Thursday 18th February 2021


In Zanzibar, the first vice-president Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, died yesterday, a few weeks after being infected with Coronavirus. He died at the age of 77. He had been receiving treatment at the Muhimbili National Hospital. Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has offered his condolences in a tweet.

In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday received the coronavirus vaccine by Johnson & Johnson on live television.

"I've just had my vaccination and I must say that at first I was a bit terrified of this long needle that was going to be bedded into my arm but it happened so quickly, so easily, it was just a prick. This day represents a real milestone for us as South Africans, that finally the vaccines are here. Being vaccinated is a fairly straight forward process. I'd like to invite South Africans to take this up so that we can all be safe and we can all be healthy."

In Nigeria, a group of men with guns yesterday killed a school student and kidnapped 27 other children. Three members of staff and 12 of their relatives were also kidnapped. Around 600 boys were asleep in their rooms when the men broke into the boarding school. The security forces are being used to help with the rescue of these children.


The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered yesterday that Russia must release Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny from jail. The court, based in France, said that this must be done immediately. They said that failure to release him would be a breach of the European human rights convention. Navalny was arrested on January 17th, when he returned to Moscow from Berlin.

In Poland, the government is rewriting the newly proposed media tax. The tax was introduced earlier this month. The government said the tax would help raise money from big media companies who pay low taxes. But smaller independent media companies said the tax would hurt them instead. Last Wednesday many independent media companies protested, and 45 media companies signed a letter last week protesting the tax. The US Foreign Affairs Committee also released a statement on their concerns with the government of Poland’s proposed media advertising tax.

Our listener, Marek, reads what was written on the US Foreign Affairs Committee’s statement:

"We are reading in the letter: Freedom of the press is a pillar of any successful democracy. Poland has a proud history of fighting for democratic freedoms, and, as a member of the European Union, it must hold itself to the highest standard of democratic principles."

Thank you Marek! Give your comment or opinion on any news story by sending an audio message at


In Peru, doctors have revealed that Former Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra asked and received an early vaccination against Covid-19. In Peru, healthcare workers were meant to be the first to receive the vaccination. The early vaccinations of ministers has caused anger in Peru, and has led to the resignation of the country's health and foreign ministers, as well as two vice ministers.

In the United States, a huge winter storm in the southern states has killed at least 21 people and left millions without electricity in Texas. The extreme weather is expected to continue until the weekend.


In Myanmar, hundreds of thousands of people protested across Myanmar yesterday. The biggest crowds were seen in the biggest city, Yangon Drivers in Yangon protested by blocking the roads. Demonstrators are demanding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected civilian leaders following the coup.

In Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party is now allowing five female lawmakers to join its board meetings, which has been criticised for being run by men. The women cannot talk during the meeting, and can only submit opinions afterwards. This new rule was made after Japan’s Olympics chief was forced to resign over sexist comments. Japan is ranked very poorly for women’s involvement in politics and the economy on the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index.

And finally, Apple has now created an emoji for vaccinations. They said the syringe can be used for any discussion about Covid-19 vaccinations.

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