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Thursday 17th September 2020

Asia

Yesterday Israel carried out air raids in the Gaza strip after rockets were fired into Israel. Two Israelis were injured. In Palestine protests are continuing against the return to normal relations between Israel and some Arab States. Hamas and Fatah, who are normally rivals, sent a joint message of rejection to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who officially normalised relations with Israel on Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of social media users have signed an anti-normalisation petition. More protests are planned outside embassies of the UAE and Bahrain. On Tuesday, officials from Bahrain and the UAE met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the United States, with President Donald Trump. Netanyahu said that the deal is a step towards peace in the Middle East...

“I thank you both for your wise leadership, and for working with the United States and Israel to expand the circle of peace. I am grateful to king Hamad of Bahrain and to you foreign minister abdullatif al Zayani for joining us, in brining hope to all the children of Abraham.”

In Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned religious kidnappings. The Human Rights Commision of Pakistan says that over a thousand girls under the age of 18 are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam every year in Pakistan. Hindus and Christians make up around 4% of Pakistan’s population.

In India there is a shortage of oxygen as hospitals contain tens of thousands of extra patients with COVID19. Maharastra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh say that demand for oxygen is now 3 times the normal amount. India has now confirmed 83,000 deaths from COVID19 and over 5 million infections have been confirmed. This is less than the 6.8 million confirmed infections from the United States, however, India’s testing rate is far lower than the United States’.

Europe

The European commission president Ursula Von der Leyen made her first ‘state of union’ speech yesterday. During the speech, Von der Leyen criticised Poland’s LGBT-free zones, - saying that they have no place in the EU...

“Because being yourself is not your ideology, it is your identity. So I want to be crystal clear - LGBTQI-free zones, are humanity-free zones, and they have no place in our union.”

In Belarus yesterday, an opposition leader was charged with undermining national security. Maria Kolesnikova was one of 3 female politicians in Belarus who played an important role in demonstrations against dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

Africa

In Algeria journalist Khaled Drareni has been sentenced to two years in prison for “inciting a gathering” and “endangering national unity”. Drareni has worked for French TV channel TV5 monde and is the editor of local website Casbah Tribune. Amnesty International have said that the sentencing of Drureni is an attack on the freedom of press .

In Uganda, at least 200 prisoners escaped yesterday in the district of Moroto. It is reported that the prisoners removed all clothing to avoid being seen. At least one soldier and two prisoners were killed during a gun fight after the escape.


Americas

In the United States, President Donald Trump said that a COVID19 vaccine could be just 3 weeks away, despite most health officials denying this. Earlier this month, the US infectious disease chief Anthony Fauci said that most experts believe a vaccine would be ready by November or December. Trump also repeated the claim yesterday that the virus would go away by itself.

“If you want to know the truth - the previous administration would have taken, perhaps , years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals, but we are within weeks of getting it, could be 3 weeks, 4 weeks, but we think we have it - Johnson and Johnson, Pfeizer... we have great companies in there - very very close.”

In Mexico, president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has asked the senate for a referendum on whether to investigate previous presidents for corruption. If the senate agrees, then there would be a referendum next year, in which Mexicans could vote for or againt investigating former presidents. Obrador has accused 5 former presidents of systemic corruption.

And in the world - the coronavirus recession will not be as bad as previously thought, according to the OECD. The OECD said yesterday that the world’s economy will fall by 4.5% this year - the worst recession in history - however, less than the 6%, previously estimated. The OECD expects that in 2021 the world economy will grow by 5%.

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