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  • Namitha Ragunath

Tuesday 15th June 2021

Asia

China has criticised the G7 leaders’ joint statement. China’s embassy in London yesterday said it was not happy with the comments made. They said the leaders of the G7 changed the facts of the situations. The G7 includes the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK. The embassy also said the statement showed the bad intentions of these countries. On Sunday, the Group of Seven leaders discussed the human rights issues in Xinjiang, called for autonomy in Hong Kong, and talked about the importance of peace and stability in Taiwan. These are all highly sensitive issues for Beijing.

In Myanmar, the trial of leader Aung San Suu Kyi continues. Yesterday, a police major said that Aung San Suu Kyi broke coronavirus rules during last year’s elections. In that election, her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by many votes. During the trial she was also accused of illegally importing and using walkie-talkies. Also in Myanmar, an American journalist detained since March has been released. Nathan Maung was released from prison yesterday and will fly back to the United States today.


In India, many states have eased coronavirus restrictions. This is including the capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed all shops and shopping centres to open. This is as the number of new infections dropped to the lowest in more than two months. Experts have warned against a full reopening as India has vaccinated only about 5 percent of its estimated 950 million adults.

Europe

In Belarus, detained opposition blogger Roman Protasevich was seen at a news conference in Minsk. During the conference, authorities gave their version of the Ryanair plane diversion that took place on 23 May. Protasevich is being held at a KGB prison in Belarus' capital, and said he was feeling fine and had not been beaten. He also said he had caused damage to Belarus and now wanted to fix the situation. However, journalists at the event claim that Protasevich was clearly being forced to be there and was being told what to say. Before his arrest, the opposition blogger said he feared a possible death penalty.

In the UK, yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the final stage of easing lockdown restrictions in England will be delayed. Mr Johnson said he was "confident" the delay would not need to be longer than four weeks.

BJ: "Since today, I cannot say that we have met all our four tests for proceeding with step four on June the 21st. I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer. To give the NHS that extra time, we will hold off step four openings until July the 29th."



Africa

In Zambia, former President and founding father Kenneth Kaunda is receiving treatment at a military hospital in the capital Lusaka. Yesterday his team said he had been feeling unwell but they have not said what exactly he is receiving treatment for. Zambia is currently facing a rise in COVID-19 cases. The 97-year-old ruled Zambia from 1964, when the country won its independence from Britain, until 1991. He is among the continent’s few surviving founding fathers. Zambia's President Edgar Lungu has asked people to pray for Kaunda. South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa has joined the people of Zambia in prayers for his health.


In South Sudan, health authorities have said that they have so far vaccinated more than 16,000 people against Covid-19. South Sudan has a population of 13 million. In March, South Sudan received 59,000 doses from the African Union (AU). But the 59,000 doses donated by the AU could not be used as they expired on 13 April. This was before South Sudan could start a vaccine rollout. But now the vaccine programme has started. Yesterday, the health ministry said that 16,509 doses had so far been given.



Americas

Canada has approved terror charges against a man accused of killing four members of a Muslim family with his car. Police have said that Nathaniel Veltman intentionally hit the family because of their religion. He faces four first-degree murder charges and one attempted murder charge. Three generations of the Afzaal family were killed, leaving just one survivor.


In Nicaragua, police have detained five more well known opposition figures. Critics say this is a attack on opponents of the Nicaragua's president. Several former allies of long-time President Daniel Ortega were amongst those arrested. Police accused them of meddling with Nicaragua's affairs among other crimes. Twelve senior opposition figures have been arrested in recent days.


And finally, yesterday was world blood donor day. In the UK, new rules now allow more gay and bi-sexual men to donate blood. Before now, any male donor who'd had sex with another man in the previous three months couldn't give blood.

And that’s your world news in 7 minutes. Send your opinion on any news story by email to podcast@send7.org or send an audio message at send7.org where you can also find transcripts. I’m Namitha Ragunath, and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.

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