Wednesday 17th June 2020.
Starting in Asia today…
India has said that 20 of its soldiers were killed in fighting with Chinese forces in the Kashmir border region yesterday. This is the first time in 45 years that fighting has caused deaths at this border. At the time of recording this podcast China has not commented on any fighting in the area, however the Indian Army did say that Chinese soldiers were also killed. China, India and Pakistan make territorial claims in Kashmir, but fighting is more common between India and Pakistan.
North Korea blew up an office used for dialogue between the two Koreas, yesterday. The liaison office on the border between North and South Korea was used for discussions between the rival nations. Recently The North has accused the South of spreading propaganda across the border.
In China, Beijing has shut its schools after a new wave of COVID19 infections. Beijing had been free of coronavirus for weeks, but mass-testing showed over a hundred cases in Beijing in the last few days.
New Zealand has also reported 2 coronavirus cases – after 24 days free of COVID19. Two women from the United Kingdom tested positive in New Zealand days after arriving.
Singapore will begin COVID vaccine trials on humans in August. In the world more than 100 vaccines are currently being developed, and some are already trialling on humans, including in the UK and the US.
Scientitists in the United Kingdom have found a drug that can reduce the risk of dying from COVID19. Dexamethosone was found to reduce the risk of death by one-third for people using a ventilator, and by one-fifth for people receiving oxygen. A team from the University of Oxford studied the effects on 2000 coronavirus patients. Dexamethasone is a steroid which has been used to treat many illnesses since the 1960s, and is widely available around the world. Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that dexamethasone will now be used by the National Health Service…
“I am proud of these British scientists who have led the first robust clinical trial anywhere in the world to find a coronavirus treatment proven to reduce the risk of death and I’m very grateful to the thousands of patients who volunteered for the trials – thank you – this drug dexamethasone – can now be made available across the NHS. And we’ve taken steps to ensure we have enough supplies even in the event of a second peak…”
In Germany a coronavirus tracing app is now live. The German government has asked its citizens to download the Corona Warn App,
In France extra police have been sent to the city of Dijon, where there has been gang violence recently. Members of the Chechen community called for revenge after a 16 year old chechan was attacked last week.
United States President Donald Trump has signed an executive order on police reform. After weeks of protests against racism and police brutality, the President yesterday banned chokeholds and promised more funding and training for the police. Trump rejected any idea of defunding or dismantling the police… “We have to find common ground. But I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to defend (sic), dismantle and dissolve our police departments, especially now when we’ve achieved the lowest recorded crime rates in recent history. Americasn know the truth – without police there is chaos – without law there is anarcy – and without safety there is catastrophe. Chokeholds will be banned except if an officers life is at risk.”
The World Health Organization has warned that the COVID19 pandemic in latin America is escalating quickly. Brazil is currently reporting around 20,000 new cases every day, and Peru and Chile are reporting around 4000 extra cases every day. But cases are also rising quickly in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where testing rates are extremely low. Mexico has now reported 150,000 infections but the Mexican government has said that the real number is probably much higher.
Tanzania has published new coronavirus cases after months without publishing data. The Prime Minister has said that there are 66 peope in hospital with coronavirus, but the opposition accuses the government of hiding the true numbers.
In Zimbabwe, three female opposition activists are in prison, facing charges of making false statements against the state. In May the three women disappeared after being detained by police. The next day the three women told the media that they had been beaten and sexually assaulted by police.
In Mali, the President Ibrahim Keita has said that the opposition leader Soumaila Cisse is alive. Cisse was kidnapped in Timbuktu in March, days before parliamentary elections. President Keita said yesterday the kidnappers were known to the government, and they had evidence that Cisse was alive.
And football in the United Kingdom will start again today -with empty stadiums. There will be two premier league games today – Aston Villa against Sheffield United and Manchester City against Arsenal. These are the first games in over 3 months.