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Monday 8th February 2021


Myanmar has had its largest protests in years this weekend. Tens of thousands of people protested in the biggest city, Rangoon, against the military coup d’etat which took power last week.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has had many of its democratically elected leaders arrested, including leader Aung San Suu Kyi since the coup last Monday. There were smaller protesters in the second city, Mandalay, and the administrative capital Nay Pyi Daw. The military has not publicly commented on the protests.

In India many people are expected to have died after a glacier broke apart in the Himalayas. A glacier, a large piece of ice, caused a dam to break in the Uttarakhand state, close to the border with China. More information from Maya Dil...

In India, a glacier has crashed into a hydroelectric dam causing large floods in the northern state of Uttarakhand. Around 150 people are missing and many deaths are expected. A rescue operation has started, and hundreds of soldiers and military aircraft have been sent to the area. Floods and landslides are common in Uttarakhand because it has a fragile environment and is close to an earthquake zone. In June 2013, flooding killed almost 6000 people in Uttarakhand.

In Iraq there has been a mass funeral for over 100 people of the Yazidi minority killed 6 years ago by Daesh - the Islamic State group. The United Nations has been coordinating the identification of bodies in Sinjar Province. According to the UN, around 5,000 Yazidis were killed by Daesh, and many women were sold as slaves. In 2015 the UN declared it a genocide. Today, most Yazidis live in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq.


United States President Joe Biden has said that the US will not stop sanctions on Iran until Iran stop enriching uranium. The administration of President Trump left a Nuclear Deal with Iran in 2018, and placed more sanctions on Iran. Biden has previously said that he would like the US to restart the nuclear deal. On Thursday Biden spoke about the United States place in the world. He also said that the US would not tolerate Russia’s aggressive actions around the world...

“I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that they days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions - interfering in our elections, cyber attacks, poisoning its citizens- are over. We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people.”

In Honduras there were protests this weekend for the legalization of abortion. Last week the Congress of Honduras added a ban on abortion to its constitution, making it even less likely that legalization can happen. Honduras has one of the strictest abortion bans in the world. Abortion is always illegal, even in cases of rape or risk to the mother’s life. Emergency contraception is also prohibited. Last month Argentina became the largest country in Latin America to legalize abortion.

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The Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has been criticised for having lunch with almost 40 people. Coronavirus restrictions in Greece say that 9 people is the maximum who can be in one place. In December Mitsotakis apologized for another incident of breaking social distancing rules.

Italy is expected to have a new government soon. The centrist Mario Draghi now has the support of the populist 5-star movement, the Far-right League party of Matteo Salvini, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, and former prime minister Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva party. Mario Draghi was previously the president of the European Central Bank.


South Africa has suspended the use of the Oxford University AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that new results have shown that the Oxford vaccine is not effective enough against the main strain of COVID19 in South Africa.

Zweli emphasized that the vaccine was safe, and that it is not known how much the vaccine prevented deaths from the South African strain. Mkhize said that South Africa will start to use vaccines made by Pfeizer and Johnson&Johnson within 4 weeks.

“If we are using international results, we would have assumed that the Astrazeneca vaccine has got high levels of efficacy, because in the UK it works, but for us it doesn’t quite work.”

In the Democratic Republic of Congo a woman who died last week, was found to have had the Ebola virus. The DRC declared itself Ebola-free 3 months ago. The World Health Organization is helping to track people whom the woman may have come into contact with.

And in the United States, former Secretary of State George Shultz has died, aged 100. With President Ronald Regan, Shultz is considered to have helped improve relations with the Soviet Union...

“And then we have to be able to reach out and help other countries. You don’t lead in the world by telling people what to do, you lead in the world by being helpful.”

That’s your world news in 7 minutes. Read the text of today’s episode at Send an audio message at Follow us on social media @send7podcast. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.

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