Wednesday 22nd July 2020
In the United Kingdom, a report has been released about Russian interference in the UK. The report suggested that Russia tried to interfere with Scotland’s independence referendum in 2014. And the report is critical of the UK government – for not investigating Russian interference in elections, and the Brexit referendum.
“The UK government have actively avoided looking for evidence that Russia interfered. We were told that they hadn’t seen any evidence , but that is meaningless if they hadn’t looked for it. The committee found astonishing that no one in government has sought beforehand to protect the referendum from such attempts or investigate it afterwards what attempts to influence it there may have been. The UK government should have recognized the threat back in 2014 in relation to the Scottish referendum – but it didn’t.”
United States intelligence agencies, the CIA and FBI, have concluded that Russia interefered in the 2016 presidential election, helping Donald Trump to win. Many fear that Russia will interfere with this year’s election as well.
The European Union has agreed on a €750 billion COVID19 recovery fund. After 4 days of discussion and disagreements, the deal was reached, which is approximately half loans and half grants. Charles Michel, the European Council President, said that these were difficult negotiations in difficult times, but that this deal was a success for European people.
“We did it! Europe is strong. Europe is united. We have reached a deal on the recovery package and the European budget. These were of course difficult negotiations in very difficult times, for all Europeans. A marathon which ended in success for all 27 member states but especially for the people. This is a good deal, this is a strong deal, and most importantly this is the right deal for Europe right now.”
A Pakistani reporter has been kidnapped in Islamabad. Matiullah Jan was abducted by a group of men – some wearing the uniform of anti-terror police. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist - 145th out of 180 countries, according to Reporters Without Borders.
In Malaysia a court case has begun, about the caning of Rohingya refugees. 27 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, have been sentenced to caning – hitting with a stick – for arriving in Malaysia illegally.
The United States now has recorded 4 million cases of COVID19. Almost 50 million tests have been carried out. Yesterday Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump is tested multiple times a day…
“The President is the most tested man in America – he’s tested more than anyone – multiple times a day…”
Both Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attacked China yesterday. In a press conference last night, Trump called COVID19 “The China Virus” And Pompeo, who was in the UK yesterday, congratulated the UK for stopping the Chinese company Huawei from building its 5G network. He said that the international community should “push back” against China…
“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the British government for its principled responses to these challenges. You’ve made a sovereign decision to ban Huawei from future 5G networks. You’ve joined other free nations to condemn China’s broken promises on the Sino-British treaty. You generously opened your doors to Hon Kongers who seek nothing more than fleeing just for some freedom. And yesterday you suspended your extradition treaty and extended your arms embargo on China to Hong Kong itself. We support those sovereign choices.”
In Brazil a COVID19 vaccine created by Chinese and Brazilian scientists has begun trials in Sao Paulo. In a different study, at least 5,000 people are being tested using the Oxford Vaccine from the UK. President Jair Bolsonaro says that the drug hydroxychloroquine helped him with his own recovery from COVID19.
Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are holding more talks about the filling of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam. Ethiopia started filling the dam on the River Nile last week. Egypt says that filling the dam too quickly is an existential threat to its people. 90% of Egypt’s fresh water comes from the River Nile. Ethiopia has said that they want the dam to fill in 5 to 7 years, but Egypt wants it to be filled in 12 years – to maintain the level of water in Egypt.
Tanzania has set a date for its next presidential election – October 28th. President John Magafuli will seek reelection. The opposition party Chadema have not yet decided their candidate. Yesterday Magafuli said that Tanzania was free of coronavirus, but opposition parties say that the government is deliberately hiding statistics.
And in Space, researchers have found volcanoes on Venus. Scientists had thought that Venus was a dormant planet – with no geological activity for half a billion years – however, scientists now think that these volcanoes were active very recently - only 2 or 3 million years ago.