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Monday 8th March 2021

Africa

In Equatorial Guinea there were huge explosions last night in the largest city, Bata. At the time of recording this podcast 20 deaths have been reported but more are expected. The health ministry said that over 600 people had been injured and they were asking the public to donate blood. President Teodoro Mbasogo said that the explosions were caused by the poor storage of dynamite in an army base.

In Somalia ten people were killed in a bombing in a Mogadishu on Saturday. Islamist Jihadist group Al-shabaab claimed responsibility.

In Nigeria a Chinese boat has been freed, a month after 14 crew members were taken hostage. The Nigerian military said that $300,000 dollars was paid to the pirates to release the boat.

Americas

In the United States, an interview with British Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle will be broadcast today. The interview hosted by Oprah Winfrey, is expected to have cost $7 million dollars for American TV channel CBS and British channel ITV has paid a million pounds for the right to broadcast it in the United Kingdom. Millions of people are expected to watch. In a pre-released part of the conversation, Markle said that she felt liberated by not having to continue to follow the rules of the Royal Family...

MM: “It’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes...

OW: “And to say it for yourself, and not to have to consult with anybody at this point”

MM: “To be able to just make a choice on your own, and just be able to speak for yourself.”

In Latin America there have been protests against COVID19 restrictions in many countries. Maya Dil takes us around the region...

In parts of Latin America tighter COVID restrictions have led to protests. Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have re-introduced lockdowns to fight the growing number of COVID infections. In Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, rubber bullets and tear gas were used against protesters, who responded by throwing stones at the police. In Argentina, police also fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters in the city of Formosa after some businesses were closed by authorities. in Argentina, the pandemic and restrictions have made the economic recession much worse. The Brazilian city of Rio de Janairo, has gone into partial lockdown. This is after the city reported record numbers of COVID cases in the last two days and its worst week of the pandemic so far.

Asia

In Iran the British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Radcliffe has been freed, 5 years after being charged with spying. Ratcliffe became a British citizen in 2013, however Iran does not recognize double citizenship. Ratcliffe was arrested when visiting family in Iran in 2016 and charged with planning to bring down the Iranian government. United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said yesterday that Ratcliffe must be allowed to return to the UK as soon as possible to be reunited with her family.

In Iraq the Pope visited Mosul yesterday. Pope Francis visited churches that were destroyed by Daesh, the Islamic State group, during the 3 years that it controlled Mosul. The Pope has met Muslim leaders in Iraq and talked about inter-religious peace. He will leave Iraq today.

In the Philippines at least 9 activists were killed by police this weekend according to rights groups. On Friday President Rodrigo Duterte told the police to ‘forget about human rights’ and kill communist rebels. Rights groups say that there is no distinction being made between armed rebels and other activists.

Europe

In Switzerland a referendum has approved a ban on full face coverings in public places. 51% of voters agreed to the proposal, that critics say targets the Muslim minority. Swiss media is calling it a ‘Burqa ban’ despite the fact that the law does not mention burqas or Muslims. Almost nobody is expected to be affected by the ban, as full-face coverings are extremely rare among Switzerland’s Muslims.

Czechia has asked Germany, Switzerland and Poland to take some of its COVID19 patients, saying that its hospitals are at maximum capacity. Last week Slovakia transferred COVID patients to Poland.

In France, billionaire politician Olivier Dassault died yesterday in a helicopter crash. Olivier was one of the richest people in France, and a deputy in the National assembly since 2002. President Emmanuel Macron said that he loved France.

And everywhere in the world, today is International Women’s day. So far in 2021, Kamala Harris has become the United States’ first female vice-president, Kaja Kallas has become Estonia’s first female Prime Minister and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has become the first female and first African leader of the World Trade Organization. Right now 29 countries have a female head of state.

That’s your news in 7 minutes. Thank you to Gaetano in Italy for your nice message. If you enjoy the podcast please leave a review on your podcast app. You can find transcripts and past episodes at send7.org 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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