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Tuesday 21st December 2021

Asia


In Malaysia, at least eight people have died in floods and over 50,000 peple have been evacuated from their homes. The army and security agencies are helping rescue efforts, but the public and government opposition have criticised the government’s approach. A lawmaker from the Democratic Action Party said, “We want the government to activate assistance immediately so that we no longer find bodies”.


Japan’s parliament has approved a 36 trillion yet budget (USD 317 billion) budget for next year. This is the biggest ever budget. Some of it will be used to help fight COVID-19, including by providing vaccines.


China’s National People’s Congress is considering a law to give women more protection against gender discrimination and sexual harassment at work. Lawmakers are considering an amendment to the Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law. China currently ranks 107th out of 153 countries for gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum.


Africa


In Ethiopia, Tigrayan forces have withdrawn from regions in the north of the country. The war between the Ethiopian military and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front has been going on for 13 months. The withdrawal could lead to a ceasefire. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front wrote a letter to the United Nations, saying “We trust that our bold act of withdrawal will be a decisive opening for peace.”


In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a police officer and at least two people have been killed during protests. Hundreds of people are protesting in the city of Goma against a suspected plan to bring in security forces from Rwanda to help control regional violence.


In Sudan, one man was killed and more than 300 people were injured in the protests on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of people were protesting against October’s military coup. Security forces used tear gas and stun grenades on the protesters.


Americas


In Peru, the Las Bambas copper mine does not plan to take legal action over a blockade. Las Bambas produces 2% of the world’s copper. The blockade was put in place by residents of the region who want the mine to provide more jobs and money for the area. It has lasted more than a month.


Cuba has given more than 90% of its population at least one dose of Covid vaccine. 83% of the country is fully vaccinated.


The United States, Covid cases are surging. In New York, Covid cases rose 60% last week. Cases have been rising faster than they have since the pandemic started. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said that the rise is likely to be fast but temporary.


“We’re facing a major challenge with the Omicron variant. This is an urgent situation and we need to act urgently. We are seeing a very substantial rise in the number of cases.


“It’s also important to understand that we expect Omicron to be a fast and temporary phenomenon. We expect these next weeks to see a very very big surge in the number of cases, more than we’ve seen previously. And then we expect after a period of time that it will dissipate. That’s been so far the pattern we’ve seen in other cases, notably South Africa, where we first saw Omicron’s presence.”


Europe


Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko has been accused of high treason. Poroshenko is under investigation by the authorities for being linked to financing Russian-backed separatist groups. Poroshenko’s lawyers have called it a “politically motivated” attack.


The European Union has approved a fifth COVID vaccine. Novavax’s vaccine can be given to people aged 18 or older after studies showed it has an efficacy of about 90%. Member states have ordered about 27 million doses for the beginning of next year.


France’s champagne producers are expecting record-breaking sales in December. Sales are expected to exceed USD 6.2 billion for 2021, higher than they were before the pandemic.


That's your world news in 7 minutes. We're on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @send7podcast. I'm Juliet Martin, tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day!

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