Tuesday 5th January 2021
In the United States, President Donald Trump was recorded pleading with Georgia's secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger. Trump asked him to "find" additional votes to secure a win for him in the state's presidential election. This was revealed in a recording of an hour-long phone call obtained by The Washington Post. In the recording, Raffensperger was pressured by Trump. He was told he was taking "a big risk" by not following Trump's demands to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the state.
Trump: "The people of Georgia are angry, and these numbers are going to be repeated on Monday night, along with others that we're going to have by that time, which are much more substantial, even. And the people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry, and theres nothing wrong in saying that you recalculated."
"Well, Mr President, the challenge that you have is that the data you have is wrong."
Trump: "Look, all I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which s one more than we have."
In Brazil, private health clinics say they have been negotiating with the Indian pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech to buy five million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine. While a number of countries in Latin America have begun vaccinating people, Brazil's government has still not given a date for the arrival of vaccines. Brazil has the second highest number of Covid-related deaths worldwide.
In England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown yesterday. People have been told to stay at home, and schools are to be shut from today.
"The weeks ahead will be the hardest yet, but I really do believe we're entering the last phase of this struggle. Because with every jab that goes into our arms, we're tilting the odds against Covid and in favour f the British people. And thanks to the miracle of science, not only is the end in sight, but we know exactly how we'll get there. But for now I'm afraid we must once again stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives."
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday issued a stay at home order to people in Scotland. People will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes. She said that the situation now "is at least as serious as the first lockdown”.
"Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year. We must act immediately and firmly."
In France, President Emmanuel Macron is reportedly furious at the slow distribution of the Pfizer vaccine. Only 516 vaccinations reported to have been given in the first week. France’s Health Minister said "several thousand" people will be vaccinated against coronavirus in the country on Monday. Macron reportedly compared the slow speed to a "family stroll”. France is among Europe's hardest-hit countries in the pandemic.
In Poland, an investigation has begun after 18 celebrities and politicians received coronavirus vaccinations. Currently only medical workers and their families are eligible to be vaccinated. But 2 celebrities and a TV journalist have all confirmed they have received the jab. They were reportedly among 18 "cultural figures" who agreed to serve as ambassadors as part of a vaccination drive. They got the jabs at the Warsaw Medical University, which said it had an additional supply of doses that needed to be used before the end of last year.
South Korea has recorded more deaths than births in 2020 for the first time ever. This has raised panic in the country which already has the world's lowest birth rate. Around 276,000 babies were born last year, down 10% from 2019, and around 308,000 people died. The figures caused the interior ministry to call for "fundamental changes" to its policies.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy seized a South Korean vessel for “environmental pollution” in the Persian Gulf. In a statement made yesterday, it said the vessel violated environmental protocols. The vessel was said to be carrying 7,000 tonnes of ethanol, according to the Navy. South Korea’s foreign ministry yesterday demanded the vessel’s immediate release.
A new variant of coronavirus circling in South Africa is now being seen in other countries, including the UK. The South African variant carries a mutation called E484K. It's different to another recently discovered variant that scientists have been studying in the UK. Both the new South African and UK variants appear to be more contagious. While changes in the new UK variant are unlikely to harm the effectiveness of current vaccines, there is a chance those in the South African variant may do so, say scientists.
In the Central African Republic, prosecutors have launched an investigation into former President François Bozizé. They have accused him of acts of undermining the government and rebellion. Last month, the government accused him of staging an attempted government takeover, as rebels marched ahead of a general election. Mr Bozizé denied the allegations but said he supported the rebels.
And finally, a research centre in England has developed 'Direct Seeded Rice' (DSR). This is rice that doesn't need to be grown in a puddle, so it uses less water. This is great news for climate change, as growing rice has a similar climate impact to flying - about 2-3% of global warming.
And thats your world news in 7 minutes. You can read the transcript of todays episode or listen to past episodes at send7.org. I'm Namitha Ragunath and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.