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Wednesday 18th November 2020

Africa

In Ethiopia, there are fears of a refugee crisis, as the government prepares to retake control of the whole of the Tigray region. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said yesterday that a final and conclusive offensive would be launched by the end of the week. Hundreds of people have been killed in fighting in the last two weeks between Ethiopia’s national army and Tigray’s local government forces. Many international organizations have asked Ahmed to de-escalate the situation. Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

In Somalia a terrorist attack killed at least 5 people yesterday. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Islamist jihadist group Al-shabaab claimed responsability.

In the Democratic republic of Congo at least 30 people have died in violence in the east of the country. Attacks were reported in the North Kivu province close to the border with Uganda. Local officials have blamed the ADF, an Islamist jihadist rebel group.

Americas

In The United States the leaders of Facebook and Twitter answered questions from the Senate yesterday. Mark Zuckeberg and Jack Dorsey were asked about social media disinformation. Both Republican and Democrats have supported removing some protections of the companies, but for different reasons. Many Democrats think that misinformation spreads too easily on Facebook and Twitter, however many Republicans are concerned that the companies have an anti-conservative bias by labeling posts as misinformation. Zuckerberg said that the fact that both sides were attacking the companies for different reasons showed that the problem was a reflection of society in general...

“And the fact that both sides criticize us doesn’t mean that we are getting this right. But it does mean that there are real disagreements about where the limits of online speech should be. I think that's understandable. People can reasonably disagree about where to draw the lines. That’s a hallmark of democratic societies - especially here in the US with our strong first amendment tradition,”

In Central America and the Caribbean, hurricane Iota has caused major damage. Nicaragua and Honduras reported extensive damage to buildings, although no deaths were confirmed. The small Colombian island of Providencia, which is closest to Nicaragua and has a population of just 5,000 people, reported that almost all buildings had been damaged or destroyed, and one person has died. At the beginning of November, Hurricane Eta killed at least 182 people in Central America.

Asia

Armenia and Azerbaijan have exchanged bodies of people who died in recent fighting. At least 200 bodies have been exchanged in the presence of Russian peacekeepers. At least a thousand people were killed during the 6 week war, which ended last week, with a peace agreement. There have been protests in Armenia against the signing of the peace agreement, which has transferred territory to Azerbaijan.

There has been an increase in tension between India and Pakistan in the last few weeks. With an update from the area, Khadija Tahir...

“Pakistan has again said that it is against India being a member of the United Nations Security Council. The Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram said on Monday that India does not qualify for a seat on the 15-member United Nations Security Council (UNSC) because of the situation in Kashmir. The disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir had its autonomous status revoked in August 2019. Since then, the state has seen limitations on internet access, and recently Indian people were given the right to purchase land in the state. On Friday, at least 15 people died in the border region during fighting. Both countries continue to accuse each other of not following a ceasefire. ”

In Thailand there were more pro-democracy protests yesterday. At least 5 people were shot, according to a Bangkok hospital. During the last few months, protesters have been demanding that the Prime Minister and former army general Prayuth-Chan-ocha resign, and have been asking for a removal of the monarchy’s power.

Europe

France passed 2 million confirmed infections of COVID19 yesterday. Italy, Austria, Sweden, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Albania, Greece, Moldova and Belarus have all confirmed their highest ever single day of reported infections in the last few days. The world now reports half a million new infections every day, and this is expected to be much less than the true number. This week drug company Moderna said that it has a vaccine that is 95% effective, a week after company Pfeizer said that their vaccine is 90% effective.

A study has shown that most of the people in the European Union are happy with the European Union. Pew research centre showed that of eight countries studied, more than half of respondents in every country held a positive view of the EU. The score was highest in Germany, at 73%, and lowest in Italy at 58%. The study also showed that 60% of respondents in the United Kingdom held a positive view of the EU. The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, and a transition period will finish at the end of this year.

Thank you for listening to SEND7. Find transcripts and past episodes at send7.org. Please leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.

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