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Accessed on 22 March 2021, 1123 UTC, Post 1095.


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Russ Roberts

BBC News World

Latest Updates

  1. Latest on pandemic in Europe

    An impromptu carnival in Marseille, 21 Mar 21
    Image caption: An impromptu carnival in Marseille defied Covid rules
    • Germany is poised to tighten Covid restrictions again, at Berlin talks which Germans had been hoping would ease them. The impact of the third wave varies regionally, but nationally the infection rate has risen above 100 per 100,000 inhabitants. More than 3,000 Covid patients are in intensive care - similar to the peak last year. So the federal government plans to extend restrictions to 18 April. Many schools reopened in late February, but they may have to shut again
    • Fine weather brought some crowds on to the streets again in France, despite new lockdown rules in and around Paris, and much of the north and south. In Marseille, about 6,500 people held an unauthorised carnival on Sunday - an improvised protest against Covid restrictions. The young crowd ignored social distancing and mask-wearing rules
    • Amid much frustration at the slow pace of vaccinations in the EU, a new opinion poll suggests widespread distrust of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. In France more than 60% of respondents in a YouGov survey considered the vaccine unsafe, as did more than half of those questioned in Germany. But in the UK most considered it safe. The EU’s medicines regulator insists the vaccine is safe, and most EU countries are using it. The poll surveyed 8,805 people from 12 to 18 March
    • In Poland Covid cases have risen 27% compared with a week ago, and most are attributed to the highly contagious British variant. A partial three-week lockdown has been imposed, keeping schools, shops, restaurants and many other facilities closed.
  2. In pictures: Magufuli's state funeral

    Thousands gathered in Tanzania's capital, Dodoma, to pay their last respects to former President John Magufuli.

    He died on Wednesday of what the authorities said was heart-related complications.

    Tanzanian MPs signing the book for the late President John Magufuli before the farewell ceremony begins here in Dodoma.
    People line up before state funeral in Dodoma

    Ministers and lawmakers were among the those who came to mourn the ex-president.

    Ministers and MPs mourn former President Magufuli in Dodoma
    Ministers and MPs mourn former President Magufuli in Dodoma
    Mourning Magufuli in Dodoma

    An unspecified number of people were injured in a stampede at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) on Sunday evening as the body was about to be flown to Dodoma.

    Tanzanians force their way into the airport to bid their farewell to former President Magufuli.
  3. World powers push Somalia to end poll deadlock

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    An armoured personnel carrier (APC) is seen on a sealed off street during fighting between Somali government forces and opposition troops over delayed elections in Mogadishu
    Image caption: The elections have been delayed because of regional squabbles

    The UN, the US, Canada, the African Union and several European nations have called on Somalia’s political leaders to “show leadership” by reaching an agreement on elections that were delayed due to squabbling over the voting process.

    In a joint statement, world powers warned that they “will not support a partial or parallel electoral process or any initiatives leading to extension of prior mandates”.

    They urged Somali leaders to reach a deal on “peaceful, inclusive, free, fair and credible elections” at the earliest possible time.

    Their call came ahead of talks between the federal government and Somalia’s semi-autonomous regions at Mogadishu airport.

    Somalia’s main foreign backers said the talks planned for Monday should build on a 17 September 2020 electoral framework under which clan elders would select delegates to electoral colleges, which in turn choose federal lawmakers who then pick a president.

    The first term of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as "Farmajo", ended on 8 February without the election of a successor - throwing the country into a crisis.

    The elections have been delayed because of regional squabbles over how power is distributed - and a row over a new election commission.

  4. Tanzania holds state funeral for Magufuli

    Athuman Mtulya

    BBC News, Dar es Salam

    Mourners at Magufuli's state funeral

    A state funeral is being held in Tanzania's capital, Dodoma, for former President John Pombe Magufuli.

    Several African heads of state have arrived for the event including the presidents of Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Comoros, Mozambique, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Mr Magufuli died last Wednesday from what authorities said were heart related complications.

    Monday is a public holiday today in Tanzania, as the country enters a third day of bidding farewell to the late Magufuli.

    In Dodoma, people have already gathered in large numbers, but the prime minister has announced that there will be no queues for viewing the body on Monday, but instead the coffin will be driven around the stadium for people to catch a final glimpse of the former president.

    Over the weekend, tens of thousands of residents in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, flooded roads as the coffin was driven around.

    Many more flocked to the main stadium where his body was laid for public viewing.

    The authorities confirmed on Monday that there was a stampede and an unspecified number of people were injured.

    Mourners at Magufuli's state funeral
  5. Rwanda confirms UK and South Africa Covid variants

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    A female refugee from Libya receives her first dose of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at Gashora Emergency Transit Center in Kigali, Rwanda on March 10, 2021.
    Image caption: More than 334,000 people in Rwanda have received the first dose of Covid vaccine

    Rwanda has confirmed the presence of new variants of Covid-19 virus first identified in the UK and South Africa.

    Health Minister Daniel Ngamije told the state broadcaster that 10 cases of the South African variant (B.1.351) and two of the UK variant (B.1.1.7) were identified last week.

    The variants were found in 400 samples "that they were able to sequence between October 2020 and February 2021," the minister said.

    Dr Ngamije said the variants were identified among travellers who arrived at the country's Kigali International Airport. They were put in isolation until they tested negative.

    In January, the UK added Rwanda on its travel ban list for fear of the South African variant.

    Meanwhile 97% of the more than 340,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines that Rwanda received through the Covax facility have been administered, the minister said.

    Rwanda has reported nearly 21,000 cases of coronavirus and 290 deaths.

  6. Mauritius rolls out Covaxin vaccine amid concerns

    Yasine Mohabuth

    Port Louis, Mauritius

    Commercial supply of 200,000 doses of 'Made in India' vaccines was handed over to Mauritius.
    Image caption: Mauritius has received 200,000 doses of Indian-made Covaxin vaccines

    Mauritius has started using the Indian-made Covaxin vaccine after running out of its 100,000 doses of Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine.

    The Covaxin vaccine, produced by India's Bharat Biotech company, has not been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    But a Mauritian top official defended its use saying India had formally approved its emergency use.

    "It is a safe vaccine. Covaxin has demonstrated 81% interim efficacy in preventing Covid-19," said Dr Zouberr Joomaye, a senior adviser to the Mauritius prime minister.

    Opposition Labour MP Shakeel Mohamed raised concerns about the government's vaccination campaign.

    “Why AstraZeneca for the prime minister and Covaxin for others?” he asked.

    More on this topic:

  7. Suspected militants kill at least 40 in Niger

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    A map of Niger

    At least 40 people died in suspected militant attacks in Niger's western Tahoua region on Sunday, hours after the constitutional court validated the election of Mohamed Bazoum as president.

    Outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou termed the incident "barbaric" as he sent condolences to the affected communities in Tillia.

    "Everything is being done to ensure that these crimes do not go unpunished," he said in a post on his official Twitter account.

    The attackers are said to have targeted the villages of Intazayene, Bakorate, the well at Wirstane and camps near Akifakif, all located near the Malian border, according to news website Actu Niger.

    It adds that militants linked to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) operate in the area.

    Actu Niger reports that clashes broke out between Niger soldiers and the attackers in one of the targeted villages after military reinforcements were dispatched to the area.

    Incoming President Mohamed Bazoum is under pressure to address rising civilian killings in the volatile western Tahoua and Tillaberi regions, and the south-eastern Diffa Region in attacks perpetrated by militants from the Islamic State, al-Qaeda's Sahel group and Nigeria's Boko Haram group.

    The incident in Tahoua comes barely a week after nearly 60 civilians were killed in Tillaberi's Banibangou locality near the border with Mali.

    In the run up to the second round of the presidential election on 21 February, more than 100 civilians were killed in an unclaimed attack in two villages in Tillaberi. On election day, seven polling agents were killed in an IED attack in the same region.

  8. African presidents arrive for Magufuli's funeral

    Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart FĂ©lix Tshisekedi have arrived in Tanzania for the state funeral of former President John Magufuli who died last week.

    The two are among 10 African heads of state expected to arrive in the country, including the leaders of Kenya, Zambia, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa.

    Mr Magufuli's body has been moved to the capital, Dodoma, for the public to pay their last respects.

    Thousands of Tanzanians arrived in Dodoma overnight on Monday to receive the body.

    Government spokesman Hassan Abbas on Monday morning posted pictures of thousands of mourners who had gathered at Jamhuri Stadium.

    Former President Magufuli died on Wednesday aged 61. He will be buried on Friday, 26 March.

  9. Mauritania and Qatar resume diplomatic ties

    Mauritania has resumed diplomatic relations with Qatar after a four-year freeze.

    Foreign ministers from both countries held talks in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday, on the resumption of ties.

    "After intensive contacts over the past week and with much appreciated support from the Sultanate of Oman, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and Qatar decided to resume diplomatic ties," the Mauritanian state news agency quoted a statement from the foreign affairs ministry as saying.

    “They [the two ministers] reviewed bilateral cooperation relations and the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two brotherly countries”, the Qatar News Agency tweeted.

    The West African country cut links with Qatar in 2017, over allegations that it supported terrorists, following the lead of other Arab powers, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates that had done the same.

  10. Niger top court confirms Bazoum as new president

    Niger's opposition supporters chant slogans in the streets of Niamey
    Image caption: Opposition supporters last month protested against Mr Bazoum's election win

    Niger's constitutional court has confirmed Mohamed Bazoum of the ruling PNDS party as winner of a presidential run-off held last month.

    Mr Bazoum won with 55.66% of the votes while his challenger Mahamane Ousmane of the RDR-Tchanji party received 45.34% of the votes, according to the final results published on Sunday.

    The turnout was 62.81%.

    The opposition coalition, Cap 2021, and its allies had contested the results, alleging fraud. It claimed victory with 50.3% of the vote.

    On Saturday the authorities banned a planned march by the opposition in the capital, Niamey, because it was seen as a "risk to public order" and "for reasons of health emergency" related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    This is Niger's first transition from one democratically elected leader to another, with President Mahamadou Issoufou stepping down after two five-year terms.

    The new president is a former interior minister and close ally of Mr Issoufou.

    Niger, which is the world's poorest country, is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency.

  11. Video content

    Video caption: Australia floods: Cows rescued from swollen rivers and beaches

    Exhausted animals have been pulled from swollen rivers, beaches and flooded suburbs.


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