Tuesday 12th January 2021
In Uganda, Facebook has shut down accounts it says are linked to the Ugandan government. This has happened only days before elections for a new president and parliament. Facebook said a network connected with the ministry of information had been using fake accounts to increase the popularity of posts. After 35 years in power, President Yoweri Museveni is being strongly challenged by music star Bobi Wine, who is mainly supported by the younger voters. Bobi Wine has been recently detained, and dozens of opposition protesters have been killed. Mr Wine was speaking to international reporters when he was pepper sprayed and detained.
“What the word is seeing is just a small sneak peak of what happens in the country. I am a presidential candidate, as you can see, if I can be harassed like this, tear gassed and pepper sprayed like this, you can imagine what is happening to the Ugandans that don’t have a voice. That is why I take the risk to make sure I raise the voice of the people of Uganda. My most important mission is to be alive in 7 days from now.”
In Zimbabwe, the government has banned families from transporting their dead relatives to their hometowns to be buried. Yesterday’s announcement is part of new measures to stop traditional funeral rites that are believed to be increasing the spread of the coronavirus in Zimbabwe. Police have also banned public viewing of bodies and the tradition of having a corpse stay overnight in the family’s home before burial.
In Chad, Civil servants began a nationwide strike yesterday to increase their salaries which were cut four years ago. The decision to go on strike was taken in the capital, during a meeting that brought together the four largest trade unions in the country. A trade union spokesperson said the strike will run for three days, with members providing minimum services in hospitals. The workers will stay at home, but could eventually take to the streets if their demands are not met.
In Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, there was a clash between riot police and hundreds of protesters yesterday. The protesters are demanding a return of the monarchy that was abolished in 2008. Police blocked the main road to the prime minister’s office in the capital, beating the protesters, who responded by throwing rocks and sticks.
Japan has been hit by severe snow storms, killing at least eight people. The snowfall in the Hokuriku region is more than double the average expected for this time of year.
Yesterday in the United States, First Lady Melania Trump broke her silence on last week’s violence in Washington, DC. At least 5 people were killed last week when hundreds of her husband’s supporters stormed the US Capitol. In her statement she said: “Our Nation must heal in a civil manner. Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable.”
In Uruguay there were 1,000 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Sunday. This is a new record for the nation of 3.4m people. The figure is 28% higher than the previous daily record on the 6th January. Uruguay, which had a very low number of infections early on and had been praised by global health officials for its handling of the pandemic, has seen cases rise since December.
Pope Francis has formally changed the law in the Roman Catholic Church, allowing women to serve at the altar, and have more roles during mass. The Pope said women were making a "precious contribution" to the Church. But Pope Francis made clear that women still can’t be priests. The announcement is expected to force conservative Church leaders to accept greater involvement of women.
In the UK, the government announced yesterday it plans to ban imported goods suspected of using forced labour in China’s Xinjiang region. Britain has criticised the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China, saying it was “deeply troubling” that they are being forced to produce cotton. Beijing has denied allegations of forced labour.
Also in the UK, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have received Covid-19 vaccinations. The vaccinations were given on Saturday by a doctor at Windsor Castle. The Queen and Prince Philip are among around 1.5 million people in the UK to have had at least one dose of the Covid vaccine so far.
And finally, to adapt to the climate crisis, some wine makers in France are testing out more heat tolerant grapes. Grapes used for wine are usually grown in cooler climates.
And thats your world news in 7 minutes. You can read the transcript of todays episode or listen to past episodes at send7.org. I'm Namitha Ragunath and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.