In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected criticism about the decision to make the Hagia Sophia a mosque. People around the world have been divided in support or in opposition of Turkey’s decision. Many muslims celebrated the decision to allow muslims to worship there again. However, many secular Turks and Christians said that the Hagia Sophia should be for everyone. Russia, The US, Greece and France all expressed concern. President Erdogan has said that Muslim prayers would begin on July 24th.
In China floods are getting worse. Over 5 million people have been affected and over 400,000 people have been evacuated along the Yangtse River.
In Israel there were large protests last night. Thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv to show anger at the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani banned weddings and other large gatherings yesterday, as COVID19 continues to accelerate. However Rouhani has said that there will not be a lockdown.
In India 850,000 COVID cases have been reported. Yesterday Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan tested positive, and he asked everyone that he had met in the past few days to get tested.
United Nations secretary General Antonio Guteress spoke yesterday about the need to make the world more equal. He said that any COVID19 vaccine should be available equally around the world, and that the pandemic could give the world an opportunity to rebuild in a more fair way…
“The COVID19 crisis is a wakeup call. Economies and societies must be reshaped to be fairer and more inclusive. Effective treatment and the future vaccine against the coronavirus must be available to everyone everywhere as a global public good. A people’s vaccine. Above all, we need a recovery based on economic and social justice since response gaps in pandemics, whether HIV or COVID19 lie along the fault lines of inequality and political choices…”
Libya will restart the production of oil, after a 6 month shutdown. Libya is expected to have lost 6 billion dollars from not producing oil in the last 6 months. Libya is currently divided between the UN recognized government in the West and the forces of General Khalifa Haftar in the East.
In South Africa 5 people have died in an attack on a church. More than 40 people have been arrested and many guns have been seized.
And Mali’s Prime Minister Babou Cisse has promised government reforms after large protests President Boubacar Keita. At least 4 people have died in protests in Mali in the last few days.
Poland has the second round of its presidential election today. Right-wing president Andrzej Duda is facing the mayor of Warsaw Rafow Shaskofsky (Rafal Trzaskowski).
Yesterday Bosnia remembered 25 years since the Srebernica genocide. The 1995 killing of 8,000 muslims by Serbian soldiers was the only genocide in Europe since the second world war.
Americas The United States continues to break its own records for daily COVID19 cases. On Friday 69,000 cases were confirmed, bringing a total of 3.3 million. Speaking on Friday the US medical advisor Anthony Fauci said that COVID19 was the ‘perfect storm’…
“It really is the perfect storm – an infectious disease and public health crisis, worst nightmare. It’s a spectacularly transmissible virus. The efficiency with which this transmits is really striking. In addition, despite the wide degree of variability, from a certain proportion, up to 40% of people who get no symptoms, up to and including people who get sick enough to require intensive care and dying. That is a very complex situation to really get control of.
In Panama doctors have said that hospitals are not able to cope with the number of coronavirus cases. Panama has recorded 43,000 infections, high, for a small population of only 4.3 million people. Neighbour Costa Rica which has a bigger population, has recorded only 7,000 cases.
Bolivia is also reporting that its hospitals are overwhelmed by the coronavirus. In Bolivia confirmed infections have doubled in the last 3 weeks and include interim president Jeanine Añez.
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