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Wednesday 20th January 2021

Asia

China has been accused of genocide by the United States. On his last full day as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo declared that China had committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Uighur Muslims in its Xinjian region. China admits to keeping Uighur Muslims in camps, however it says that they are training camps that are designed to stop extremism.

In Indonesia there are reports of people running out of food and water after Friday’s earthquake on the island of Sulawesi. 84 people are known to have died in the earthquake, however over 19,000 people lost their homes.

India started the biggest vaccination campaign in human history this week. However, the Bharat Biotech company has warned some people not to take its vaccine. More from Khadija Tahir...

In India, Bharat Biotech, the company producing India's coronavirus vaccine, has warned people of possible side effects. The company faced controversy after their vaccine was approved for use by the Indian drug regulation agency without supporting data about its effectiveness. Bharat Biotechs vaccine has now been given to tens of thousands of people as well as the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine, . The company has warned people with immune diseases and severe allergies not to take the vaccine. Indian authorities hope to vaccinate 300 million people by July 2021.

In Thailand a woman has been jailed for 43 years for insulting the monarchy. Human Rights groups have said that this is the highest prison sentence ever for criticising the monarchy.

Europe

The United Kingdom has reported another record for COVID19 deaths in one day - over 1,600 COVID deaths were reported yesterday. The office of national statistics has said that it expects one in 8 people have already had the coronavirus in England. 4.1 million people in the UK have received a COVID vaccination - over 6% of the population.

Germany has reported a new variant of COVID19. 35 people in a hospital in Bavaria were found to be infected with the new strain. It is expected that vaccines will still work against new strains. Last month, Chief Executive of BionTech Ugur Sahin, said that if the vaccine was not effective against a new strain - a modified vaccine could be produced in only 6 weeks.

The government of Switzerland has asked voters to reject a ban on full face coverings, such as niqabs and burkas, worn by some Muslim women. On March 7th Switzerland will have a referendum with this question - which was proposed by the right wing Swiss People’s Party - however, the government has asked people to vote against the idea. Full-face coverings are banned in public in Denmark, France and some African countries.

Africa

In Egypt a chef has been arrested for making penis-shaped cakes for a private birthday party. The female chef was arrested at her home after photos were shared on social media. Women in Egypt have often recently been targetted by the state control of morality. Last year many women were arrested for ‘immorality’ for social media posts.

Uganda’s government has accused the United States of ‘suverting’ its democracy. Yesterday US ambassador to Uganda Natalie Brown tried to visit opposition leader Bobi Wine, however soldiers wouldn’t let her access his house, where he has essentially been under house arrest since last week’s election. Wine has accused president Yoweri Museveni of using fraud to win the election.

Americas

In the United States, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States today. Thousands of National Guard soldiers have been brought into Washington DC. Extra security is believed to be needed after supporters of President Donald Trump broke into the congress building two weeks ago, believing Trump’s false claims that the election was fraudulent. Twelve soldiers were removed from duties today because of possible connections to right-wing extremism. Trump will be the first president to refuse to attend the inaugeration ceremony of his successor in over 150 years. Yesterday the White House released a message from President Trump saying that he wished the next administration luck, and that serving as President had been an honour...

“As I conclude my term as the 45th president of the United States, I stand before you truly proud of what we have achieved together. This week we inaugarate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous. Now as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wedneday I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning. There’s never been anything like it”

For coverage of the inaugeration ceremony listen to tomorrow’s podcast with Namitha Ragunath. Transcripts for every episode are available at send7.org. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.

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