Thursday 1st of April 2021
In Russia, jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny said he will go on a hunger strike yesterday. This means he will not eat until he receives medical care in prison. According to Navalny, he feels pain in his back and both his legs, but said the prison has refused to give him the right medicines or let a doctor see him. Navalny was arrested on the 17th of January when he returned from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from being poisoned. Navalny says Russian authorities poisoned him, but Russia has denied this.
In Thailand, five activists have been charged with attempting to harm the Queen. The activists were involved in anti-government protests last year. The protests involved blocking a road the Queen was on. The activists could face a minimum of 16 years jail or life in prison. In Thailand, there are laws against harming the queen. If the court finds the activists put the Queen’s life in danger, they could be sentenced to death.
In the UK, a government review yesterday said the United Kingdom is not a racist country. The report said the UK "no longer" had a system that went against people from ethnic minorities. The report talked about the UK’s achievements towards equality in education and the economy. However, many critics have said the findings were not true, and that it ignores the problems black and ethnic minority people face. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick spoke about the report yesterday.
RJ: "No I don't think the UK is an institutionally racist country. I think we are broadly speaking a tolerant open society that's made huge steps forward in recent decades. But racism remains. We see that in a number of aspects of our lives, not least on social media, and we need to make further changes so that we can move forward as a country and towards the modern post-racial society that we'd all like to live in."
In France, it was announced yesterday that schools will close for at least three weeks. This is part of new national restrictions to stop the rise in Covid-19 cases. President Emmanuel Macron said that schools would move to remote learning from next week.
In the United States, Pfizer-BioNTech said yesterday that their vaccine was 100% effective against the coronavirus in 12 to 15-year-olds. The third round of trials included tests on more than 2,000 children. The company is planing to let children get the vaccine before the next school year.
Also in the United States, President Joe Biden yesterday introduced his new plan worth $2 trillion. The money will be aimed at helping America's economic growth and fighting climate change. Biden plans to balance this spending by increasing taxes on big corporations.
"So today, I'm proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth. That builds a fair economy that gives everybody the chance to succeed. That's going to create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world."
In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said yesterday that he would receive the coronavirus vaccine next week. He said it is now his turn given his age. Mexico started its vaccination campaign late last year. But the vaccinations have been slow due to late shipments and little supplies.
In Niger, security forces stopped an attempted military coup at the presidential palace yesterday. This happened just two days before the newly elected president is to be sworn into office. Several people were arrested and others are being investigated.
In Egypt, a former prime minister, Kamal al -Ganzuri, died yesterday. Al - Ganzuri died at a military hospital in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. He was 88 years old. Al- Ganzuri served as Egypt's prime minister three times.
And finally, today is April fools day! But for the second year in a row, Google is canceling its April Fools' Day pranks. Google said this is to respect the seriousness of the pandemic. Google has become famous for its pranks, in the past they announced humans living on Mars, a treasure-hunt option on Google Maps, and even "Google Translate for Animals."
Listeners - how do you want the world to change after the coronavirus pandemic? Has there been anything good from the last year that you would like to continue? Send your ideas by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by audio message at speakpipe.com/send7. Find transcripts and more at send7.org . I'm Namitha Ragunath, and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day!