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Wednesday 5th January 2022

Wednesday 5th January 2022

Europe

The United Kingdom reported almost 220,000 new cases of COVID19 yesterday, more than ever before. One in 50 people has tested positive in the last week. Businesses, schools and hospitals are having problems with staff, as over a million people have been told to isolate. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that there would not be more restrictions, but that this was a moment for caution...

“Our United Kingdom is in the midst of the fastest growth in COVID cases that we’ve ever known... ...This is a moment for the utmost caution...”

France, Spain, Ireland, Italy and Denmark are also reporting more new cases than ever before, however most of these cases are expected to be of the omicron variant that many studies have shown to be less likely to cause hospitalization and death. The world is now recording more than a million new COVID infections every day. Most of these cases are being reported in Europe and North America, where omicron is the dominant variant. Despite the world now reporting more cases of COVID19 than ever before, there are less deaths being reported now than at any time since 2020.

In Croatia a dog has saved a man’s life, according to mountain rescuers. Grga Brkic was trapped on a snowy mountain for 13 hours after he fell, and rescuers said that he was only kept alive by the warmth of his dog.

Asia

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has rejected claims that the freedom of press is being attacked in Hong Kong. Last week Stand News, a pro-democracy news website was forced to close, after it was accused of secession. Apple Daily, a newspaper owned by billionaire Jimmy Lai was also closed last year, and Lai is now in prison for his part in protests. Western media sources have said that China is trying to remove freedom of the press in Hong Kong. According to Reporters Without Borders, China is one of the worst countries for freedom of the media. Most foreign news websites and social media websites are blocked in China, and the Chinese communist party controls Chinese media. Yesterday Carrie Lam said that the closure of media organizations was not related to the new security law introduced last year...

“Similarly, this morning, I read news about because of the closure of online media, press freedom in Hong Kong faces extinction, or Hong Kong free press faces collapse. I just could not accept that sort of allegation. But nothing is more important than the rule of law in Hong Kong. And journalists and media organizations like all of us, have to respect and comply with the law...”

In Kazakhstan there have been large protests against energy prices. Protests started on Sunday in the western Manystau region, and have spread to most of Kazakhstan.

In India police have made arrests over a website that degrades Muslim women. Khadija Tahir reports...

In India, police have registered cases against a website that hosted a fake online auction by sharing photos of hundreds of Muslim women. The images were taken from private social media accounts of prominent female Muslim academics, activists, and artists. According to the police, the website has been taken down, and two people have been arrested. In July last year, authorities took down a similar website. Most of the women targeted have spoken about violence against Muslims under the BJP government.

South Korea has said that a person who crossed the border into North Korea this week was originally North Korean. South Korea’s military said that the man had crossed into South Korea last year, and they did not think that he was a spy.

Americas

A Colombian man has appeared in court in the United States, after he was detained as a suspect in the assassination of the President of Haiti last year. Many former members of the Colombian military were accused of participating in the murder of President Jovenel Moise in July. Mario Antonio Palacios was arrested in Panama while he was changing flights from Jamaica to Colombia.

In the United States, General Motors has lost its position as the highest selling vehicle company, for the first time since 1931. In General Motors sold 2.1 million vehicles in the United States in 2021, however Japanese company Toyota sold 2.2 million vehicles.

Africa

In Sudan protests are continuing against military rule. In October the military removed the ruling transitional council, which had been leading Sudan for two years with the aim of starting a democracy in Sudan. Yesterday security forces have used tear gas as thousands of people protest in Khartoum.

In Kenya, the fast food chain KFC has run out of chips. KFC has blamed global supply problems for its lack of potato products. In Japan KFC only sold small portions of chips during December because of supply problems.

That’s your world news in 7 minutes. Listeners of SEND7 podcast, you may also like to listen to Down to Business podcast, an English learning podcast that focuses on business news. If you listen to the last episode, the host Skip, talks to me. That’s on the Down To Business English podcast. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Juliet Martin. Have a great day.

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