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  • Namitha Ragunath

Tuesday 24th November 2020

Americas

In the United States, more than 100 ex-Republican national security officials demanded yesterday that party leaders do not support President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept his election loss. In a written statement, the group said that President Trump’s continued efforts to deny the election results is undemocratic. They are asking Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump accepts the results.


In Guatemala, the Speaker of Congress said yesterday the controversial budget that has caused protests where the Congress building was set on fire, would not go ahead. Speaker Alan Rodríguez said Congress would not send the budget to the president to sign and it would therefore not come into force. He made the announcement after protests on Sunday. Protesters were angry the budget prioritised big building projects over health.



Africa

In Burkina Faso, vote counting has begun after polls closed in the presidential elections, where threats of violence stopped parts of the country from voting. Electoral officials said yesterday that President Roch Kabore, who is looking to win another five years against 12 other candidates, was leading. Election workers began the counting yesterday after polls closed on Sunday by holding the ballots up for observers and marking the votes on a chalkboard beside the candidate’s name. Early results are expected within the next two days.


In the Democratic Republic of Congo, yesterday a military court sentenced a rebel leader to life in prison for mass rape and crimes against humanity. Ntabo Sheka was jailed at the end of a two-year trial that included 178 victims. Sheka surrendered in July 2017 after being on the run for almost six years. He was one of the leaders of a militia group known as Nduma Defense of Congo.

Europe

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday the details of covid measures after the national lockdown ends on December 3.

“And while the previous local tiers did cut the numbers they were not quite enough to reduce it below one. So the scientific advice I'm afraid is that as we come out our tiers need to be made tougher. In particular in tier 1 people should work from home wherever possible. In tier 2 alcohol may only be served in hospitality settings as part of a substantial meal. In tier 3 indoor entertainment, hotels, and other accommodation will have to close along with all forms of hospitality except for deliveries and take aways. And I’m very sorry obviously for the unavoidable hardship the this will cause for business owners who’ve already endured so much disruptions this year.”


Also in the UK, the Supreme Court is deciding whether a woman who ran away from her home as a child to join the ISIS group in Syria can return to England. Shamima Begum, who was 15 at the time, had her UK citizenship taken away for national security reasons. The British government is now fighting to keep Shamima from returning. The Court of Appeal said in July that “the only way Begum can have a fair appeal is to be allowed to come into the United Kingdom”. But the British government told the Supreme Court that she is still considered a real threat to national security.


In Croatia, a survey has found that nearly 60 percent of Croatians do not plan on taking a Coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available. According to the poll, the 43 percent of people who said they would take the vaccine said it was their responsibility and that it could help drop the high rates in COVID-19 cases.


Asia

In Australia, airline company Qantas said that International travellers will in future need to prove that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding their flights. Alan Joyce, who is the CEO of Qantas, said yesterday that move would be "a necessity" when vaccines are available.


“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travellers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft. Will we need that domestically we will have to see what happens to COVID-19 and the market. But certainly for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.”


In Hong Kong, democracy activist Joshua Wong and two fellow campaigners are facing prison sentences after pleading guilty to unlawful assembly during last year's mass protests. In Hong Kong, unlawful assembly is when 3 or more people disrupt peace through acts like protesting.


In Eastern Serbia, seven people have died after drinking hand sanitiser. A five-litre container of the hand sanitiser was found at the scene. Reports say its methanol content had not been clearly labelled on the container. Methanol is a non drinking type of alcohol found in hand sanitiser. Every year in Russia there are deaths among heavy drinkers who struggle to afford vodka and drink dangerous liquids instead. The worst case in recent years was where 62 people died in 2016 after drinking bath lotion which contained methanol.


And finally, in Singapore, activist Jolovan Wham appeared in court yesterday morning accused of illegal assembly after standing alone outside a police station holding a sign with a hand-drawn smiley face. Singapore has strict laws on public assembly and freedom of speech and expression. If found guilty, Wham faces a maximum fine of $4,000 for standing in front of the station with his smiley face sign.

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