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Wednesday 23rd December 2020

Good morning. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Today will be the last episode of SEND7 World News, this year. We will return on Monday the 4th January 2021. Today is Wednesday 23rd December 2020. These are the most important stories in the world in 7 minutes...

Europe

The European Union has asked its member states to restart essential travel with the United Kingdom. By yesterday more than 40 countries had banned flights from the UK because of concern about a new strain of coronavirus. France has said that cargo and some passengers will be able to enter France today, if they can show a negative COVID test. The research teams of Pfeizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines against the new strain, with results expected in two weeks. The head of the World Health Organization Dr Tedros Adhanom said that although this strain may be more contagious, there is no evidence that it is more deadly...

“The UK has reported that this new variant transmits more easily but there is no evidence so far that it is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality.”

In the EU vaccinations against COVID19 are expected to start on Sunday. Yesterday European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that this was an important chapter in the fight against COVID19.

“Today we add an important chapter in our fight against COVDI19. We took the decision to make available for European citizens the first COVID19 vaccine. We granted conditional market authorization to the vaccine produced by BionTech and Pfeizer.”

In Germany the Russian activist Alexei Navalny, claims to have tricked a Russian agent into confessing details of his poisoning. The officer admitted putting poison in Navalny’s underwear. Navalny almost died after being poisoned using Novichok in August. The EU has placed sanctions of some Russian officials for failing to explain Navalny’s poisoning.

Asia

In the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has distanced himself from the killing of a mother and son by a policeman. During his presidency, Duterte has repeatedly said that killing drug dealers is ok. However, Duterte said that this policeman would not get away with the crime.

A Pakistani human rights activist has been found dead in Canada. Karima Baloch was one of the BBC’s most inspirational women in 2016. Khadija Tahir tells us more...

“A Pakistani activist, Karima Mehrab Baloch, was found dead in Toronto, Canada, yesterday evening. Karima was part of the Baloch Student Organisation’s Azad faction in Pakistan. The organization calls for the independence of the ethnic areas of Balochistan. According to her husband, Karima had been getting death threats while living in asylum in Canada and went missing on Sunday. Baloch is the second Pakistani activist from Balochistan murdered while in exile this year, after Sajid Hussain was murdered in Sweden in May.”

India could become the first country in the world to approve the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine. Reuters news agency has reported that India may approve the vaccine next week, and already has 50 million doses in stock. The Oxford vaccine is considered important for the developing world as it is much cheaper than the Pfeizer and Moderna vaccines, and it does not require extreme freezing temperatures.

Africa

In the Central African Republic, rebels have taken control of the fourth largest city - Bambari. The Mayor of Bambari Abel Matchipata said yesterday that armed groups were now in control of Bambari. Russia has confirmed sending 300 military instructors to the Central African Republic, at the request of the government. CAR is expected to have a general election on Sunday.

Ethiopia and Sudan have begun talks to officially mark their borders. Four Sudanese soldiers were killed last week after fighting with Ethiopian soldiers. Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister Demeke Mekonnen said that the violence did not resemble the normally good relations between Sudan and Ethiopia.

Americas

The United States Infectious Disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, received the Pfeizer COVID19 vaccine live on television yesterday. Speaking seconds before before being vaccinated, Fauci said that he wanted to share his extreme confidence in the vaccine...

“as a symbol to the rest of the country that I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine and I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we can have a veil of protection over this country that would end this pandemic.”

Argentina’s Senate will decide next week whether to legalize abortion. At the moment abortion is only legal in cases of rape or risk to the mother’s life. Two years ago, a similar law was approved by congress but failed at the senate. Last week congress approved this law, and the vote in the senate is expected to be very close.

And that is your news for 2020. This podcast started 8 months ago, in April this year. It has now been downloaded almost a hundred thousand times all over the world. As a Christmas present to me, please leave a review on apple podcasts. Thank you to Namitha Ragunath and Khadija Tahir. We will return on the 4th January. To all SEND7 listeners I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Stephen Devincenzi

SEND7

(Simple English News Daily in 7 minutes)

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