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Wednesday 15th December 2021

Africa

In South Africa the company Pfizer has said that its vaccine is less effective against stopping hospitalization for the Omicron variant of COVID19. The study of the population of South Africa showed that people who had received two doses of the pfizer vaccine were 70% protected against hospitalization with Omicron, compared to 93% protection from the original strain of COVID19 found in China. The vaccine is also less effective at stopping people from becoming infected. However, another study in South Africa has suggested that people who are infected with Omicron are less likely to need hospital treatment. Head of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom, said yesterday, that people should still be concerned about omicron because of how fast it is spreading...

“77 countries have now reported cases of Omicron and the reality is that omicron is probably in most countries, even if it hasn’t been detected yet. Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant.”

Pfizer has also released data about its anti-viral pill for COVID19. Pfizer has said that the course of pills are 90% effective in preventing hospitalization and death, in high-risk patients, and that it is effective against the Omicron variant.

In Uganda, singer and opposition leader Bobi Wine has said that he is under house arrest, as the police won’t let him leave his house. In January Wine officially came second in the presidential election, against President Yoweri Museveni, however the election process was criticised by observers.

Asia

Turkey and Armenia are aiming to normalize their relations, and have both chosen officials to help the process. Turkey and Armenia have difficult relations because of Turkey’s lack of recognition of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire during World War 1.

In Indonesia, United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke yesterday at teh University of Jakarta. Blinken criticised China’s aggression in the Indo-Pacific region, and said that all countries in the region should be able to choose their own paths...

“When we say that we want a free and open Indo-Pacific, we mean that on an individual level, that people will be free in their daily lives and live in open societies. We mean that on a state level, that individual countries will be able to choose their own path and their own partners, and we mean that on a regional level.”

In India a charity started by Mother Teresa is being investigated for forced conversions. Officials from the City of Baroda in Gujarat, said that they had heard complaints of children being forced to wear crosses and read the bible.

Also in India Netflix has dramatically reduced its prices. The streaming service cut its price by 60 percent, to 199 rupees a month, in an effort to compete with Disney and Amazon.

Europe

In Belarus opposition leader Sergei Tsikhanouski has been given 18 years in jail for his role in demonstrations against president Alexander Lukashenko. Tsikhanouski was arrested last year while campaigning to be president and his wife Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya ran for president instead. Sviatlana now lives in exile in Poland.

In Denmark companies have been fined for selling fuel to the Syrian government. A court in Denmark fined 2 companies more than $5 million dollars for breaking European Union rules by selling jet fuel to the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Americas

In Haiti , at least 60 people have been killed after a lorry carrying fuel exploded. The lorry crashed in the northern city of Cap-Haitien, and people gathered to try to collect the petrol, before it exploded. Some houses were also set on fire. Prime Minister Ariel Henry has declared three days of national mourning.

In Colombia two police officers have been killed in bombings in the city of Cucuta, near Venezuela. One attacker was also killed, and Defence Minister Diego Molano said that it was a terrorist attack.

In the United States Time Magazine has named Elon Musk as its 2021 ‘person of the year’. In 1999, Musk founded an online bank which eventually became Paypal. In 2004 he joined the electric car company Tesla and became the majority shareholder. His shares in Tesla are the main reason that today he is the richest person in the world, and the only person with a net worth over $300 billion dollars. He also founded SpaceX, a space transport company that mostly launches satellites into orbit. Time magazine said that they had chosen Musk because of his work in technology and creating solutions to existential problems.

That’s the world in 7 minutes. A massive thank you to Ryuichi from Japan for becoming our newest supporter. If you enjoy the podcast, you can help to support it by going to send7.org/support. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Juliet Martin. Have a great day.

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