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Myanmar protesters threatened with 20 years in jail.

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

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Accessed on 15 February 2021, 1224 UTC, Post 992.


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Russ Roberts

BBC News World

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  1. Egypt's Lost Cities

    Video content

    Video caption: A team heads to Egypt in an attempt to uncover lost cities beneath the sands.

    Archaeological documentary. Having used satellites to discover cities, temples and pyramids beneath the sands, Dr Sarah Parcak heads to Egypt to find out if they are really there.

  2. South Africa's Jacob Zuma no-show at graft inquiry

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Old council chamber in Johannesburg where Jacob Zuma was to appear before the judicial commission
    Image caption: Jacob Zuma was to appear before the commission for five days

    South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma on Monday defied summons to appear before a commission investigating corruption during his presidency.

    Mr Zuma was scheduled to appear before the commission from 15 to 19 February.

    In a statement, his lawyers said the summons were irregular and that Mr Zuma's application for the head of the commission, Justice Raymond Zondo, to recuse himself was yet to be determined.

    A constitutional court last month issued an order compelling Mr Zuma to appear before the commission.

    The commission, known as the Zondo commission, was established in 2018 to investigate the "state capture" scandal during Mr Zuma's tenure as president.

    The scandal revolves around allegations that the wealthy Gupta family, who are close friends of the former president, used their relationship to unfairly secure millions of dollars' worth of government contracts.

    It is also alleged that they were able to influence political decisions, including the naming of ministers.

    The former president and the Gupta family deny any wrongdoing.

    Mr Zuma has previously said that the commission was biased against him.

    Justice Zondo will need to decide what legal options to follow. The commission has the power to issue a fine or even sentence someone to six months imprisonment for defying summons.

  3. The latest developments in Europe

    Cima Fertazza, 9 Jan 21
    Image caption: A closed piste at Cima Fertazza, Italy
    • Italian ski resorts were preparing to reopen after months of lockdown, but at the weekend the health ministry decided to keep them shut until 5 March. Many businesses in the resorts are in dire straits, having lost the influx of winter tourists. The far-right League - now in the new coalition government - sharply criticised the U-turn
    • Germany has reimposed police checks on its borders with the Czech Republic and Austria's Tyrol region. A new Covid surge has hit Tyrol’s ski resorts hard. Meanwhile, long traffic queues have built up at the Czech-German border, including many lorries with goods vital to the German economy. Germany is in lockdown until 7 March and entry is being limited to lorry drivers, medics and those with residence permits
    • In Sweden there has been a sharp rise in cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) at the Astrid Lindgren hospital in Stockholm. In January it recorded 25 children with the potentially life-threatening condition. The numbers in previous months were below 10. MIS-C has been linked to Covid, but that link is not very clear, as Swedish children are not generally tested for Covid
    • The EU has approved vaccine exports to 21 non-EU countries this month, including the US, UK and China - despite continuing vaccine shortages in the EU, German broadcaster ARD reports. The vaccine delays have caused anger in much of Europe, where far fewer people have had the jab than in the UK and US.
    Lorries at the Czech-German border, 14 Feb 21
    Image caption: Queues of lorries at the Czech-German border
  4. Liberia on high alert over Ebola at Guinea border

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC News, Monrovia

    Health workers during the Ebola outbreak
    Image caption: Liberia was among countries that were worst affected by the Ebola outbreak

    Liberia’s President George Weah has ordered health authorities to heighten surveillance in the wake of an Ebola resurgence in neighbouring Guinea.

    Three people have died in Guinea and four others reportedly have symptoms. The Guinean region affected by the latest outbreak is near the border with Liberia.

    President Weah is currently on a tour of the border region and has asked authorities to be on high alert.

    He has instructed ordered health officials to “immediately engage communities in towns and villages bordering Guinea and increase anti-Ebola measures”.

    The West African Ebola epidemic of 2014-16 affected 28,616 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. About 11,310 people died in what was the largest outbreak of the virus ever recorded - and 4,000 of those deaths were in Liberia alone.

    As of Monday, Liberia has not reported any new cases.

    Mr Weah, who was a senatorial aspirant during the 2014 outbreak, released a song with a Ghanaian singer Sidney to create awareness.

  5. South Africa reopens land border crossings

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC Southern Africa correspondent

    Travellers get their Covid-19 PCR test results checked at the South African side of the Beitbridge border between South Africa and Zimbabwe
    Image caption: The border crossings were closed last month

    South Africa on Monday reopened 20 land border crossings that were closed over a month ago to limit the spread of Covid-19.

    The land border points with Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, eSwatini, Botswana and Lesotho will now have normal travel.

    They were closed following congestion by people who sought to enter the country.

    South Africa has the highest number of infections on the continent, with nearly 1.5 million cases and more than 47,000 deaths.

    The authorities believe a second wave of the pandemic has passed.

    Investigators believe there are syndicates selling fake Covid-19 certificates, after a handful of travellers were caught with them last month.

    The home affairs minister has announced that anyone who presents fake certificates will be denied entry and barred from visiting South Africa for a minimum of five years.

  6. Malawi president fires head of Covid taskforce

    Peter Jegwa

    Lilongwe, Malawi

    Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera
    Image caption: President Lazarus Chakwera has ordered an audit of funds

    Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera has fired the co-chair of a taskforce overseeing government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, amid allegations over misuse of 6 billion Malawi Kwacha ($7.7m; £5.6m).

    The co-chair of the taskforce, John Phuka, and the head of disaster management, James Chiusiwa, were sacked “for showing a lack of toughness in demanding accountability”.

    The pair has not responded to the allegations.

    The president also suspended 12 other members of the team for failing to maintain proper records of how they used public funds.

    The suspensions will pave way for an investigation which will lead to prosecution of culprits, he said.

    A report by the country’s ombudsman released in November said there was was lack of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the country's Covid-19 preparedness and response plan.

    President Chakwera said he will include representatives of civil societies, the anti-corruption bureau and the Malawi Human Rights Commission into the taskforce.

    But the of main opposition party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has faulted the inclusion of the anti-corruption body and rights commission into the team.

  7. Talks to end Somalia elections row in doubt

    Proposed talks on Somalia's delayed election will not take place on Monday, according to local media.

    This is after the two leaders of the semi-autonomous regions of Jubbaland and Puntland disagreed over the proposed venue of the meeting.

    The two leaders of the regions want the talks held in the capital, Mogadishu.

    President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo had proposed that the meeting be held in Garowe town in Puntland.

    Mr Farmajo's term ended on 8 February. Opposition groups have said they no longer recognise his authority and want the formation of a transitional body.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has formed a technical committee made up representatives from the five regional administrations and Banaadir region to resolve the election crisis, Radio Risala reports.

    A parliamentary resolution allows the president to remain in office until a successor is elected.

  8. Why are Somalia’s elections taking so long?

    Alan Kasujja

    BBC Africa Daily

    The flag of Somalia
    Image caption: The president's term ended last week

    Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is out of time.

    His term should have ended on a week ago, but holding elections has proven difficult.

    “The country is going through a political crisis”, says the BBC’s Bella Sheegow in Mogadishu.

    Part of the problem is that politicians can’t quite agree on how the vote should happen.

    The Somali government says it has always been ready to facilitate free and fair elections.

    But the clock is ticking – and some say this political deadlock could come at a heavy price.

    “That’s why the international community is urging the federal government to hold talks”, says Ms Sheegow.

    So, how did we get here? I’ve been looking for answers in today’s episode of the Africa Daily podcast.

    Subscribe to the show on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

  9. Zimbabwe receives first Covid vaccine batch

    Zimbabwe has received its first 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, donated by China.

    The consignment arrived on Monday morning in a Air Zimbabwe flight and was handed over to the government by the Chinese ambassador to the country.

    An additional 600,000 doses ordered by the Zimbabwean government are expected to arrive in March.

    The health ministry tweeted the moment the plane carrying the vaccines landed:

    The BBC's Shingai Nyoka in Harare says that the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths has fallen by more than 90% after six weeks of lockdown, which is due to end on Monday. President Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to address the nation.

    Three cabinet ministers have died from the virus that has infected 35,172 people so far, according to data from the health ministry.

    Zimbabwe neighbours South Africa where a coronavirus variant has caused an increase in cases.

    South Africa halted vaccination with the AstraZeneca jab after a small-scale study suggested it had low efficacy against the variant in the country.

    But the World Health Organization's vaccine experts have said that even countries who have the coronavirus mutation first discovered in South Africa should continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) also recommends it.

  10. Rwanda starts Covid vaccination for health workers

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    A laboratory technician processes samples for testing the Covid-19
    Image caption: More vaccine doses are expected from the Covax initiative and African Union

    Rwanda has started immunising its healthcare workers against Covid-19, the health ministry said on Sunday.

    An official in the ministry told the BBC that immunisation with the Pfizer vaccine started last week in a few hospitals in the capital, Kigali.

    In a tweet, the ministry said the vaccines were acquired “through international partnerships in limited quantities”.

    Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, Morocco and Seychelles are the other African countries that have started vaccination.

    Officials in Rwanda said there will be a wider rollout this month with supplies expected from the Covax initiative and African Union.

    Rwanda has so far confirmed 17,000 coronavirus cases with 239 deaths.


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