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Asia

In Armenia there were large protests against and supporting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan yesterday. Pashinyan has accused the military of an attempted coup d’état, after they demanded his resignation. Yesterday Pashinyan lead his own demonstrations, through the capital city Yerevan. Protests against Pashinyan started in November, when an agreement was signed with Azerbaijan to finish a 6-week war. Protesters are angry that Pashinyan agreed to give part of the Nagorno-Karabakh area to Azerbaijan in order to stop the war.

India has now vaccinated over 12 million people against COVID19, however 90% of those are using the British-designed and Indian-produced Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Only 10% have taken the Indian designed Barath Biotech vaccine. Khadija Tahir tells us why...

In India, healthcare workers are reportedly refusing to take a locally made covid19 vaccine. There is a lack of confidence in the vaccine manufactured by Bharat biotech since the Indian government approved it before it had completed stage 3 trials. Bharat Biotech has said that these results will be available in 2 weeks. The controversy surrounding the locally made vaccine will affect India's plan to vaccinate 300 million people by august. India has the second-highest number of covid19 cases in the world and has seen a rise in cases since many states reduced social distancing measures.

Africa

In Spain the last statue of dictator Francisco Franco has been removed in the city of Melilla, in north Africa. Spain passed a law in 2007 to remove all symbols of the Franco regime. Melilla is one of two Spanish enclaves in Africa surrounded by Morocco.

In Nigeria at least 36 people have died in attacks in Kaduna and Katsina states since Wednesday. Attacks are common in the north of Nigeria, because of both Islamist Jihadists, and inter-ethnic violence.

Ghana has become the first country to receive COVID19 vaccines from the COVAX scheme. COVAX is funded by richer countries, and private donors and is intended to distribute 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines around the world this year. Cote d’Ivoire is expected to receive vaccines from COVAX this weekend.

In South Africa athlete Caster Semenya is challenging restrictions on testosterone in the European Court of Human Rights. In 2019 the World Athletics body banned Semenya and other female athletes from competing in certain races unless they take drugs to lower their testosterone levels. Semenya was born female but with high testosterone levels. She says that asking her to take medicine is a human rights violation.

Americas

In the United States President Joe Biden attended a ceremony yesterday to mark 50 million doses of COVID19 vaccinations. Biden said that this was a great accomplishment but that now is not the time to relax...

“My goal was to get 100 million COVID vaccine shots in people’s arms in my first 100 days as president. And today I’m here to report that we’re halfway there. 50 million shots in just the first 37 days since I’ve become president.”

Also in the US, a dog-walker for Lady Gaga has been shot, and two of her dogs have been stolen. The dog-walker Ryan Fisher is recovering in hospital. Lady Gaga has offered half a million dollars reward for the return of the dogs.

In Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez has said that United States allegations against him could affect cooperation on stopping drug trafficking. Hernandez is accused of accepting a million-dollar bribe from Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman. President Hernandez’s brother was found guilty of drug trafficking by a US court in 2019.

Europe

In Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the European Union must prepare for more coronavirus variants in the coming years. The leaders of the 27 countries of the EU met virtually yesterday to talk about how to improve the vaccination campaign in the EU, which has been criticised for being too slow. French President Emmanuel Macron said that the EU will have to learn to live with the virus.

And in Spain a driverless bus has started operating in the city of Malaga. The bus is operated by sensors and cameras. It can hold 60 people and will drive 8 kilometre loop around Malaga.

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Africa

Ghana yesterday became the first country to receive coronavirus vaccines through the Covax Scheme. 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Accra, the capital of Ghana, yesterday. Healthcare workers will be the first to get vaccinated. The Covax scheme aims to help poorer nations who are unable to buy doses. The programme is planning to deliver about 2 billion vaccine doses globally by the end of the year.


In the Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 13 people have been killed in 2 attacks. This happened in the Beni area, near the Ugandan boarder. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were blamed for the attacks. This brings the number of civilians killed by armed groups in Beni since November 2019 to more than 1,000.

Asia

Amnesty International yesterday removed the “prisoner of conscience” status they had given to Alexey Navalny. Prisoner of conscience is someone who has not used or supported violence, but is imprisoned because of who they are. They removed the “prisoner of conscience’ status because they believe some of Navalny’s past comments could be seen as hate speech. In the past, Navalny has supported anti-immigrant policies and is often accused of being a white supremacist. However, yesterday, Amnesty International said it would continue to “fight for his freedom”. Navalny is a Kremlin critique who was arrested on the January 17th. Thousands of Russians have protested for his release.

In Malaysia, the government yesterday deported around 1,000 people back to Myanmar. This deportation goes against a court order from human rights groups. Human rights organisations say those being deported come from ethnic minority groups, that have suffered in Myanmar, also known as Burma. They groups say sending them back to Myanmar, where the army took power in a coup, could put them in even more danger. But the Malaysian government has said those being sent back committed immigration offences, and are not asylum seekers.


Americas

In the United States, US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had their first meeting yesterday. This is Biden’s first meeting with a foreign leader since becoming President. Trudeau said they will both priorities climate change and keeping people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The president and I discussed the ambitious new partnership roadmap based on shared values and priorities that will guide our country's work together over the coming years. In the face of COVID-19, of climate change, of rising inequality, this is our moment to act. So we're not wasting any time in getting down to work. Job one remains keeping people safe and ending this pandemic. We're facing tough times, there's no doubt, but we're not facing them alone. Canada and the United States are each other's closest allies, most important trading partners, and oldest friends. And we stand united to beat this pandemic and build a better tomorrow. And I know our bond will grow even stronger."


Also in the United States, regulators of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine has said the vaccine is safe to use, especially against severe cases. The Johnson & Johnson single-shot coronavirus vaccine could be the third Coronavirus vaccine to be used in the United States.


In Ecuador, the number of dead inmates has risen to 79. These inmates have been killed in fights in 4 prisons in Ecuador. The military and riot police have been sent to end the violence, which started on Tuesday. Experts say the fights were to gain control of the prisons after a gang leader was killed in December. The number of dead is higher than the total of inmates killed in 2019 and 2020 combined.

Europe

Authorities in Germany and Belgium have found a record of more than 23 tonnes of cocaine that was meant to be sent to the Netherlands. German officials said the cocaine was worth billions of euros. Dutch police announced yesterday that a 28-year-old man has been arrested in the Netherlands.

In the UK, secondary schools in England will be asked to consider face-to-face summer schools. This would be to help students catch up with their studies. Yesterday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the government plans to give £400m of funding to schools to help students catch up with missed learning.


"Schools will be able to target individual pupils' needs. This means that if your child needs extra help, then they are able to get it. For example, a block of tutoring can help a child gain 3 to 5 months of catch up when learning. We know our teachers are best placed to understand what your children will need, so they'll have the tools to deliver that extra boost and make a real difference as we recover from this pandemic."


And finally, in France, a Vincent Van Gogh painting of a Paris street has gone on display for the first time in 100 years. The painting has been owned by a French family for most of the time since it was painted in 1887. It is estimated to be sold for €8 million at an auction next month.


That’s your World News in 7 minutes! Please complete our questionnaire to help us improve the podcast. Find the survey at send7.org where you can also find the transcripts for the episodes. This weekend one listener will win €40 of Amazon vouchers for completing the survey. Find the survey at send7.org or in the episode description of your podcast app. I’m Namitha Ragunath, and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.

Africa

In Niger Mohamoud Bazoum has been declared the winner of the presidential election. The electoral commission said that Bazoum, received 56% of the vote, and former president Mahamane Ousmane received 44%. The transition from current president Mahamadou Issoufou will be the first change of power between elected leaders since Niger’s independence from France in 1960.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Hutu rebels have denied connections to the killing of Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio on Monday. Italian carabinieri, military police, arrived in the DRC yesterday to start an investigation. Luca was the first serving ambassador to be killed anywhere in the world since 2016.

Asia

In Lebanon, the World Bank has threatened to stop financing for coronavirus vaccines, after Lebanese politicians were found to have jumped the queue to receive vaccines early. Lebanon is the latest country to have problems with vaccine queue-jumping, after both Peru and Argentina’s health ministers were forced to resign for allowing people early access to COVID19 vaccines.

Nepal is facing a political crisis, after the parliament has been recalled by the Supreme Court. More information from Khadija Tahir...

In Nepal, the supreme court has decided to bring back the parliament, which was dissolved in December. Nepal has been in political trouble since the former Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli called for early elections. He claimed that the opposition party had not cooperated with the government. Nepal also faced economic problems due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, now the Supreme court of Nepal has ordered the parliament to be restored, and Prime Minister Oli will probably face a no-confidence vote and may have to resign. After Oli dissolved parliament, there were protests all over Nepal against the decision. 77 protesters were arrested on 4th February.

In Sri Lanka, an investigation has said that former President Maithipala Sirisena and his intelligence team, should be prosecuted for failing to stop the 2019 terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. On Easter Sunday 2019 269 people were killed when Islamist Jihadists bombed churches and hotels around Sri Lanka. The investigation, which was started by President Sirisena, found that Indian intelligence had warned Sri Lanka about the possibility of an attack two weeks before the attack. Sirisena has previously said that he had no warning.

In Australia, facebook has agreed to restore news pages. Last week, Facebook stopped the viewing and sharing of all News content as Australia prepared to pass a law that said that social media networks must pay news companies. Australia and facebook reached a deal yesterday, after talks between Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Frydenberg said that Facebook had “refriended” Australia.

“Well Facebook has refriended Australia. And Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform”

America

In Ecuador at least 50 people were killed in riots in 3 different prisons yesterday. The violence was caused by fighting between gangs in the prisons in Guayaquil, Cuenca and Latacunga.

In the United States, the wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman has been arrested. Emma Aispuro was arrested over alleged involvement in international drug trafficking with her husband, known as ‘El Chapo’. Guzman was captured in Mexico in 2016 and sentenced in 2019 in the United States to life imprisonment.

Europe

France has asked the Pakistani envoy to explain comments made by Pakistani President Arif Alvi. On Saturday Alvi criticised a new law in France that aims to stop extremism and separatism. Alvi said that the new law is discriminatory against Muslims. France’s new law does not mention Islam or Muslims.

In Malta a man has been given 15 years in prison for his part in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017. It is reported that Vincent Muscat was offered a lower prison sentence for giving information about other people involved in Caruana Galizia’s murder.

And in Italy, the volcano Mount Etna is erupting right now. Europe’s most active volcano, has been slowly erupting for weeks, but is at its peak right now. It is not considered to be dangerous but is creating beautiful scenes on the island of Sicily.

That’s your World News in 7 minutes! Please complete our questionnaire to help us improve the podcast. Find the survey at send7.org where you can also find transcripts. This weekend one listener will win €40 of Amazon vouchers for completing the survey. Find the survey at send7.org or in the episode description of your podcast app. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.