Thursday 15th July 2021
In Spain, a top court has ruled that last year's strict coronavirus lockdown was unconstitutional. This means people who were fined for breaking the rules can ask back the money they paid. The government declared a state of emergency on 14 March last year, during the first wave of Covid-19 infections. At the time, the coronavirus cases and deaths were rising and hospitals were quickly becoming over crowded. Since then, more than 81,000 people in Spain have died with the coronavirus. Under the emergency rules almost all people in Spain were ordered to stay at home, and were only allowed to leave for essential reasons. But Spain's Constitutional Court voted that the state of emergency was not enough to set those restrictions.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to ban people guilty of sending racist abuse to footballers from going to matches. Racist comments have been directed at some players after England lost Sunday's Euro 2020 final.
BJ: "I repeat that I utterly condemn and abhor the racist outpourings that we saw on Sunday night. If you are guilty Mr Speaker of racist abuse online of footballers, then you will not be going to the match. No ifs, no buts, no exemptions, and no excuses."
The European Union has announced several new climate change proposals to help Europe reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. A dozen draft proposals, which still need to be approved by the 27 member states and the EU parliament, were announced yesterday. They include plans to tax jet fuel and ban the sale of petrol and diesel powered cars within 20 years. Yesterday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Europe is ready to lead the way.
UL: "Our package aims to combine the reduction of emissions with measures to preserve nature, and to put jobs and social balance at the heart of this transformation."
In Afghanistan, around 350 refugees have crossed into the Central Asian country of Tajikistan over two days. These refugees are fleeing Taliban fighters. Two babies have allegedly died during the border crossing. Recently the Taliban have taken control of certain parts of Afghanistan as US troops have been told to return to the United States. Yesterday, the Taliban claimed to have taken control of a border with Pakistan. The Afghan interior ministry, however, said the armed group’s attack was stopped by government forces.
In Pakistan, at least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, have been killed in an explosion. The explosion caused a bus to fall off a mountainside in Pakistan. China says the bomb was planned, but Pakistani officials are saying it was an accident. Two soldiers were killed and a number of others were injured.
In South Africa, there are now long queues outside shops and petrol stations following days of violence sparked by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma. Firefighters are cleaning up the mess, helped by local people with brooms. Rioters robbed and destroyed shops, leading to shortages of basic products. Some petrol stations have limited the amount people can buy. Northern Cape has become the latest province to be hit by violence. The Zulu king has asked for peace and an end to the riots.
In Kenya, the government is facing criticism for giving women out-of-date contraceptives. Women who received implants, which are two small rods put inside women’s arms, reported seeing mould on them. The implants slowly release a hormone called progesterone - that stops a woman’s body from releasing an egg each month during ovulation. The allegedly mouldy contraceptives were given to different regions of the East African nation. This was through the government-owned medical supply agency, Kemsa.
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has been taken to hospital for tests after suffering continuous hiccups. His office said he will be watched by doctors for 24 to 48 hours, but not necessarily in a hospital. A statement by staff said he was "feeling good and doing well”. There have been concerns about Bolsonaro health since he was stabbed while campaigning in 2018. Mr Bolsonaro was seriously injured in the attack and lost 40% of his blood. He has had several operations since the stabbing. Medical experts say the hiccups could be due to the surgery.
And finally, a city in the US state of Minnesota has told people not to release their unwanted pet fish into the wild after finding a huge goldfish in a lake. Goldfish can grow much bigger in the wild and affect the ecosystem. Many people on social media have been sharing the pictures of the giant goldfish that was recently caught.
That’s your Simple English world news for today. Big thank you to Luciano in Brazil, for your kind message. You can find transcripts or send us a message at send7.org. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @send7podcast. I’m Namitha Ragunath and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.