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Africa

In Equatorial Guinea there were huge explosions last night in the largest city, Bata. At the time of recording this podcast 20 deaths have been reported but more are expected. The health ministry said that over 600 people had been injured and they were asking the public to donate blood. President Teodoro Mbasogo said that the explosions were caused by the poor storage of dynamite in an army base.

In Somalia ten people were killed in a bombing in a Mogadishu on Saturday. Islamist Jihadist group Al-shabaab claimed responsibility.

In Nigeria a Chinese boat has been freed, a month after 14 crew members were taken hostage. The Nigerian military said that $300,000 dollars was paid to the pirates to release the boat.

Americas

In the United States, an interview with British Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle will be broadcast today. The interview hosted by Oprah Winfrey, is expected to have cost $7 million dollars for American TV channel CBS and British channel ITV has paid a million pounds for the right to broadcast it in the United Kingdom. Millions of people are expected to watch. In a pre-released part of the conversation, Markle said that she felt liberated by not having to continue to follow the rules of the Royal Family...

MM: “It’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes...

OW: “And to say it for yourself, and not to have to consult with anybody at this point”

MM: “To be able to just make a choice on your own, and just be able to speak for yourself.”

In Latin America there have been protests against COVID19 restrictions in many countries. Maya Dil takes us around the region...

In parts of Latin America tighter COVID restrictions have led to protests. Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have re-introduced lockdowns to fight the growing number of COVID infections. In Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, rubber bullets and tear gas were used against protesters, who responded by throwing stones at the police. In Argentina, police also fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters in the city of Formosa after some businesses were closed by authorities. in Argentina, the pandemic and restrictions have made the economic recession much worse. The Brazilian city of Rio de Janairo, has gone into partial lockdown. This is after the city reported record numbers of COVID cases in the last two days and its worst week of the pandemic so far.

Asia

In Iran the British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Radcliffe has been freed, 5 years after being charged with spying. Ratcliffe became a British citizen in 2013, however Iran does not recognize double citizenship. Ratcliffe was arrested when visiting family in Iran in 2016 and charged with planning to bring down the Iranian government. United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said yesterday that Ratcliffe must be allowed to return to the UK as soon as possible to be reunited with her family.

In Iraq the Pope visited Mosul yesterday. Pope Francis visited churches that were destroyed by Daesh, the Islamic State group, during the 3 years that it controlled Mosul. The Pope has met Muslim leaders in Iraq and talked about inter-religious peace. He will leave Iraq today.

In the Philippines at least 9 activists were killed by police this weekend according to rights groups. On Friday President Rodrigo Duterte told the police to ‘forget about human rights’ and kill communist rebels. Rights groups say that there is no distinction being made between armed rebels and other activists.

Europe

In Switzerland a referendum has approved a ban on full face coverings in public places. 51% of voters agreed to the proposal, that critics say targets the Muslim minority. Swiss media is calling it a ‘Burqa ban’ despite the fact that the law does not mention burqas or Muslims. Almost nobody is expected to be affected by the ban, as full-face coverings are extremely rare among Switzerland’s Muslims.

Czechia has asked Germany, Switzerland and Poland to take some of its COVID19 patients, saying that its hospitals are at maximum capacity. Last week Slovakia transferred COVID patients to Poland.

In France, billionaire politician Olivier Dassault died yesterday in a helicopter crash. Olivier was one of the richest people in France, and a deputy in the National assembly since 2002. President Emmanuel Macron said that he loved France.

And everywhere in the world, today is International Women’s day. So far in 2021, Kamala Harris has become the United States’ first female vice-president, Kaja Kallas has become Estonia’s first female Prime Minister and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has become the first female and first African leader of the World Trade Organization. Right now 29 countries have a female head of state.

That’s your news in 7 minutes. Thank you to Gaetano in Italy for your nice message. If you enjoy the podcast please leave a review on your podcast app. You can find transcripts and past episodes at send7.org Follow us on social media @send7podcast. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.

Europe

In Italy a shipment coronavirus vaccines for Australia, has been blocked. The European Commission supported the blocking of the export of 250,000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine doses. There have been problems between the European Union and Oxford AstraZenca, since the EU says that the company is not delivering the number of vaccines promised.

In France former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur has been cleared of corruption charges. Earlier this week Former President Nicolas Sarkosy was convicted of corruption and given a one year prison sentence. Sarkozy is appealing against the decision.

In Greece, Wednesday’s earthquake has been declared the strongest in over 80 years. Greece reported heavy damage but no deaths in the 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

Americas

In the United States, the States of Texas and Mississippi have said that they will continue to lower pandemic restrictions, despite criticism from President Joe Biden. On Tuesday Texas governor Greg Abbot said that now is the times to open Texas 100%, and ordered an end to having to wear masks in public buildings. President Biden said that lowering restrictions now was ‘Neanderthal thinking”...

“I hope everyone has realised by now - thee masks make a difference . WE are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we are able to get vaccines into people’s arms, and the last thing, the last thing that we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it.... it still matters.”

Brazil recorded over 1,800 COVID19 deaths on Wednesday, the worst single day since the pandemic began. However, yesterday President Jair Bolsonaro celebrated positive results in Brazil’s economy. Brazil’s economy fell by 4.1% last year . It is the worst drop in thirty years, but less than what was expected.

In Canada, people have been confused about why their butter is not as soft as it used to be. After months of people talking about why their butter is harder than usual, many experts now agree that it is because of a change in diet of dairy cows. Dairy cows in Canada have recently been eating more palm oil products, which could make butter harder.

Asia

In Iraq Pope Francis will start a 4 day visit today. The Pope will visit Baghdad, Mosul, Qaraqosh and Erbil, the Capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, which is home to 150,000 Christian refugees. The number of Christians in Iraq has reduced significantly in the last 15 years because of persecution from Islamist Jihadist groups, however it is expected that there are over half a million Christians in Iraq today. Francis is the first Pope to ever visit Iraq.

India’s COVID19 vaccine from Bharat Biotech is safe and effective, according to results from clinical trials on 26,000 people. Bharati Biotech said that it had an efficacy rate of 81 percent. Some health officials criticised India’s government fro approving the vaccine in January, before phase 3 trials were finished. On Monday Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the vaccine.

In Myanmar, the internet is continuing to face restrictions. Social media platforms are blocked, and all internet is cut during the night. The United Nations has criticised violence being used against protesters in Myanmar this week. The UN human rights office says that at least 54 people have been killed in protests since the military took power last month.

Tell the the world your opinion on any news story. Send an audio message at speakpipe.com/send7

Africa

In Nigeria there was violence during the return of 279 schoolgirls, who were kidnapped last week. 3 people were shot soon after the girls were freed. Earlier this week President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a large military presence in Zamfara state intended to stop more kidnappings.

In South Africa local authorities have asked the government to reconsider the name change of Port Elizabeth. Last month the official name of the city of Port Elizabeth was changed to a name from the local Xhosa language. People have complained that they cannot pronounce “Gqerbeha”. I also can’t pronounce the name. This person can...

-Gqerbeha”Gqerbeha”

Difficult. That’s your Simple English news this week. Listeners! If you would like to hear an interview with me, I am a guest on today’s episode of “My fluent podcast”, an excellent podcast for language learners. You can find it by searching for “My Fluent Podcast” in your podcast app, or by going to myfluentpodcast.com

If you enjoy SEND7 please leave a review in your podcast app. Thanks again to everyone who completed the survey last week and all your nice messages.

  • Namitha Ragunath

Asia

In Myanmar, at least 38 people were killed yesterday. The United Nations said yesterday was the most violent day in Myanmar since protests began. Security forces shot large crowds in a number of cities. At least two of the victims are believed to be teenagers. Mass demonstrations have been taking place across Myanmar since the military seized control on 1 February.


South Korea first transgender soldier, was found dead yesterday. Byun Hee-soo was removed from the military for transitioning from a male to a female. The ex-soldier, who was also a transgender rights campaigner, was found dead at her home.

Americas

In Bolivia, it was announced yesterday that at least seven students have died and five were seriously injured. The students fell from the fourth floor of a university building after a part of the building had collapsed. The students were between 20-24 years old.


In the United States, President Joe Biden announced yesterday that there will be enough coronavirus vaccines for every adult by the end of May.


"When we came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America. We rectified that. About three weeks ago, we were able to say that we'll have enough vaccine supply for adults by the end of July. And I'm pleased to announce today, as a consequence of the stepped-up process, this country will have enough vaccine supply - I'll say it again - for every adult in America by the end of May, by the end of May, that's progress, important progress."


Africa

In South Africa, officials found thousands of fake coronavirus vaccine doses yesterday. The international police force said that 400 bottles, which is about 2,000 doses, containing the fake vaccine were found. The fake vaccines were found at a warehouse outside Johannesburg in South Africa.


In Senegal, opposition politician Ousmane Sonko was arrested yesterday. Sonko was accused of disturbing public order in the capital, Dakar. This is because when Sonko was travelling to his court hearing, his car was followed by hundreds of chanting supporters. Police eventually fired teargas at the protesters. Sonko’s supporters were protesting the allegations that Sonko raped a women. Sonko denies the rape charges and says they were made up to stop him running in elections in 2024.

Rwanda received its first batch of Covid-19 vaccine doses yesterday. Rwanda received 240,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines along with 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines. The doses are part of the Covax scheme. Rwanda will use the doses to vaccinate people in groups who are most at risk.

Europe

In the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday announced Englands Budget plan. Sunak said the plan is working, but that it is going to take a long time for England to fully recover from the damage coronavirus has caused.


"At this budget we are announcing an additional 65 billion pounds of measures over this year and next to support the economy in response to coronavirus. The amount we've borrowed is comparable only with the amount we borrowed during the two world wars. It's going to be the work of many governments over many decades to pay it back."


In Greece, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake took place yesterday. The earthquake happened near the Greek city of Larissa, and was felt across Greece. An elderly man had to be rescued from his home, which had collapsed. No serious injuries have been reported.

And Finally, country star Dolly Parton received her COVID-19 Moderna vaccine yesterday. The singer posted a video of her getting the jab, and even sang a special version of one of her best-known songs, Jolene.


"Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine - I'm begging of you please don't hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine - cause once you're dead then that's a bit too late."


Listeners! If you enjoy this podcast, please leave a review in your podcast app! Thank you to Miluk in Germany for your nice message. You can find transcripts and past episodes at send7.org. You can feature on the podcast by sending your opinion on a news story at speakpipe.com/send7. And you can follow us on social media @send7podcast. I’m Namitha Ragunath and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.