In France, president Emanuel Macron is facing more criticism from world leaders after he defended the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed. Yesterday Iran accused France of strengthening “extremism”, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his people to boycott French products. In Islam, visual images of Prophet Mohammed is seen as insulting.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended his choice to not give out free school meals over the coming holidays. The UK government gave out free school meals to children during the Easter and summer holiday. However the government refuses to continue the scheme into the Christmas holidays in England, saying it has already increased universal credit and given out £63m to local authorities.
“We support the local councils and indeed we fund the local councils and many of the organisations that are helping in this period. But we’re also, as I said, uplifting universal credit by £1000 and we think that is one of the best ways you can help families in this tough time. I totally understand the issue of holiday hunger, it is there, we have to deal with it. The debate is how do you deal with it.”
Many families can no longer provide meals for their children due to a loss in jobs during coronavirus.
In Tanzania, elections for president and local officials will take place tomorrow. President John Magufuli is hoping to be re-elected. He is the candidate of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power longer than any current ruling party on the continent. More than 29 million people have registered to vote.
In Nigeria, groups of people broke into government warehouses holding Covid-19 aid in the capital, Abuja, yesterday. The raid is the latest news in the anti-police brutality protests. People carried away bags of rice, noodles and sugar along with other items. The government denies hiding these essential items from the public, and says it is being stored for a possible second wave of coronavirus infections. However many people have said they did not receive any of these items from the authorities during lockdown. Some of the Covid-19 aid has even been found in the homes of some politicians.
"We are not hoodlums, we are not thieves. We are hungry people. We are hungry Nigerians. We here to collect what belongs to us, and we are happy to do that."
Yesterday in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, asking him to put a ban on Islamaphobic content. In the letter, Mr Khan said "growing Islamophobia" was encouraging "hate, extremism and violence... especially through the use of social media”. This again comes after French president Emmanuel Macron showed support for the cartoon drawings of Prophet Mohammed. Facebook already has a policy on removing hate speech on its platforms.
In China, one of its most important political meetings of the year, held over four days in Beijing, began yesterday. The meetings will discuss China’s five-year economic and development plan. President Xi Jinping is also likely to reveal a longer-term plan for the next 15 years, called "Vision 2035”. China is the only major economy that publishes a five-year policy plan, and it has been doing so since 1953.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in India yesterday, for his 5-day trip to strengthen ties with India. Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will hold a joint summit with the Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh later today. Ahead of the trip, Pompeo said his meetings would “include talks on how free nations can work together to prevent threats from the Chinese Communist Party”.
In Chile, there were celebrations on the streets yesterday after a majority voted in support of rewriting Chile's constitution. The referendum asked Chileans two questions: firstly, if they wanted a new constitution, and secondly, what kind of body they wanted to draw up the constitution. 78% voted in favour of a new constitution. And 79% voted in favour of the new constitution being drawn up by an elected body rather than the Congress. President Sebastián Piñera praised the peaceful vote and said it was "the beginning of a path that we must all walk together”.
And finally, NASA scientists announced yesterday that there is “definitely water on the moon”. Scientists detected water molecules on the moon's surface – and said that more water may exist in tiny bits of ice.