South Africa stops a COVID vaccine rollout - The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is being put on hold in South Africa after a study found that it is not effective against the countryĺs new COVID variant. Around 90 percent of new COVID cases in South Africa stem from the new variant. The country has recorded nearly 1.5 million coronavirus cases.
Flood kills at least 24 people in Morocco - At least 24 people were killed in a flood in an underground textile factory in Morocco. The factory was located in a private house and was an illegal operation. The area has been dealing with heavy rain recently and blocked drains often contribute to flooding in the country. Authorities managed to rescue ten people.
Over 150 people missing in India Authorities are rushing to find 150+ - people after a large flood hit northern India and killed at least 26 people. The flood is believed to have been triggered by a piece of a glacier that fell into a river. Most of the people who are missing are workers from hydropower plants. Authorities have not made contact with the workers yet.
Protesters hit the streets in Myanmar after a coup - After a recent coup by armed forces, thousands of people in Myanmar took to the streets in major cities. The countryĺs military is back in charge after seizing control on Feb. 1 after an election that resulted in the National League for Democracy party win in a landslide. The military had backed the opposing party who claimed voter fraud. Power was handed over to Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief.
Pope appoints woman to the Synod of Bishops - Sister Nathalie Becquart, a French native, was appointed undersecretary to the Synod of Bishops. She is the first woman to hold the position and will work on controversial issues in the Catholic Church. Less than a month ago, Pope Francis formally changed law in the church that allows women to give out communion and serve at the altar.
Dutch suspend foreign adoptions - The Netherlands has suspended all adoptions from abroad after an investigation found abuses. The investigation centered on children adopted from Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and other countries from 1967 to 1998. It found that Dutch government officials were aware of wrongdoing and were involved with some of the abuses.
Cuba to allow private businesses - In a major reform for its economy, Cuba announced it will allow private businesses to operate in most sectors. The countryĺs economy has struggled throughout the pandemic and has been impacted by sanctions introduced by the Trump administration. In 2020, Cubaĺs economy shrank by 11 percent. The country has also faced shortages of basic goods.
Ecuador election goes to run-off - Ecuadorĺs presidential election is heading toward a run-off on April 11. Andres Arauz, a left leaning politician, won the first round of the countryĺs election as approximately 32 percent of the vote was counted. However, thatĺs not enough for a victory. It is unknown who Arauz will face. Yaku Perez, an indigenous leader, or conservative banker Guillermo Lasso will face Arauz in April.
UK variant spreading quickly in U.S. - According to a study posted by MedRxiv, the coronavirus variant that has swept through the UK is rapidly moving through the United States. The variant is more contagious, and the CDC predicted it would be the dominant strain in the country by March. The country recently passed a winter virus surge peak.
First woman to officiate Super Bowl - On Sunday, Sarah Thomas became the first woman referee to officiate a Super Bowl. In 2015, she became the first woman to referee full-time in the NFL. Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar also became the first women to coach and win in a Super Bowl. Both women hold assistant coaching roles for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the winner of the Super Bowl.