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Asia

In Japan the Tokyo Olympics officially start today. One year after the games should have started, most events will be taking place without spectators, as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Japan. Recent polls show that more than half of Japanese people don’t want the Olympics to happen now. Yesterday Japan fired the show director of the Olympics' opening ceremony, despite the opening ceremony being, today. Khadija Tahir reports...

In Japan, the show director for the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony has been dismissed one day before the event. Comedian Kentaro Kobayashi was criticized for a show he performed 23 years ago in which he appears to be making jokes about the Holocaust. Kobayashi has since issued an apology. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and will begin today.

China has rejected a proposal from the World Health Organization to conduct a second phase of research in China about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom said that China had not been transparent with it’s information, and that the theory of COVID19 being accidentally leaked from a laboratory should continue to be investigated. China has accused the WHO of politicising the study. Accidents leading to people becoming infected ith viruses have happened many times in history all over the world.

In India tax authorities have raided 2 media companies critical of the government of Nardendra Modi. Newspaper Dainik Bhaskar and television channel Bharat Samachar both had their offices searched yesterday in different cities across India. Tax officials said that they had evidence of fraud, however Dainik Bhaskar has said that Prime Minister Modi is ‘afraid of journalism’.

Europe

In Italy there have been protests encouraging action on Climate Change. Environment minister from G20 countries met yesterday in Naples. Ministers were not able to agree on how to reach net-zero global emissions by 2050. Reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 is considered essential to limit global warming to 1.5’C, above which most scientists agree the results would be catastrophic. John Kerry, the US climate envoy, said earlier this week that the climate crisis is the “test of our times”...

” The climate crisis, my friends, is the test of our times. And while some may still believe it is unfolding in slow motion. No. This test is now as acute and as existential as any previous one.”

In Greece there were protests yesterday against a proposed law that would make it a legal requirement for staff in some jobs to receive coronavirus vaccinations. Greece is proposing that some health workers and care staff must be vaccinated to continue to work in these jobs. France has already introduced a similar law.

Africa

Madagascar has said that it stopped an attempt to kill President Andry Rajoelina. The attorney general Berthine Razafiarivony said that foreign nationals and Malagasys were arrested suspected of a plot to kill president Rajoelina.

In Spain over 200 migrants crossed illegally into the Spanish enclave of Melilla yesterday. Hundreds more attempted to climb the border fence with Morocco. Spain said that all of the 238 refugees who crossed into Melilla yesterday were men.

In Cameroon over 50 members of the islamist jihadist group Boko Haram have surrendered. In the past two months at least 180 Boko Haram fighters have given themselves to authorities. In May Nigerian Boko Haram leader Abubakar Sekau died in fighting with another jihadist group aligned with Daesh, the Islamic State group.

Americas

In Ecuador at least 18 people have died in riots at two prisons. Special police units were sent to prisons in the Capital city Quito, and the largest city, Guayaquil.

Argentina has become the first South American country to legalize a non-binary option for ID cards. In 2012 Argentina legalized a person changing their legal gender. Now, Argentina will be one of the first countries in the world to recognize people choosing to be neither male nor female. President Alberto Fernandez has said that there are different identities and that they should be respected.

And Syrian table tennis start Hend Zaza is the youngest athlete to appear in the Olympics. Zaza is only 12 years old and has already won national awards in Syria.

That’s seven minutes. SEND7 listeners - this podcast is free and always will be - if you want to support us, the best thing to do is to tell people about the podcast, leave a review in your app, or share a story about the podcast on social media. We are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @send7podcast. Go to SEND7.org for transcripts and more. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great weekend, and I will see you on Monday.

  • Namitha Ragunath

Asia

In Dubai, phone numbers used by two princesses have reportedly been found in an investigation into the phone hacking spyware known as Pegasus. Pegasus Spyware, made by an Israeli company, has been found to be used by many governments to spy on journalists, activists and lawyers. Princess Latifa is the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, and Princess Haya Bint al-Hussain is his former wife. In mid-February, a video of Princess Latifa was released where she said she was being held as a hostage. Princess Haya meanwhile fled Dubai in 2019 saying she feared for her life. The UAE has denied both women's allegations. Their numbers are apparently on a list of some 50,000 phone numbers of people believed to be of interest to an Israeli surveillance group.

In China, at least 25 people have died after rainfall flooded underground railway tunnels. The floods left passengers trapped in rising waters. Videos shared on social media show passengers just managing to keep their heads above the water. More than 500 people were eventually rescued from the tunnels in the Henan province. Days of rain has caused severe damage and led to 200,000 evacuations. A years worth of rain fell in just 3 days. President Xi Jinping has ensured the safety of China’s citizens. A big thank you to to Bob Li for sharing this story with us! Have we missed a story? Let us know by sending us a message in writing or in audio at send7.org where you can also find transcripts

Americas

In the United States, Dr Anthony Fauci was asked if he had lied to the congress. Republican Senator Rand Paul asked the nations top infectious diseases expert if he lied about funding the ‘gain of function’ research in Wuhan, China. The ‘gain of function’ research is when scientists enhance a virus in a lab to study its impact in the real word. Dr Fauci denied lying about it.


Dr AF: "And you are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individual I totally resent that and if anybody is lying here senator it is you senator smith."


In Latin America, yesterday the Pan American Health Organisation said Coronavirus infections are increasing. They said they are increasing across much of Central America and on smaller Caribbean islands. The organisation has again called for more vaccine donations to help nations that are struggling. They said while Chile and Argentina are reporting a drop in new infections, cases and deaths are spiking in Cuba, Honduras and Guatemala.

Europe

In Germany, the government has reached a deal with the United States yesterday that will allow a controversial Russian gas pipeline to Europe to be completed. Germany and the United States has agreed the pipeline will be completed without any US sanctions. The two governments will shortly announce details of the agreement. There are concerns from both the United States and eastern and central European concerns about the impact of the Nord Stream 2 project. U.S. officials from both parties have shared concern that the pipeline would give Russia too much power over European gas supplies

In the UK, Boris Johnson has been asked to apologise for saying people dying from Covid were "essentially all over 80”. This comment was sent as a text and was leaked by his ex advisor, Dominic Cummings. The prime minister did not deny making the comments, in October last year, as he argued against a second lockdown.

Africa

In South Africa, a well-known former radio DJ has been denied bail. This was after appearing in court on charges of starting violence that followed the jailing of ex-President Jacob Zuma. In a video on social media, Ngizwe Mchunu - a supporter of Mr Zuma - called for the former president to be released. Mr Mchunu has denied intending to cause violence. But prosecutors say he is one of the key people who caused the violence that left more than 200 people dead.


In Zimbabwe, rights groups are demanding that schoolgirls should be able to get contraceptives without permission from their parents. This is because teen pregnancies have been rising in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s vice-president had rejected the demand. He denied it due “cultural and moral" reasons. More than 5,000 girls had become pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic - 2,000 of them were below the age of 16.


And finally, popular streaming service Netflix has confirmed that it will include free video games as part of subscription packages. Netflix said it was in the early stages of expanding into games and those for mobile phones would be added to the platform first.

And that’s your Simple English world news for today. You can find transcripts or send us a message at send7.org. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @send7podcast. I’m Namitha Ragunath and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.

Europe

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited North Cyprus yesterday, where he officially reopened the town of Varosha. Varosha was a tourist city, where mostly Greek Cypriots lived, before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, when it was abandoned. The Republic of Cyprus has called the opening of Varosha “unacceptable”.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron may have had his mobile phone hacked. During the last few days journalists from The Guardian, Le Monde, and other media organizations have been revealing spying abuses by governments. Pegasus Spyware, made by an Israeli company, has been found to be used by many governments to spy on journalists, activists and lawyers. Reports have also shown that some heads of state have been targeted, including Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. According to French newspaper Le Monde, President Macron’s phone was a target for the government of Morocco, however Morocco has denied using Pegasus spyware.

Asia

In Pakistan, a disabled mountain climber and Paralympian is missing after a fall. In 1990 South Korean Kim Hong Bin lost all of his fingers while climbing a mountain, but had continued to climb the world’s tallest mountains. Khadija Tahir reports...

In Pakistan, a South Korean Paralympian has gone missing after falling from the world's 12th highest mountain - Broad Peak, in the Karakoram Range, between Pakistan and China. According to the Alpine Club of Pakistan, Kim Hong-Bin fell due to bad weather on the way down from the mountain. The 57-year-old, who represented South Korea in Alpine skiing at the 2002 Winter Paralympics, was trying to climb the world's 14 tallest mountains, and Broad Peak was his final summit. Pakistani authorities have started a search operation to find him.

In Israel and Palestine, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream will stop being sold in occupied Palestinian territories. The ice cream will continue to be sold in Israel, however, Ben and Jerry’s have said that selling in the occupied Palestinian territories is “inconsistent with our values”. The United Nations officially calls The Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, “Occupied Palestinian Territories”; and says that it is illegal for Israel to bring Israelis to live there. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said that Ben and Jerry’s and it’s parent company, UniLever, will face serious consequences for this decision.

Africa

Mali’s interim president Assimi Goita has survived an attempted stabbing yesterday. The attacker was overpowered by security in the Grand Mosque in Mali’s capital, Bamako. Goita organized the military coup d’etat which removed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last year. After Bah Ndaw was first declared interim president, Assimi Goita staged another coup d’etat in May this year, after which he made himself president. He has promised that there will be elections in Mali next year.

Tanzania’s president Samia Hassan has asked the finance ministry to review a new mobile phone tax. From last week, there is a tax on payments sent or received on phones. Tanzania is a world-leader in mobile phone money transactions - with around 40 percent of people using their phones to pay, despite a much lower number having access to bank accounts.

Americas

Haiti has sworn in a new Prime Minister, less than two weeks after President Jovenel Moise was murdered in his own home. Ariel Henry had been chosen as a new Prime Minister by Moise a few days before Moise;s death. International diplomats encouraged acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph to allow Henry to become Prime Minister, and Joseph agreed. Haitian authorities have accused 26 people of the plot to kill President Moise - 18 of whom are Colombian.

In the United States Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has been temporarily blocked from Twitter, after the social media company said that she had been spreading false information about the coronavirus pandemic. Before being elected to congress, Greene was known for spreading conspiracy theories, including white supremacist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and compared coronavirus restrictions to the holocaust. Last week President Biden complained that tech companies are not doing enough to stop misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, however, on Monday blamed 12 people, for creating most anti-vaccine content on the internet...

” Facebook isn’t killing people. These twelve people are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It’s killing people. It’s bad information.”

Also in the United States, billionaire Jeff Bezos flew into space yesterday. The richest person in the world flew into space with his brother Mark, and 2 other people, who became the oldest and youngest people to ever fly into space. After the flight, Bezos, who is worth $210 billion dollars, thanked Amazon customers for paying for the flight...

“I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this...”

That’s all for today. Go to SEND7.org for transcripts or to send us a message. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.