Wednesday 5th August 2020
Updated: Aug 5
In Lebanon a large explosion has killed many people. The explosion took place at the central port in Beirut, at 6:30 PM local time. At the time of recording this podcast 70 people have been declared dead, however, this number is expected to rise. Thousands have been injured. The cause of the explosion has not been declared, however it may have been an accident related to the storage of chemicals. The Islamic group Hezbollah have denied responsibility, and have offered to help with emergency support. The explosion caused damage kilometres away from the epicenter. Sky News have said that their offices were totally destroyed in the explosion. Many countries have also offered to help, and French President Emmanuel Macron has said that aid has already been sent. Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun has declared today to be a day of mourning.
Continuing in Asia...
In Afghanistan it is now believed that 29 people were killed in an attack on a prison on Monday night. Daesh, the Islamic State group, has claimed responsibility. Around 270 prisoners are believed to have escaped - most of them are Daesh fighters.
In Malaysia the news company Al Jazeera has reported that its offices have been raided by police. Al Jazeera said that computers had been taken from its offices in Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian government had previously said that it was investigating Al Jazeera for defamation after a documentary released last month that was critical of Malaysia’s treatment of migrants.
In Australia soldiers have been sent to the state of Victoria, to enforce a coronavirus lockdown. Premier Daniel Andrews has said that there is no reason anyone should leave their homes...
” Apart from emergency medical care, there is literally no reason for you to leave your home. And if you were to leave your home and not be found there ,you will have a very difficult time convincing Victoria police that you had a lawful reason...”
In the world, 700,000 people are now confirmed to have died from coronavirus. More than one in 5 of these were in the United States. On Monday President Donald Trump said that the coronavirus is under control, in an interview with Axios. When Axios reporter Johnathon Swan said that a thousand people are dying a day, Trump said that “It is what it is”...
JS: “A thousand Americans are dying a day” DT: “They are dying. That’s true. And it is what it is, but that doesn’t mean we arent doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague that beset us.”
The United States has one of the highest rates of COVID19 deaths in the world. Trump also said that the United States was performing better than other countries when considering proportion of deaths to the number of cases of COVID19.
DT: “We are lower than the world, lower than Europe” JS: “What does that mean? In what?”
DT: “Here’s case deaths”
JS: “Oh you are doing death as a proportion of cases, I'm talking about death as a proportion of population, that's where the US is really bad, much worse than South Korea, Germany etc.”
DT: “You can’t do that. You have to go by the cases... ”
Argentina has reached a deal with financial groups about repayment of the country’s debt. Argentina owes $65 billion dollars. Argentina was in a recession before the COVID19 pandemic, and the economy is expected to fall by 12% this year. Argentina has one of the worst inflation rates in the world. On the black market, dollars are worth almost double the official exchange rate.
Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa has described his opposition as terrorists. Speaking yesterday Mnangagwa said that the ‘Bad apples’ will be ‘flushed out’...
“We will overcome attempts at destabilization of our society, by a few rogue Zimbabweans, acting in league with foreign detractors. The bad apples that have attempted to divide our people and to weaken our systems, will be flushed out”
The European Union has delayed the sale of Fitbit to Google. Fitbit is a digital watch that tracks a person’s fitness. The EU have said that Google may have too much power over user’s data, related to advertising. Rick Osterloh, Google’s vice president, has said that Fitbit’s data will not be used for google ads.
France will pay a bonus to people who have helped elderly or disabled people during the coronavirus pandemic. President Emmanuel Macron said yesterday that up to €1000 will be given to over 300,000 people who provided essential care during the crisis.
And India has started putting female figures into some road signs. Mumbai is the first city to start the idea. Some green and red lights showing people when they can cross the road, have the figure of a woman instead of a man.