The United States is set to start mass vaccination today. The vaccine, developed by Pfizer, will first go to hospital staff and other health care professionals. According to data from John Hopkins University, the US has reported more than 16 million cases of covid-19, by far the most of any country in the world. Cases of the virus have been rising across much of the US, causing record death totals in recent days. The US also leads the world in deaths related to the coronavirus at more than 297,600.
Hunt for missing Nigerian students
Police are still looking for children who were kidnapped after armed bandits attacked a secondary school in Nigeria’s northwestern Katsina state late on Friday. Hundreds of students are missing, reports Reuters. The gunmen stormed the Government Science secondary school in Kankara district at about 9.40 p.m., and police at the scene returned fire, allowing some students to run for safety. Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, is plagued by violent bandits who regularly attack locals and kidnap for ransom. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will ask for permission to open a full investigation into possible war crimes in Nigeria finally. Fatou Bensouda’s office has concluded a preliminary probe that found there is “a reasonable basis to believe” members of the Boko Haram militant group and the Nigerian security forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Can popular consultation reject Maduro?
After boycotting last week’s vote, the Venezuelan opposition, led by Juan Guaido concluded a “popular consultation” to repudiate President Nicolas Maduro’s government, reports Reuters. With 87% of responses reviewed, the opposition said just under 6.5 million people participated. Close to 845,000 Venezuelans abroad took part. The effort was aimed at helping the opposition demonstrate a broad rejection of Maduro, but it does not offer a clear path toward a change of government. The legislative elections returned Maduro’s allies to congress despite an economy in ruins, aggressive U.S. sanctions that stifle the OPEC nation’s oil exports and the migration of some 5 million citizens. The Maduro government said 5.2 million Venezuelans voted in the election. The idea of a popular consultation was proposed in August by Guaido, who is recognized by dozens of countries as Venezuela’s legitimate president following Maduro’s disputed 2018 re-election.
Global funding for women’s health
Climate goals show slow pace
Steps may have been taken to counter the fast pace which the environment is being destroyed, but lack of near-term detail means the planet is still on track for climate catastrophe, reports Bloomberg. The six-hour Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday threw the problem into sharp relief: activists were eager for China to put some meat on the bones of its bold 2060 carbon neutrality pledge. They were disappointed. One country after another failed to raise the bar, as leaders offered only incremental steps. Countries’ level of ambition should increase between three- and five-fold to deliver on the Paris pledge to try and limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, according to the United Nations Emissions Gap Report. While greenhouse gas emissions will fall a record 7% this year as the pandemic hit economic activity, the dip will only result in a 0.01 degree Celsius reduction of global warming by 2050, the UN said.
Human-elephant confict in India, Sri Lank
Sri Lanka’s Committee on Public Accounts has ranked India as the country where highest number of human deaths were reported due to the human-elephant conflict, reports the Press Trust of India. The island-nation had ordered a special audit into the human-elephant conflict by renowned elephant expert Dr Prithviraj Fernando, the head of the Centre for Conservation and Research. Sri Lanka has recorded the highest number of elephant deaths in the world due to the human-elephant conflict, according reports in Daily News. The Committee chairman Vitarana and other members emphasised the need for the Wildlife Department and other relevant agencies to work together on a more efficient programme to resolve the human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka, which has become a serious problem. He also said that despite 60 years of efforts to resolve the human-elephant conflict, no significant progress had been made and that a new approach was needed to find a solution.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen