Vietnam’s trade ministry has asked China’s authorities to take urgent measures to improve trade. According to the Vietnam News Agency, China’s Covid-19 policies are causing delays at the border. The trade ministry has said that the disruption is damaging bilateral trade.
South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has promised to work towards peace with North Korea in the last months of his term as president. Moon’s five-year term ends in May 2022. In his New Year’s address, he said: “the government will pursue normalisation of inter-Korean relations and an irreversible path to peace until the end”.
Israel will offer a fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine to people over 60 and medical staff. Israel is facing a surge in the Omicron variant in the next three weeks, and up to 50,000 people might be infected each day. Prime Minister Naftali Bennet said that Israel is leading the global vaccination effort.
“Israel started preparing for Omicron early on. This bought us time, which we're using to our advantage. Last week, Israel began vaccinating its most vulnerable citizens with a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine.
"Tonight, I can announce that Israel will also begin administering the fourth vaccine to all Israelis aged 60 and above, as well as our wonderful medical workers, four months after they’ve received their last dose, following the approval of Israel’s Ministry of Health. Israel will once again be pioneering the global vaccination effort.”
In France, politicians have received death threats over a bill that will require people to show proof of vaccination to go to a restaurant or cinema or take the train. The new law would mean that a negative test result is no longer enough. Several parties support the law, but anti-vaccination activists have reacted violently. Lawmakers say they will still go ahead, saying: “it is our democracy that is at stake”.
In Portugal, passengers have begun to leave a cruise ship after being stuck onboard for five days due to Covid-19 infections. The ship moored in Lisbon on Wednesday, with over 2000 passengers and 1000 crew onboard. 52 of the crew tested positive for Covid-19 between Wednesday and Friday. Now, passengers who have tested negative in the past 48 hours have begun to leave. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people to avoid travelling on cruise ships, whatever their vaccination status.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will travel to Washington on Wednesday. She will discuss topics including Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as the climate, foreign policy and democracy.
In South Africa, a man has been arrested after fires damaged the parliament building in Cape Town. The first fire was on Sunday, and another fire was found on Monday. The man has been charged with arson and other crimes, including theft. According to the National Assembly, if the fires were caused by arson, it would be seen as an attack on South Africa’s democracy.
Mali’s authorities have suggested delaying presidential elections by more five years. In 2020, a military coup overthrew president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The interim government originally planned to hold elections in February 2022. Now Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop has suggested delaying them by five years. Mali’s opposition coalition, the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, has rejected the delay.
Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has been taken to hospital with an intestinal blockage. This is his second hospitalisation with the same symptoms since he was stabbed during a campaign event in September 2018.
In the United States, Twitter has permanently banned the personal account of Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene was accused of repeatedly violating Twitter’s misinformation policy on Covid-19. She is the first member of Congress ever to have a Twitter account permanently banned . Greene has said that “Twitter is an enemy to America and can’t handle the truth”.
Also in the United States, actress Betty White has died at the age of 99 on Friday. She acted in Golden Girls and was considered a cultural icon.
That’s your world news in 7 minutes. We are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @send7podcast. I’m Juliet Martin, tomorrow you’ll be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a wonderful day.