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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

EUROPE

In Belgium a two-day EU leaders' summit due start on Thursday has been postponed until 1st October after a security guard tested positive for Covid-19. European Council President Charles Michel has to quarantine, as he and the guard were in close contact last week. Mr. Michel has tested negative for the virus but is self-isolating, following Belgium’s COVID rules. Leaders were supposed to discuss foreign affairs, such as the Belarus crisis and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.


Italian authorities are investigating whether Barcelona footballer Luis Suarez, from Uruguay, was illegally helped to pass an Italian language exam last week. Suarez took the test to receive Italian citizenship that could help him transfer to a new club. Perugia chief prosecutor Raffaele Cantone said his investigations showed that questions had been agreed with Suarez before the exam. Despite his limited Italian knowledge, Suarez, obtained the intermediate B1 qualification required for citizenship, in just 15 minutes.


The United Kingdom is battling a second wave of coronavirus infections, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said measures are needed now to prevent further spread of the virus.

"We are once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so. In key public services and in all professions where homeworking is not possible such as construction or Retail, people should continue to attend their Workplaces, and like government, this house will be free to take forward its business in a COVID secure way, which you, Mr. Speaker have pioneered. Second, from Thursday, all pubs, bars, and restaurants must operate a table service only Mr. speaker except for Takeaways together with all hospitality venues they must close at 10 pm."


Africa

In Kenya, a top judge has advised the President to dissolve the parliament because it failed to follow the constitution’s gender rule. According to the 2010 law, one-third of elected seats must be occupied by women. Court rulings since 2012 have directed Parliament to follow the gender rule or risk being dissolved.


In Mali the transitional government has asked for an end to economic sanctions from ECOWAS. ECOWAS, the group of 15 West African countries, closed their borders to Mali, and imposed trade restrictions, after the coup d’etat that removed president Boubacar Keita last month. ECOWAS has said that it will maintain the sanctions until Mali’s military government appoints civilian leaders.


AMERICAS

In the United States, New York City Police Department officer has been charged with acting as an illegal agent for China. Tibet-born Baimadajie Angwang is accused of reporting on the activities of Chinese citizens in the New York area. The naturalized US citizen, who worked for the police department's community affairs unit, was arrested on Monday. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 55 years in prison.


Venezuela and Cuba have criticised the United States in their speeches at the United States General Assembly. The summit, which was virtual, included pre-recorded speeches by world leaders. Rival Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said the world should fight against imperialism. Maduro was recently accused of crimes against humanity by UN investigators.


ASIA

In Pakistan, a court in Karachi has sentenced two men to death for starting Pakistan's deadliest industrial fire, more on this story from Khadija Tahir.

“On September 11th 2012, the Ali Enterprises factory in the Baldia town area in Karachi caught fire. It took 40 firefighting vehicles 15 hours to extinguish it. About 500 workers were inside the factory when the fire broke out. Officials said the factory was full of flammable materials, including piles of clothes and chemicals, and had no fire exits. In its verdict, the court said 264 people had been killed in the fire, and 60 were injured. The court said that the two men found guilty were connected with the MQM party, which was in power in Karachi at the time. With evidence from more than 400 witnesses, the fire was called an act of organized terrorism.”


In Australia at least 270 whales have been found stranded near the coast of Tasmania. Almost 25 whales were rescued on Tuesday and taken back into the sea. Marine biologists say the rescue mission will take days.


And in Nepal, Ang Rita Sherpa, the first person to climb Mount Everest 10 times without bottled oxygen, died at the age of 72. Rita, was highly respected in Nepal and internationally, and was known by his nickname - snow leapord, because of his climbing ability.

Thank you for listening to SEND7. To read the transcript of today’s episode and find other material, visit send7.org. Have a great day, and I will see you tomorrow morning, for more world news in 7 minutes.


Stephen Devincenzi and Khadija Tahir.

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