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Russia begins COVID-19 vaccinations in Moscow.

Views expressed in this geopolitical news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

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Accessed on 05 December 2020, 1105 UTC, Post 786.

Source:   https://www.bbc.com/news/world

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Russ Roberts

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  1. Covid-19 story wins BBC writing competition

    Maryam Umar
    Image caption: Maryam Umar says as a little girl she would hide to read books

    A story about Covid-19 has won this year's BBC Hausa short story contest for women.

    Rai da Cuta (Life & Sickness) by Maryam Umar, a 20-year-old law student at Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, tells the story of Azima, whose husband returns from a trip exhibiting all the symptoms of Covid-19.

    Although his wife is heavily pregnant, he refuses to isolate himself and remains in denial of the disease. Azima locks him in a room but soon finds out she has already contracted Covid-19. This leads to the loss of her baby and a long battle for her life.

    The first runner-up in this year’s competition is Numfashin Siyasata (My Political Life) by Surayya Zakari Yahaya. This is the story of a young woman who ventures into politics to save the people of her village from underdevelopment. But she is turned down by the people she is keen on helping simply because she is a woman. Her determination to represent her conservative people leads to the death of her parents and she almost loses her own life.

    The story that came third is Farar Kafa, which loosely translates as The One Who Brings Bad Luck by Rufaida Umar Ibrahim. This is the story of Ramatu, who was tagged "the bringer of bad luck" after her husband experiences losses shortly after their marriage. His business crumbles due to poor financial decisions and his small shop burns to the ground. He divorces her because he believes she is the cause of his bad luck. Her second husband dies just a week after their wedding, causing more trouble for Ramatu.

    In its fifth year, the contest was introduced to give female writers a platform to tell and share their stories. Hausa service editor Aliyu Tanko said: “I’m thrilled that this year’s awards were won by very young writers which shows how our primary targets have embraced this competition.”

    Head judge Bilkisu Salisu Ahmed Funtua said: “To me all the writers are winners. We see a sharp change in the themes and writing styles from what is typically seen in Hausa women’s writing. But Maryam Umar’s Rai da Cuta is outstanding. This writer was able to incorporate wit and humour in what could have easily been the saddest story.”

    “I’ve always loved books," said Maryam Umar. "As a little girl I would hide to read books. Growing up, I would assemble my friends and tell them about a book I read, but in actuality it’s a story that I made up in my head. Then I found the internet - the easiest way to deliver my message. That’s how I began writing.”

    Head of BBC West Africa Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye said: “We are pleased to be supporting this competition. It is so important to provide female Hausa writers with this platform to tell their stories. This year’s winner highlights a story that everyone can relate to in these unprecedented times.”

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Fighting air pollution: 'Without solidarity the world will be doomed'

    Nineteen-year-old Abhiir Bhalla has campaigned against air pollution in Delhi most of his life.

  3. Video content

    Video caption: Beirut explosion: The abandoned ship in the blast 'war zone'

    This is what happened to Lebanon's only cruise ship, which was docked in the explosion's epicentre.

  4. Doctor who treated civilian casualties in Ethiopia's Tigray province

    Video content

    Video caption: Dr Tewedros Tefera on how his town of Humera was attacked by Ethiopian government forces

    Dr Tewedros Tefera on how his town of Humera was attacked by Ethiopian government forces

  5. 'Ancient Greek fable reflects modern South Sudan'

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    Prof Taban Lo Liyong

    Prominent writer and scholar Prof Taban Lo Liyong's latest publication finds parallels between ancient Greece and his home of South Sudan.

    After Troy is a book-length poem about two classical Greek texts, Homer’s Odyssey and Aeschylus’s Oresteia. Professor Lo Liyong says Homer's story of the fall of Troy and the long quest to get home is a story that always resonated with him.

    The new book focuses on the homecoming from the Trojan war of two hero-kings, Odysseus and Agamemnon.

    The philosophical enquiry into retribution and justice is connected to South Sudan in some ways. The author says the ancient Greek story that pre-dates the written word is a fable that "reflects a modern South Sudan". He added:

    Quote Message: After Troy is because South Sudan had two wars, the Greeks had one and ours still dragging its feet on. But at least the Greeks brought theirs to an end after 20 years. Ours is also going to come to an end, but we hope that it comes to an end quickly."

    Although he has written and published over 30 books, After Troy is the first book Prof Lo Liyong has launched in his country. It is printed and distributed both in South Africa and in South Sudan.

    The 84-year-old says there are still some books that he hopes to finish revising and to publish. Some of the books are in the Acholi language and his mother tongue of Kuku.

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