Africa receives more vaccines - Johnson & Johnson is planning to provide 400 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to African countries. The vaccines are expected to be delivered this summer. In early March, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. It’s 85 percent effective at preventing COVID-19.
One thousand migrants seized in Libya - Authorities in Libya located 1,000 migrants and returned them to shore. The International Organization for Migration said men, women and children were attempting to flee the country and ended up being detained in “appalling conditions.” Many migrants have drowned trying to reach Europe or have faced abuse.
H&M refusing to purchase cotton from Xinjiang - Clothing brand H&M is refusing to purchase cotton from the Xinjiang region in China due to alleged use of forced labor in cotton production. The Chinese government told the company it will not generate an income in China if it refuses to buy cotton from the area. China is accused of forcing members of the Muslim Uyghur minority to pick cotton. The country has denied the allegations.
Fire at Indonesia oil refinery - A fire broke out at one of the largest oil refineries in Indonesia. Around 950 people were evacuated to safety and five others were injured and there are reports of people missing. It is unknown how the fire started and questions about how the fire will impact plastics, chemical businesses and factories have been raised.
Ireland asks UK for vaccines - While UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Northern Ireland in March, Stormont’s First Minister Arlene Foster asked for COVID-19 vaccines to be sent to the country. The UK said there is currently no surplus of vaccine although reports say the country is prepared to offer 3.7 million vaccines to Ireland. To date 760,168 vaccines have been administered in Ireland.
Barcelona holds huge concert - After all attendees received negative COVID tests, nearly 5,000 people gathered in Barcelona to watch the band Love of Lesbian perform. Attendees took a COVID test earlier in the day of the concert and were required to wear masks. Social distancing was not enforced. The concert marked one of the largest gatherings in Europe since the pandemic began more than a year ago.
Baby tortoises seized - Nearly 185 baby tortoises inside a suitcase were seized in Ecuador. The tortoises were wrapped in plastic and were discovered during a routine inspection at an airport. Ten of the tortoises died. The suitcase was at the airport with a transport firm. No arrests have been made, but employees of the transport firm were held for questioning.
Facebook freezes Venezuelan President’s account - Facebook froze Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro’s page as he claimed a herbal remedy can cure COVID-19. Maduro’s claim was made without evidence. In January, he said a thyme herb solution could cure the virus. Facebook said Maduro has violated its policies on coronavirus misinformation numerous times.
Police bodycam show officer handcuffing five-year-old - In Maryland, police released a video filmed in January of 2020 of officers handcuffing and screaming at a five-year-old boy. The child had walked away from his school, and the video shows officers telling the boy’s mother that she should beat him. The officers are still employed and were internally investigated. Findings from the investigation have not been released.
George Floyd’s family demands justice - Ahead of the trial of Derek Chauvin, a police officer who was seen on video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck before he died, Floyd’s family held a vigil and prayer service. Chauvin is facing four charges, including second-degree murder. Floyd was Black, and his death sparked protests in the United States against police brutality and racism.