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Tuesday 30th November 2021

Americas


In Honduras, Xiomara Castro is leading the general election. Castro is the leftist opposition candidate and the wife of former president Manuel Zelaya. If elected, she would be the first female president of Honduras. On Sunday, Castro declared herself the winner of the election and promised to form a government of “peace and justice”. At the time of recording, more than half the votes have been counted and Castro has a significant lead over the ruling National Party.


And in the United States, Jack Dorsey has stepped down as chief executive officer of Twitter. Dorsey co-founded Twitter in 2006. He will be replaced by Parag Agrawal, who has been the Chief Technology Officer since 2017.


Europe


Sweden’s first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, has returned to her position after resigning last Wednesday. Andersson was elected as Sweden’s first female prime minister on Wednesday but resigned the same day when her coalition collapsed. Yesterday, she was reappointed. She says she is ready to “take Sweden forward”, focusing on welfare, climate change and crime.


Latvia has asked for help from the United States to protect itself from Russia. During a NATO visit to Latvia yesterday, Defence Minister Artis Pabriks asked for permanent United States military troops in the country. In recent weeks, NATO has reported Russian military forces gathering at Ukraine’s borders. Moscow has said it has no intention of invading.


Asia


Australia has delayed the reopening of its international borders by two weeks. Borders were meant to be reopened on 1st December. Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the delay, after the first cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in Australia were detected on Sunday. The country first shut its borders due to Covid-19 in May 2020.


The World Health Organisation says that Omicron poses a very high global risk:

“The emergence of the highly mutated Omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is. We shouldn’t need another wakeup call. Our most immediate task therefore is to end this pandemic."


The Philippines plans to to vaccinate nine million people against COVID-19 in three days. Security forces and thousands of volunteers will be involved. President Rodrigo Duterte said, “This is our single biggest push to fast-track vaccination”. The Philippines has had once of the worst outbreaks of Covi-19 in Asia.


China is offering another 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to African countries, President Xi Jinping has announced. China has already supplied 200 million doses to Africa, as part of a forum between China and African states focusing on trade and security .


In Lebanon, demonstrators have blocked roads to protest against the country’s economic meltdown. Since 2019, Lebanon’s economic crisis has left more than three quarters of the population in poverty. Yesterday, protesters in cities including the capital, Beirut, closed highways and intersections and set tyres and bins on fire. They are asking the government to control the Lebanese pound, which has lost 90% of its value in two years.


Africa


South African authorities are considering making Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory for some places and activities, as the country faces the Omicron variant of Covid-19. President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that South Africa will not impose a stricter lockdown. Only a quarter of South Africans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.


Botswana’s Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal to recriminalize gay sex. Botswana’s law was made in 2019 by the High Court, making same-sex relations legal. The Court of Appeal’s decision has been seen by LGBTQ groups as a sign that the country is a “true democracy”.


And in Rwanda, thirty endangered white rhinos have arrived from South Africa by plane. This is the largest ever transfer of white rhinos. They have travelled 3,400km (2,100) miles as part of a project to increase their population, which has been destroyed by poaching. They will now live in Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda.


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

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