten Israelis has already been vaccinated.

Africa


In Niger at least 70 people have been killed in attacks close to the border with Mali according to Niger’s interior Minister Alkache Alhada. The area often suffers attacks from Jihadist Islamist groups, as well as violence between different communities. Niger had a presidential election last week. No candidate received more than 50% of the vote, so a second round will be held on February. President Mahamadou Issoufou was not a candidate, as he finishes his second term this year.

In Mali 2 French soldiers were killed on Saturday. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. for the roadside bomb. 50 French soldiers have been killed in Mali since 2013, when France joined the Malian government in fighting jihadist groups.

Americas

In the United States, over 350,000 people have died from the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. President-elect Joe Biden has criticised the slow start to The United States vaccinations...

“At the pace the vaccination programme is moving now, it is going to take years not months to vaccinate the American people. The Biden Harris administration will spare no effort to make sure the American people get vaccinated.”

Also in the United States, The Washington Post newspaper has released a recording of President Donald Trump telling officials from the State of Georgia to “find” votes. More on that story tomorrow.

In Argentina, a new law which legalizes abortion is expected to come into effect within days. Last week Argentina became the fourth country in Latin America to legalize voluntary abortions, after Cuba, Guyana and Uruguay.

And Bitcoin has reached a record value of $33,000 dollars. The cryptocurrency has tripled in value since September.

That’s your World News in 7 minutes. Find the transcript for today’s episode, and listen to past episodes at send7.org I am Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.

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