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Tuesday 15th December 2020

Americas

In the United States, vaccinations against COVID19 started yesterday. Health care workers are the first people being offered the Pfeizer vaccine, which was approved on Friday. In the United States, over 300,000 people are confirmed to have died of COVID19, since the first death in February. In New York, Sandra Lindsay, a critical-care nurse was the first person in the United States to be vaccinated. She said that after months of working with COVID19 patients, she felt relief...

“It was an emotional experience. Working on the frontlines alongside my team, I saw a lot of pain, hurt, suffering, death. And so I felt a huge sense of relief, after I got the vaccine. I was not nervous. As I mentioned before I trust the science, so I had no hesitation when I was asked if I would take the vaccine. I have been waiting for this day forever. So I’m happy its here. Im grateful that I had the opportunity to have access to the vaccine and my hope is that in the coming months, more people around the world will have the same access and opportunity.”

Also in United States the electoral college vote took place yesterday - which gives the official confirmation that Joe Biden won the presidential election in November. Biden will become president on the 20th January.

Donald Trump has lost over 50 court cases related to trying to change the result of the election. On Friday the Supreme Court, which has a majority of Republican appointed judges, also rejected President Trump’s claims of fraud.

In Bolivia, an ecological team has found 20 previously unknown species. In forests around 50km from the capital La Paz, scientists found new butterflies, a snake, and a frog that is one centimetre long.

Africa

Eswatini’s Prime Minister has died after testing positive for COVID19. Ambrose Dlamini was 52 and had been in hospital in South Africa for four weeks since testing positive in Eswatini, or Swaziland. Dlamini is the first head of government confirmed to have died with COVID19, although it is suspected that Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza may have died with the coronavirus in June.

In Cote d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara has been sworn in for a third term as president. Results from last month’s election showed Ouattara winning 94% of the vote, which was boycotted by opposition parties. Opposition parties said that it was illegal for anyone to serve more than 2 terms as president, however Ouattara said that a change in the constitution allowed him to restart his terms.

Asia

Iran executed the journalist and activist Ruhollah Zam on Sunday. Zam had been convicted of corruption and spying, and was known for playing a role in the 2017-2018 Iranian protests. The United Nations Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachalet, said yesterday “I am appalled at the execution in Iran on 12 December of Ruhollah Zam”. Iran is believed to be the country with the highest execution rate in the world.

Azerbaijan has arrested some of its own soldiers, suspected of war crimes. After a deal to pass territory from Armenia to Azerbaijan last month, many videos began to circulate, showing Azerbaijani soldiers destroying Armenian cemeteries, and defiling the dead bodies of Armenians.

Saudi Arabia has confirmed that there was a terrorist attack in the port of Jeddah yesterday. The ministry of Energy said yesterday that a fuel tanker was attacked by another boat filled with explosives. Nobody was harmed in the attack, which is suspected have been carried out by Yemeni Houthis.

Australia and New Zealand will allow travel between them early next year. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that a travel bubble would start in the first quarter of 2021, that allows people to travel without the need to quarantine.

Europe

Most of Europe is in the middle of a second wave of coronavirus infections. In many countries hundreds of people are dying every day. Yesterday The Netherlands announced a month-long lockdown starting today. Germany and Czechia have also announced similar lockdowns. In the UK, London has been put under Tier 3 restrictions - the highest level of restrictions which are similar to a lockdown.

The World Health Organization said yesterday that Santa Claus is immune to COVID19. Dr Maria van Kerkhove said yesterday that world leaders have relaxed airspace restrictions so that Father Christmas will be able to deliver presents as normal.

That’s your world news in 7 minutes. Message us on facebook, twitter or instagram @send7podcast. Find the transcript for today’s episode at send7.org I am Stephen Devincenzi. See you tomorrow.

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