Niger president wins African leadership prize - Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou was awarded the Ibrahim Prize for African leadership. He has served as President since 2011 and was recognized for his leadership after inheriting one of the world’s worst economies. Issoufou is the sixth person to win the Ibrahim Prize and said the award honors all Nigerien people.
Explosions at military base kill 31 people - Blasts at a military base in Equatorial Guinea killed at least 31 people and injured 600 others. Badly stored dynamite and stubble burning near the base are believed to have caused the blasts. The death toll could rise as victims from the blast may still be trapped at the base. Volunteers are searching through wrecked buildings and homes for victims.
Dalai Lama receives vaccine - The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, received his first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at the Indian city of Dharamsala. Officials say the Dalai Lama enrolled himself to be vaccinated. At the beginning of the month, India expanded its vaccine efforts and started vaccinating people aged over 60 and people between the age of 45 and 59 who have underlying illnesses.
China denies genocide claims - China Foreign Minister Wang Yi called allegations that the country is carrying out genocide against Uighurs “ridiculously absurd.” Countries like the United States have used the word genocide when describing China’s treatment of Uighur people. The Uighur are Muslim, and there is evidence of abuse at “re-education camps” for Uighurs in China.
Switzerland bans face coverings - Switzerland voted in favor of banning face coverings in public like the burka or niqab worn by Muslim women. The law was pushed by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party. The Central Council of Muslims, a Swiss Islamic group, called the vote a “dark day” for Muslims. Five percent of Switzerland’s population are Muslim.
European Banking Authority hacked - In a global Microsoft Exchange cyber-attack, email servers were compromised, including the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) server. Personal data may have been accessed, and the EBA said it is working to identify what data, if any, was accessed. It is believed that a Chinese state-sponsored attacker was behind the hack. China has denied involvement.
Brazil’s President says to stop whining about COVID - As Brazil saw a record rise in deaths over a 24-hour period, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro told Brazilians to “stop whining” about COVID-19. Bolsonaro has criticized measures aimed at slowing the virus. Brazil has the second-highest pandemic death toll in the world, trailing the United States. Some cities and states in Brazil have implemented their own measures aimed at slowing the virus.
Reggae legend passes - Bunny Wailer, who founded The Wailers alongside Bob Marley, passed away at the age of 73. Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness called Wailer’s death “a great loss for Jamaica and for reggae.” Musicians, fans and others have described Wailer as a legend. It is unknown what he died from, but he has been in the hospital since July of last year.
Jobs on the rise in the United States - In February, 379,000 jobs were added in the United States as vaccines continue to be administered. The increase in jobs was larger than expected. The country’s unemployment rate is at 6.2 percent as millions have been out of work because of the pandemic. Last month, nearly 10 million people were unemployed. The government said it expects more people to find jobs in the coming months.
Jury selection delayed in George Floyd case - As former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin awaits his trial, a U.S. judge has delayed jury selection for the case. Chauvin was seen on video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck in last May. Floyd was Black and unarmed. Chauvin is facing murder charges and manslaughter and facing up to 40 years in prison.