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  • Namitha Ragunath

Thursday 7th October 2021

Asia

In Dubai, the High Court has found that the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, ordered the hacking of the phone of his ex-wife, Princess Haya of Jordan. The phones of her lawyers were also hacked during their divorce case. Sheikh Mohammed denied knowing about the hacking. The Sheikh has already been accused of mistreating female members of his family.


In Russia, authorities are investigating allegations of torture and rape in the prison system. This is after leaked videos showed inmates being abused. More than a thousand videos were leaked to a human rights group, which say the footage proves hundreds of people have been tortured. The videos are part of the many files provided by an anonymous Belarusian whistleblower who served time in a Russian prison.

Europe

In the UK, yesterday PM Boris Johnson promised to "get on with the job" of rebuilding the UK. He also defended tax rises to pay for the NHS and promised to fix social care. The 45-minute speech was his first to a conference since the pandemic began.


BJ: "When I stood on the steps of downing street, I promised to fix this crisis, and after decades of drift and dither, this reforming government, this can do government, this government that got Brexit done, that's getting the covid vaccine rollout done, is going to get social care done, and we are going to deal with the biggest underlying issues of our economy and society; the problems that no government has had the guts to tackle before. And I mean the long-term structural weaknesses in the UK economy."


In Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is under investigation. This is over claims that government money was used to make tabloid newspapers say good things about him. In a statement yesterday, prosecutors said that the chancellor and nine other individuals, as well as three organisations, are under investigation.

Africa

Children across Africa are to be vaccinated against malaria. This is a historic moment in the fight against the deadly disease. For years, malaria has been one of the biggest issues in Africa, mostly killing babies and infants. Having a vaccine - after more than a century of trying - is among medicine's greatest achievements. The vaccine was proven effective six years ago. Finally, the World Health Organization says the vaccine should be rolled out across Africa. Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the director of the WHO, said it was "a historic moment”.


DR. TG: "Malaria has been with us for millennia, and the dream of a malaria vaccine has been a long-held but unattainable dream. Today, the RTSS malaria vaccine - more than 30 years in the making - changes the course of public health history."


In Tunisia, authorities have shut down a television station after one of its hosts read an anti-dictatorship poem. Amer Ayad - a TV talk-show host - has been arrested and accused of going against Tunisia. The TV station has been critical of President Kais Saied's recent suspension of parliament, and his almost complete control of Tunisia. The talk show hosts arrest is the latest in a series of arrests that have targeted journalists and lawmakers who have challenged the president. Yesterday, the TV station posted on Facebook that security forces had violently entered its studios and began damaging equipment.

America

In Brazil, a sandstorm that lasted 20 minutes has caused significant damage to houses in São Paulo. Sandstorms also reached other cities and towns in the state, causing the sky to turn different shades of orange and brown. Not all droughts are due to climate change, but large amounts of heat in the atmosphere are making droughts worse. The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make large cuts to emissions.


In the United States, a man has been executed for murder despite advocates saying he had a disability. Ernest Johnson received a lethal injection. Pope Francis and two members of Congress had asked the court to lower his punishment and avoid the death penalty. Johnson killed three store workers in a 1994 robbery. Lawyers for Johnson argued he legally shouldn’t receive the death penalty because multiple IQ tests had shown he had the mental capacity of a child. He had also been missing a fifth of his brain tissue since 2008 after having surgery to remove a brain tumour.


And finally, in Sweden, two scientists have been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This was for their work on building molecules. German-born Benjamin List’s and Scotland-born David MacMillan’s work has been used to discover new drugs and make molecules that can capture light. The winners will share the prize money of about £850,000.


And that’s your Simple English world news in 7 minutes. Please leave a review in your podcast app. It really helps us to grow. I’m Namitha Ragunath, and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.

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