Kenya reopens schools - For the first time in nine months, Kenya has reopened its schools after they were closed due to COVID-19. Students had their temperatures taken and were required to sanitize before entering classrooms. Kenya’s government has yet to provide financial aid to schools for items like thermometers and other equipment needed to follow health protocols.
South Africa may receive vaccines next month - Depending on negotiations with pharmaceutical companies, South Africa may be the owner of COVID-19 vaccines next month. The country’s goal is to vaccinate at least 67 percent of its population by the end of the year. South Africa’s health minister said the country’s government has secured enough doses to vaccinate 10 percent of its population.
More deaths than births in South Korea - South Korea has the world’s lowest birth rate as 275,800 babies were born last year. Meanwhile, around 307,764 people died in the country in 2020. The country’s population declining could lead to labor shortages that would impact its economy. In December, South Korea launched new policies to tackle its low birth rate. Among those new policies include cash incentives for every child born.
India approves new COVID-19 vaccine - India approved a COVID-19 vaccine over the weekend, known as Covaxin. The vaccine is being manufactured in India and was called a game changer by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. All India Drug Action Network, a health watchdog, said it was shocked by the vaccine approval. Covaxin was approved without going through key clinical trials.
Norway landslide kills at least seven - In Norway recovery efforts for missing people are underway after a large landslide destroyed homes and lives. So far, seven bodies have been recovered, but others remain missing. Among the victims who have been identified include a 40-year-old man and his two-year-old daughter. Norway’s royal family visited the area where the landslide took place on Sunday.
Women taking train driver jobs in Russia - Last year, Russia lifted laws that banned women from certain jobs that the country considered too physically demanding or dangerous for women. However, with the laws being lifted, women are rejoining certain workplaces, including Moscow’s transport department. On Jan. 1, 12 women joined the transportation department with another 13 women expected to join after completing training.
Argentina legalizes abortion - Argentina’s Congress voted in favor of a bill that will legalize abortions up to the 14th week of a pregnancy. The country has some of the strictest abortion laws, and until recently, abortions were only allowed in certain cases like rape or when the mother’s health was at risk. Crowds gathered in Buenos Aires to celebrate the bill passing.
Activist killed in Honduras - Felix Vasquez, an environmental activist who fought for rural workers’ rights, was shot and killed by masked gunmen. Vasquez is part of the Lenca indigenous community and had recently said he would run in next year’s parliamentary election. The motive for his attack is unknown, and police have yet to make an arrest.
Trump’s phone call with Georgia official leaks - Reports over the weekend noted that U.S. President Donald Trump spent at least an hour on the phone with election officials in Georgia trying to overturn results from the 2020 presidential election. Trump urged state officials to “find” votes that could overturn his loss in the state. Numerous election and criminal defense lawyers said Trump either broke the law or came close to it by trying to sway election results.
Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell’s homes targeted - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both had their homes vandalized. Fake blood and a pig’s head were left outside of Pelosi’s home in California while McConnell’s Kentucky home was vandalized with graffiti. McConnell commented on the incident saying vandalism has no place in our society while Pelosi has yet to speak on the incident.