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Wednesday 30th June 2021

Africa

In Ethiopia, Rebel soldiers in the northern Tigray region say that they have retaken the capital, Mekelle. There have been reports of celebrations, with people setting off fireworks and waving flags. The Ethiopian government took control of Mekelle from the local Tigray government in November, and fighting has left thousands dead and two million people have been forced to leave their homes.

In Nigeria, Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of a separatist group that wants a breakaway state in eastern Nigeria, has been arrested. His movement, the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), has been labelled as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian authorities. In 2015 he faced charges of treason. He then fled the country in 2017 while on bail. Mr Kanu is a popular figure who has been in conflict with the Nigerian authorities since 2009.

In Eswatini, Prime Minister Themba Masuku has denied that King Mswati escaped to South Africa after conflict between police and demonstrators. In the last two days there have been large anti-monarchy protests in Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland. Government buildings, shops and vehicles were set on fire by protesters. The king gained power 35 years ago. His critics accuse him, and his 15 wives, of living an expensive lifestyle and treating critics badly.

Asia

In India, the Serum Institute is asking the European Union to authorise its Covishield vaccine for the EU passport scheme. At the moment only four vaccines - all made in Western countries - have been approved for inclusion on the EU’s passport scheme. Covishield is the Indian-made version of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been authorised in the EU. The vaccine certificates have already started being used in some EU countries.

Hong Kong plans to ban all flights from the UK to stop the spread of the Delta variant of Covid. The UK will soon be known as an "extremely high-risk" country, the highest rating Hong Kong has for pandemic travel. The ban will begin tomorrow and affect all flights from Britain. The ban means people who'd recently spent more than two hours in Britain wouldn't be allowed to get on flights to Hong Kong from any airport.

Americas

In Colombia, anti-government protesters have torn down a statue of Christopher Columbus. The statue of the European explorer, after whom Colombia is named, was torn down with ropes and vandalised in the Northern city of Baranquilla. There have been protests for 2 months, throughout Colombia calling for social reform. Many indigenous activists see Christopher Columbus as a symbol of colonialism and oppression.

In Canada, schools have been closed, flood warnings from glacier melts have been made, and people have been told to stay indoors. This is because of record high heat waves in the western Canadian province of British Colombia. Social media posts with tips on staying cool without air conditioners went viral on Monday. In British Colombia less than 40 percent of homes have air conditioning.

Europe

In France, a law allowing single women and lesbian couples to get fertility treatment has been passed. Currently fertility treatment is only available for couples consisting of a man and a woman. The law was passed after two years of debates and demonstrations by groups who do not support the new law. Many French women have gone to Belgium and Spain for fertility treatment, which can be very expensive.

In Greece, paintings by Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian, which were stolen from its National Gallery in 2012, were found yesterday. Thieves broke into the gallery and stole Picasso’s 1939 painting called “Woman’s Head”. On Monday, authorities arrested a 49-year-old Greek man who confessed that he had stolen the paintings. Yesterday the police said the man led them to a forest outside Athens where he had hidden them.

And in Latvia, scientists believe that they have found the "patient zero" of the pandemic known as the Black Death. The skull of a man who died more than 5,000 years ago in Latvia was found to contain the plague bacteria. The plague swept through Europe in the 1300s, killing almost half of the population.

That’s your World News in 7 minutes. Send your opinion on any news story by email to podcastsend7.org or send an audio message at send7.org where you can also find transcripts. I’m Namitha Ragunath. And I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day. See you tomorrow.

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