This week protests occur across the globe from The Netherlands to India, Poland enforces a near-total abortion ban, and Argentina imposes a tax on the super rich.
The EU and AstraZeneca try to resolve the vaccine crisis after the bloc accused AstraZeneca of breaching a ‘binding commitment’ to produce vaccines.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned following weeks of political uncertainty and a split in the governing coalition over his handing of the second wave of COVID-19 and recovery funds from the EU.
Poland enforces a near-total abortion ban. The ban has sparked protests which have been taking place in Polish cities for three nights, with thousands marching through the streets of Warsaw, chanting “freedom, equality, abortion on demand”.
A Moscow judge has rejected opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s appeal against detention. Thousands continue to protest across Russian in support of the detained opposition leader.
There have been protests across several Dutch cities against the new lockdown restrictions, including a nighttime curfew between 9pm and 4:30am. Rioters blew up a pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam, while others burned bikes, looted and vandalized property, and clashed with police. Police have described it as the worst unrest in the Netherlands for decades, with more than 180 arrests.
UK experts back AstraZeneca jab after Germany rules it should not be given to over 65s. Public Health England says the AstraZeneca jab offers “high levels of protection” against Covid-19.
Central African Republic:
Officials in the Central African Republic say government troops have killed 44 rebel fighters who had surrounded the capital, Bagui, in an attempt to overthrow the new administration. The claim comes days after it declared a state of emergency to fight the rebels, who control two-thirds of the country. They dispute the validity of President Faustin-Archange Touadera’s re-election last month.
Democratic Republic of Congo:
MPs in the Democratic Republic of Congo voted out Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba from power. The legislators accused Mr Ilukamba, an ally of former President Joseph Kabila, and his ministers of poor performance. Mr Ilunkamba has formally resigned his position.
An appeals court in The Netherlands has ordered oil giant Shell to pay compensation to three Nigerian farmers whose land was polluted by oil leaks in 2004 and 2005. This is the first time individual farmers who have had their sources of livelihood taken away by the environmental destruction in the Niger Delta hope to get justice.
Hundreds of protestors attempted to reach the parliament building in Tunis in the latest of a series of demonstrations fuelled by frustration over inequality and police abuses. The police attempted to block the rally using water cannons.
On Monday night, Lebanese demonstrators clashed with security forces in Tripoli amid protests over the round-the-clock lockdown. The demonstrators burned tires and threw rocks, to which the police responded with teargas and rubber bullets.
Asia and Oceania
The Australian Open will be allowed to admit up to 30,000 fans a day when it goes ahead in February, Victoria’s minister for sport has announced.
Nine miners have been found dead by rescuers after explosions occurred at a gold mine two weeks ago. The discovery came a day after 11 miners were rescued, having been trapped underground.
A rally against new agriculture laws in India turned violent on Tuesday, after protesting farmers broke through police barricades to storm Delhi’s historic Red Fort complex.
Following a one-day hunger strike, India’s interior ministry have blocked internet services at three locations on the outskirts of Delhi in order to ‘maintain public safety’.
Japanese fishermen kill a minke whale by drowning after he got trapped in their nets.
Argentina imposes a new tax on the super rich to fund Covid relief. It means that those with a personal fortune of over 200 million pesos ($2.4 million) - approximately 12,000 people - will have to pay a one-off tax of at least 2%. It will pay for medical supplies and economic relief measures.
President Biden has scrapped a ban stopping transgender people joining the US military, as well as a policy which blocked US funds from going to international aid groups that support abortion. The president has also signed executive orders on climate change, pausing oil ands gas extraction and agreeing to expand wind energy under a new climate plan.
A US court has agreed a $17m payout to women who accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. The money comes from the liquidation of the Weinstein Co, which filed for bankruptcy in 2018.
Novice investors have taken on Wall Street professions by buying shares of US video games retailer Gamestop, which many hedge funds had seen as a losing bet. As a result, Gamestop saw shares jump from being worth less than $20 each at the end of December to nearly $350 on Wednesday.
This week 11 trapped gold miners are rescued in China, a snowstorm causes a 130-car pile up in Japan, and Joe Biden is inaugurated as America's 46th president.
Pfizer temporarily reduces deliveries of its vaccine to Europe while it upgrades its production capacity. Deliveries are expected to return to normal by 25th January.
The Italian PM wins a crucial vote of confidence in parliament, but failed to secure an overall majority, leaving his ruling coalition severely weakened.
At least three people have died on a suspected gas blast that destroyed four floors of a building in the centre of Madrid.
Tens of thousands of Alexei Navalny supporters protest across Russia in one of the largest demonstrations against Vladimir Putin’s rule in the past decade. More than 1,870 people have been arrested by riot police.
Central African Republic:
The Constitutional Court in the Central African Republic has confirmed the victory of Faustin Archange Touadera in last month’s elections, with 53.16% of votes cast against nearest rival Anicet Georges Dologuele’s 21.69%. The announcement of Mr Touadera’s win came despite repots of a poor voter turnout, and the loss of much of the country to rebel factions.
The country has declared a state of emergency as armed groups try to lay siege to the capital, Bangui. It will last for 15 days and allow the authorities to detain suspects without the authorisation of prosecutors. Rebel factions now control most of the country and are calling for the resignation of President Faustin-Archange Touadera.
Tropical cyclone Eloise has displaced thousands of people and caused severe flooding. In the port city of Beira, 1,000 houses have been totally destroyed and another 3,000 badly damaged.
Doctors in Sudan say more than 80 people have been killed in two days of fighting between rival ethnic groups in the Darfur region. Hundreds more have been injured during the unrest in El Geneina.
Protesters and the police have clashed in the capital, Tunis, as well as in several other cities across the country. More than 600 people have been arrested in Tunis after throwing stones and petrol bombs at police.
At least 32 people have died in a double suicide bombing in a market in Baghdad, the first deadly suicide attack in the city for three years. IS says it was behind the attack.
Israel vaccinates 16 to 18-year-olds ahead of school exams. The country has vaccinated more than a quarter of its population and now high school students are eligible.
Asia and Oceania
Rescuers in China freed 11 gold miners who were trapped hundreds of metres underground for two weeks. The entrance tunnel to the Hushan gold mine in Shandong province collapsed after an explosion on 10 January. A total of 22 miners were trapped in the blast, the cause of which is unknown. At least one died, and it is still not known if the remaining workers are alive underground.
A huge snowstorm struck a highway in Japan, causing a 130-vehicle pile-up, killing one person and injuring at least 17 people.
A huge fire broke out at the site of the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker, killing at least five people. The company says production of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has not been affected.
Protesting Indian farmers have rejected the government’s offer to suspend agricultural reforms for 18 months. The United Farmer’s Front said they will not stand down from the priests unless the laws are completely repealed.
A surge in coronavirus cases in the city of Manaus has led to a shortage of oxygen, forcing some hospital patients to share cylinders, while others have apparently died in bed from suffocation.
Biden is inaugurated as 46th US president, replacing Donald Trump.
President Biden has begun to undo some of Donald Trump’s key policies, including ending the travel ban on some majority-Muslim countries and other African nations. Mr Biden said the actions of Mr Trump’s administration had undermined national security: ‘They have jeopardised our global network of alliances and partnerships and are a moral blight that has dulled the power of our example the world over. And they have separated love ones, inflicting pain that will ripple for years to come. They are just plain wrong.’
Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX company deliver a record-breaking 143 satellites to orbit on a single rocket flight.
A collection of bright pink seesaws allowing children to play together from both sides of the US-Mexico border has won the prestigious Design of the Year award, with its creators saying they hoped the work encourages people to build bridges between communities.
This week curfews are imposed across the globe as countries attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Uganda cuts off internet access during its presidential election, and Trump becomes the only president in US history to be impeached twice.
France tightens its evening curfew to help combat the virus. The curfew means everyone must be home by 18:00 unless they are returning from school or work.
Former Italian PM Matteo Renzi has triggered a political crisis in the middle of the pandemic, by pulling his ministers out of the government in a row over how to spend billions of euros of EU Covid recovery funding, effectively leaving the ruling coalition without a majority in parliament. The current Prime Minister Giusseppe Conte now has to find a way to prop up his coalition.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government stepped down on Friday after it emerged that officials had wrongly pursued thousands of people over welfare fraud. The government will continue to lead the country’s coronavirus response team in a caretaker capacity.
A global health insurance card is to replace EHIC. UK residents can apply for the new card to access emergency medical care when their EHIC card runs out.
More than 100 people have been killed in renewed ethnic attacks in the restive area of Metekel in Ethiopia’s western Benishangul-Gumuz region. The instability poses a threat to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which has been built on the Blue Nile in Benishangul-Gumuz - and is the subject of tense negotiations over how it will affect Sudan and Egypt, countries which also use the Nile waters.
Fifteen women and six children kidnapped by Islamist militants in the gas-rich northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado have been rescued by the army. Most of them had been abducted from the island of Matemo last week, according to police chief Bernadino Rafael. The militants, known locals as al-Shabab, or the youth, have launched a series of attacks on villages and towns in the are over the past three years.
On the eve of the presidential election, authorities in Uganda cut off internet access in the country. This ban came a day after the government ordered a block on all social media and messaging apps. President Yoweri Museveni said this was because Facebook had banned several accounts which backed his ruling party.
Museveni has been declared the winner of the presidential election, despite his main rival Bobi Wine alleging vote-rigging. The election commission has failed to answer how voting results were transmitted during the internet blackout, saying merely ‘we designed our own system’.
An all-day curfew has been imposed, forbidding people from leaving their homes and forcing them to rely on food deliveries.
Asia and Oceania
A former Australian soldier allegedly stormed an animal shelter in full tactical gear and pointed an assault rifle at an animal ranger because he was looking for his lost cat, a Melbourne court has heard. Mr Wittman, 44, faces charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment, armed robbery and firearm offences.
A Huawei patent has been brought to light for a system that identifies people who appear to the of Uighur origin. The company denies selling technology that can identify the ethnic group and plans to reword the patent.
India’s Supreme Court indefinitely puts on hold three controversial farm laws. Farmers have been camped outside capital Delhi demanding the repeal of the laws.
The country begins the world’s biggest Covid vaccine drive. Health and frontline workers are the first in line for jabs at vaccination centres.
An earthquake shook the island of Sulawesi on Friday, injuring hundreds and destroying a hospital. The death toll has now risen to 73.
Japan is hit by severe snow storms, killing at least eight and bringing some regions to a standstill.
Data from Brazil shows Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine to be only 50.4% effective. The UK has banned arrival from South America over concerns about a new variant.
Officials say 170 individuals are being investigated for their involvement in the deadly Capitol riots, and 70 have been charged.
Trump has been impeached for the second time for ‘inciting’ the US Capitol riot. Ten Republicans joined 222 Democrats in voting for his impeachment.
The only woman on federal death row is executed. Lisa Montgomery, who killed a pregnant woman and took her baby, died by lethal injection in Indiana.
This week sales of electric cars overtake petrol and diesel in Norway, Pakistan outlaws the use of virginity testing in rape examinations, and Trump supporters storm the US Capitol in a bid to overthrow November's presidential election result.
Europe tightens restrictions as new variant spreads. The World Health Organisation has warned that the rapid spread of the so-called UK Covid variant is ‘alarming’. EU Commission chief Ursula von Der Leyen says the EU has agreed to buy an extra 300 minion doses of the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine, doubling the amount of that vaccine available to EU citizens. The EU has also approved the Moderna vaccine.
Norway has become the first country in the world to see the sale of electric cars overtake sales of those powered by petrol.
Storm Filomena has blanketed parts of Spain in heavy snow causing rivers in the south to burst their banks. Four deaths have been reported as a result of the storm.
Boko Haram militants have killed 14 people in an overnight attack in the town of Mozogo, in Cameroon’s Far North region. The jihadist group has in recent days staged several attacks in the same region despite the government’s claims of success against them.
Central African Republic:
The President of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, has been re-elected after securing nearly 54% of the votes. Opposition candidates have said the election was riddled with massive irregularities. The vote took place despite an often five by a coalition of armed rebel groups which left thousands unable to cast their ballots.
Democratic Republic of Congo:
More than 20 people have been killed by a rebel group in the east of the country. The civilians, 10 of them women, were ‘savagely’ attacked by militiamen from the Allied Democratic Forces in the mountainous Ruwenzori region.
Ethiopian troops have killed top officials of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in an operation, according to an announcement late Thursday. In a statement, the head of defence force deployment department, Gen Tesfaye Aylew, said nine other TPLF leaders were arrested.
Almost 500 doctors and nurses say they’ve been sacked after going on strike over poor conditions and lack of protective equipment.
Morgues ‘run out of space for Covid-19 victims’. The head of the National Funeral Practitioners Association has said this was ‘something they had never seen before’ and they were working under high pressure to cope with the high number of burials due to the pandemic.
Saudia Arabia and allies restore ties with Qatar: the nations agreed to ‘set our differences aside’ at a Gulf summit, the Saudi foreign minister says. UAE are to restore Qatar trade links ‘within a week’.
Asia and Oceania
A court in China has jailed 17 people for smuggling more than £20m worth of pangolin scales. The gang had been trafficking skin from pangolins from Nigeria to China, disguising the animals’ scales as slices of dried ginger. Some studies suggest that the coronavirus might have jumped from pangolins to humans.
More than 50 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have been arrested in the biggest crackdown since China imposed a new law.
Boeing 737 plane crashes in Indonesia. The passenger plane carrying 62 people is suspected to have plunged into the sea minutes after take-off. The black boxes have been located, and signals have been detected which officials think show the location of the Boeing 737’s flight recorders.
Pakistan court outlaws ‘virginity tests’, ruling that that ‘two-finger’ tests in rape cases are ‘humiliating’ and unscientific.
Flash floods have killed at least four people in the Bolivian city of Sucre. Following a heavy hailstorm which lasted about half an hour, some of the city’s steep streets became fast-flowing rivers, dragging along cars, buses and market stalls.
The New York Stock Exchange reverses its decision to delist Chinese telecoms following ‘further consultation’ with regulators.
As lawmakers met to confirm Joe Biden’s victory, violent Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, breaking through barricades and entering the building. The protesters were seen walking through the building, waving flags and clashing with security. At a rally before the riot began Trump falsely told supporters that the election had been rigged, referring to the counting of ballots as ‘explosions of bullshit’. The events have sparked dismay and criticism of America’s politics and leader, as leaders from around the world call for a peaceful transfer of power in Washington. Joe Biden says the difference in how Capitol rioters and Black Lives Matters protestors were treated is ‘unacceptable’.
The US democrats plan to introduce an article of impeachment against President Trump for his role in the invasion of the US Capitol. They accuse Trump of encouraging a riot in Congress in which five people died.
Twitter permanently suspends Trump’s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”.
Congress confirms Joe Biden’s victory, hours after violent protesters stormed the Capitol building.
This week the UK officially completes its separation from the EU, a strong earthquake causes destruction in Croatia, and Argentina legalises abortion in a landmark moment for women's rights.
A strong earthquake hits central Croatia, killing at least seven people and causing significant destruction in Petrinja, a town southeast of the capital Zagreb. 4.8 and 4.7 magnitude aftershocks have caused even further damage.
Ireland moves to highest level of Covid restrictions, with household visits banned, non-essential retail shut, and a travel limit imposed.
Seven bodies have been recovered after a landslide that destroyed homes in Ask village, near Oslo. Three people are said to still be missing.
Spain and the UK agree to keep the Gibraltar land border open. The deal enables Spanish workers to continue entering Gibraltar freely.
The post-brexit trade deal is signed, and the UK completes its separation from the EU. The agreement came into force at 23:00 GMT on 31st December.
Central African Republic:
Opposition parties in the Central African Republic have called for an annulment of the recent election saying it was marred by insecurity and fraud. Ten parties, known as the Democratic Opposition Coalition, say only about a third of all voters were able to take part.
Ghana’s main opposition candidate in the 7 December election has filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking to annul President Nana Akufo Addo’s re-election. Former president John Mahama has said he lost unfairly to Mr Addo citing electoral irregularities and arguing that both of them did not attain a clear majority. According to the electoral commission Mr Addo garnered 51.59% of the votes while Mr Mahama got 47.37%. The opposition party NDC want the Supreme Court judges to order a re-run of the presidential election.
At least 100 killed in attacks on villages in Niger. The government said suspected jihadists ambushed two villages near Niger’s border with Mali.
South Africa passes one million Covid cases. The rise in cases comes after a new variant of coronavirus is identified in the country. The country has banned indoor and outdoor gatherings and imposed a night curfew until 15 January.
Iran is to pay compensation for victims of the shot-down Ukraine jet. Tehran will give $150,000 to the families of the 176 people killed.
Iran is to boost uranium enrichment to 20%, IAEA says: the move would be Tehran’s most serious breach of an international nuclear deal yet.
A Saudi woman activist is jailed despite international criticism from rights groups and governments. Loujain al-Hathloul was prominent in the campaign to win the right for Saudi women to drive.
At least 22 people have reportedly been killed by an explosion at Aden airport near a plane carrying cabinet ministers.
Asia and Oceania
Covid citizen journalist Zhang Zhan has been sentenced for four years in jail for her reports in Wuhan city.
China approves first general-use Covid vaccine. The Sinopharm vaccine is the first in China to be approved beyond emergency use.
India approves two coronavirus vaccines. It aims to inoculate 300m people this year in one of the world’s largest vaccination campaigns.
Pakistan coal miners killed in IS attack. The miners, who were members of a minority Shia community, were kidnapped by militants and killed.
Argentina legalises abortion: the law allows abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy in the highly Catholic nation.
Trump signs Covid relief and spending package into law after lengthy delay. The measure restores unemployment benefits and averts a partial US government shutdown.
Boeing 737 Max passenger flights return to the skies in US. The plane was grounded in March 2019 after two separate deadly crashes within five months.
The New York Stock Exchange will delist the three Chinese companies based on claimed military links.