Thursday 12th August 2021
In northern Algeria, wildfires have now killed at least 65 people. This includes 28 soldiers sent to help the firefighters. The fires in the mountainous region are some of the worst in Algeria’s history. Officials have blamed the fires on those who purposely set fires to buildings. Algeria has declared three days of national mourning for the victims. A total of 69 fires were burning yesterday. This is as North Africa faces an extreme heatwave. The flames have been spread by strong winds and dry weather conditions.
In Zambia, people will decide today whether to re-elect President Edgar Lungu after Zambia’s worst economic performance in decades. Polls suggest it a close election race. His main rival, is Hakainde Hichilema. Hichilema has already lost to Lungu twice: Once in a 2015 by-election after the death of ex-President Michael Sata and then in general polls the following year. Critics have said Lungu has deployed the army to intimidate opposition voters.
In Dubai, the campaign to free Princess Latifa, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, has ended. This was after the princess was pictured in Iceland. The image was posted on Instagram on Monday by a British woman who has previously appeared in photos with Princess Latifa. But it is unclear if Latifa, who has not spoken publicly, is acting under her own free will, or if she is being controlled. In a video published earlier this year, the princess said she was being held captive by her father. This led to international outcry, with the United Nations demanding for proof that the princess was still alive.
In China, a court has found a Canadian businessman guilty of spying. The court has sentenced Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison. This sentencing is likely to affect the already poor relations between China and Canada. Spavor was convicted of spying and illegally providing state secrets. This was announced by the court yesterday.
In Italy, the island of Sicily may have recorded the hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe - 48.8C (119.8F). Authorities reported the temperature yesterday. The current official record in Europe is 48C. This was recorded in Greece, in 1977. The latest heatwave in Italy is being caused by an anticyclone - nicknamed Lucifer. Anticyclones are areas of high pressure in the sky, where the air is sinking. Lucifer is set to head north across mainland Italy, further raising temperatures in cities including the capital, Rome.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated the students getting their A-Level results before encouraging them to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
BJ: "And good luck with your your next big moves. Can I suggest that one of them should be straight away, if you hadn't yet done it, to get a vaccination, get a jab. Thanks very much everybody, well done on your a-levels."
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro plans to change the current electronic voting system was unsuccessful in Congress. The president wants to change the electronic system to one that uses paper. Mr Bolsonaro, who is planning to run for a second term next year, says the current system is open to fraud. He has for years campaigned for a change to Brazil's electronic voting system, which has been in place for 25 years and which experts say has great results.
In the United States, drug regulators are set to issue a third dose of Covid vaccines for people with weak immune systems. This is after a new study showed the benefits of an extra shot in weaker patients. A third dose of Moderna vaccine significantly raised antibody levels against the coronavirus in transplant patients. The Food and Drug Administration is set to begin the rollout process as soon as today.
And finally, scientists are testing a computer system that could diagnose dementia after a single brain scan. It may also be able to predict whether patients will need immediate treatment. Currently, it can take several scans and tests to diagnose dementia. The researchers involved say earlier detection of dementia could greatly improve patient outcomes.
And that’s your world news in 7 minutes. Leave a review on your podcast app, or mention us in an Instagram story, and we will say thank you on the podcast. A big thank you to Alessandro from Rome, Italy, for mentioning us on your Instagram story! Go to send7.org to read transcripts and more. Follow us on social media @send7podcast. I’m Namitha Ragunath and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.