Tuesday 6th July 2021
In Afghanistan, more than 1,000 soldiers have fled to Tajikistan. This was after the soldiers clashed with Taliban militants. The soldiers said they left to Tajikistan to save their own lives, according to a statement by Tajikistan's border guard. Violence has recently risen in Afghanistan. The rise takes place as Nato ends its 20-year military mission. The majority of soldiers still in Afghanistan have been told to leave before a September deadline.
In Indonesia, the government has ordered producers to focus on medical oxygen. This is because there has been a rise in COVID cases, and a shortage of oxygen. Hospitals say they have almost finished all supplies. One hospital said 63 patients died due to a lack of oxygen tanks. Indonesia is recording more than 25,000 new cases every day. Indonesia has had the worst Covid outbreak in South East Asia, with about 2.3 million positive cases and more than 60,000 deaths so far.
In Malaysia, people who are struggling due to strict lockdowns are flying white flags outside their homes. This is to call for help. The white flag campaign gained lots of attention on social media last week. The campaign aims to help lower income families ask for help. In response to the white flags, local communities, celebrities and businesses have offered help, providing food and other important products to those in need. The campaign began after stories of families surviving on one meal a day were shared, and the police announced that suicides have gone up.
In South Africa, supporters ex-President Jacob Zuma have formed what they say is a human shield outside his home to try to stop his arrest. On Tuesday, a court found him guilty for not showing up to court for his corruption charges. A deadline for his arrest had been set for midnight on Sunday. However, the court later agreed to hear his challenge to the 15-month jail term he was given. It is still unclear how this will affect the deadline for his arrest.
In Nigeria, men with guns have kidnapped at least 140 schoolchildren in the north-west of Nigeria. At least eight people were also abducted from the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre in Zaria early on Sunday morning. Two nurses and a 12-month-old child were among those kidnapped, said a hospital worker. There has been a recent rise in kidnappings from schools and universities for money in Nigeria. Yesterday, there were reports of another mass kidnapping from a school near Kaduna city.
In the UK, yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke about the final step of England's plan to end the lockdown. He talked about a five step plan for "living with Covid". He said a final plan on lowering restrictions on 19 July will be announced next week.
BJ: "So as we come to the fourth step, we have to balance the risks. The risks of the disease which the vaccines have reduced but very far from eliminated, and the risks of continuing with legally enforced restrictions that inevitably take their toll on people's lives and livelihoods on on people's health and mental health. And we must be honest with ourselves that if we can't reopen our society in the next few weeks, then we must ask ourselves, when will we be able to return to normal? Let me set out today our five-point plan for living with Covid in the hope that it will give families and businesses time to prepare."
In Georgia, LGBT activists have cancelled a gay rights event after their office was attacked by far-right protesters. Journalists and activists were also attacked ahead of the planned event. The attacks have been condemned by a number of embassies, who have called for authorities in Georgia to stop the violence. Yesterday a pride group in Georgia said did not feel safe or protected by the authorities. At least 20 journalists were reportedly injured in the violence, while an LGBT rainbow flag was burned in the street. Discrimination against sexual orientation is illegal in Georgia, but Georgia remains a conservative country.
In the United States, yesterday was Independence Day. Speaking at a White House party for the Fourth of July, President Joe Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated.
JB: "This year the fourth of July is a day of special celebration, for we are emerging from the darkness of years. A year pandemic and isolation, a year of pain fear and heartbreaking loss. Covid-19 has not been vanquished. We all know powerful variants have emerged - like the delta variant. But the best defense against these variants is to get vaccinated."
In Cuba, Tropical Storm Elsa travelled along Cuba’s southern coast yesterday. Forecasters still say it is set to hit Florida. Cuban officials have now evacuated 180,000 people as there were warnings of heavy flooding. The storm has now killed at least 3 people.
And finally, yesterday Jeff Bezos stepped down as Amazon’s CEO - exactly 27 years after he founded it. Bezos will now take the role of executive chair - becoming an adviser to the new CEO. Bezos, who is the world’s richest man, said he stepped down to focus on new products and other projects.
And that’s your Simple English world news for today. You can find transcripts or send us a message at send7.org. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @send7podcast. I’m Namitha Ragunath, and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.