Tuesday 2nd February 2021
In Myanmar, the military has taken control of the country. The top army commander was in charge and a one-year state of emergency had been declared. This is happening 10 years after the military agreed to hand power to a civilian government. The takeover was announced on a military-owned television station, yesterday. Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, had been detained, along with other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. The army claimed that Ms Suu Kyi's election win in November was fraud. Ms Suu Kyi has told her supporters to "not accept this" and to "protest against the takeover”. Myanmar was ruled by the armed forces until 2011, when democratic reforms led by Ms Suu Kyi ended military rule.
In India, trains in the city of Mumbai opened again yesterday. They were closed for 10 months to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The trains carry nearly 8 million people every day - making it one of the busiest in the world. They have now reopened with Covid restrictions, making masks and temperature checks compulsory. Mumbai was one of the worst-hit cities in India but Covid numbers have begun to fall.
In Uganda, opposition politician Bobi Wine has filed a legal challenge against the results of last month's presidential election. Mr wine says the results were rigged. Mr Wine’s party - the National Unity Platform - said they want a new election. Current president Yoweri Museveni who has been in power since 1986 - won with 58% of the votes. Bobi Wine received 35% of the votes. Mr Museveni's National Resistance Party said over the weekend it will defend their win.
In Malawi, people broke Covid-19 health regulations this weekend as music icon Wambali Mkandawire died. The singer became the latest well-known person to die from the virus in the country. People, including government officials, broke the 50-person limit to mourn Wambali in the capital. The funeral event was broadcast live on local TV stations, with many people sending their condolences on social media.
South Africa has received its first batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines. The one million doses will be given to healthcare workers. No date has been set for the start of the vaccinations. South Africa has been one of Africa’s worst hit countries.
In the United States, President Joe Biden yesterday asked that Congress act quickly to pass a pandemic stimulus bill, to help with the economic suffering of American families.
"It's not only that people will be badly, badly hurt if we don't pass this package - In terms of increased rate of debts, in terms of poverty - a whole range of things; but we will also be hurt long-term economically, economically. We need to make this investment so the economy can grow the remainder of this year and next year. The investments now will help the economy grow. It will not in fact be a drag on the economy by spending this money, it'll do the exact opposite.
35.3 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is said to be delivered to 36 Caribbean and Latin American states. This will take place from mid-February to the end of June. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said the Americas region needed to vaccinate about 500 million people to control the pandemic.
Yesterday In the UK, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there will be more coronavirus testing in areas where the South African variant has been found.
"We've now identified 105 cases of this variant here. 11 of those cases don't appear to have any links to international travel. There's currently no evidence to suggest this variant is any more severe, but we need to come down on it hard and we will. We've already made sure that all these cases are isolating, and that we've done enhanced contact tracing of all of their close contacts. We're surging extra testing into the areas where this variant has been found and sequencing every single positive case. Working with local authorities, we are going door to door to test people in the local area."
And finally, in Poland, One SEND7 listener - Mariusz, has told us that a charity orchestra raised almost 40 million euros on Sunday:
“During yesterday’s 29th edition of the great orchestra of Christmas aid [POLISH] Poles donated almost 40 million euros to this charity. This annual unique event on a global scale has been taking place for 29 years and the funds obtained in this way are donated to help in the treatment of children."
Thank you also to Dr Fatih from Turkey for your lovely message. We love you too. Send an audio message of news in your country at speakpipe.com/send7. Find the transcript for today’s episode at send7.org. And follow us on social media @send7podcast. I'm Namitha Ragunath, and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.