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The World This Morning: December 21, 2020

A NEW STRAIN OF THE COVID-19 VIRUS IN THE UK IS CAUSING RIPPLES AROUND THE WORLD. THE INCREASE IN INFECTIONS IS GETTING 'OUT OF CONTROL'. UK HAS IMPOSED NEW LOCKDOWNS AND BANNED FLIGHTS.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a lockdown on London and southeast England, sparking fury by cancelling Christmas at short notice and some countries imposing flight bans. The Netherlands, Italy and Belgium have banned flights to and from the UK to prevent the new Covid-19 variant from entering the countries, as reports said other European countries were considering similar measures.

FACEBOOK IS DISABLING SEVERAL FEATURES IN ITS MESSENGER AND INSTAGRAM APPS FOR PEOPLE IN EUROPE, TO MAKE SURE THEY COMPLY WITH A CHANGE IN PRIVACY RULES.

From 21 December, messaging apps will fall under EU rules known as the ePrivacy directive. Facebook has decided to switch off several interactive options and offer just a core messaging service until it can add the extras back in. Facebook said it had not published a list of all the features it was suspending in Europe because it would be quickly reactivating ones that it confidently complied with the rules.

A FARMER UNION SAID THAT A CENTRAL AGENCY HAS ASKED CLARIFICATION FROM IT SEEKING DETAILS ABOUT RECEIVING FOREIGN FUNDS

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) is one of Punjab's largest farmer organisations which is protesting against the recent farm laws. The organisation's president Joginder Ugrahan and its general secretary Sukhdev Singh have revealed this and alleged that the government is now using all possible means as its sole purpose is to defeat the ongoing protests. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) stipulates mandatory registration of any outfit receiving foreign funds.

MAHARASHTRA CHIEF MINISTER HAS RULED OUT ANOTHER LOCKDOWN IN THE STATE. HE HAS MADE WEARING MASKS MANDATORY FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS

CM Uddhav Thackrey said that he doesn't believe in imposing another lockdown or night curfew. He added that the rise in covid cases is a serious concern but residents should follow covid appropriate behaviour to avoid the imposition of any such restrictions. He has urged people to learn from the United Kingdom and European countries where lockdown has been re-imposed to contain the pandemic.

MODERNA VACCINE BEGINS ROLLOUT IN THE UNITED STATES. TRUCKS CARRYING FIRST DOSES OF THE VACCINE LEFT WAREHOUSE IN MEMPHIS.

It becomes the second vaccine to receive approval by the US Food and Drug Administration after the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine. Moderna has reported 94.1% efficacy rates. Meanwhile, US health officials expect Johnson & Johnson to receive approval next month.

POMPEO BLAMES RUSSIA FOR THE RECENT CYBER ATTACK ON US GOVERNMENT

Solarwinds, software made by the US firm war targeted last week. President Trump also has a doubt on Russians. He is hinting at the involvement of the Chinese in the attack. However, the Russians reject the allegation. They say that they have not been involved in any such activities

ARGENTINA IS ADDING MORE TRANSGENDER POPULATION TO ITS LABOR FORCE

Out of the 44 million population of the country, 12000-13000 adults are transgender. The LGBTQ has no official figures on the size of its population as it was not included in the 2010 census. 95% of the LGBTQ population do not have formal employment in Argentina. They are forced to work as sex workers where they are exploited. Alberto Fernandez has reserved a 1% employment quota for them in the public sector to eliminate the discrimination they face in society.

PRESIDENT MADURO IS ALL SET TO SHUT VENEZUELA'S NATIONAL CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

It was founded in the year 2017 and was highly criticized for undermining democracy. The assembly will cease all its operations by the year-end. The current parliament's term ends on January 5th. Ruling socialist party legislators will dominate the new parliament. Maduro said that "The main objective of this National Constituent Assembly was to restore peace, internal security and stability of the country and the mission has been accomplished today."

THAILAND HAS BEGUN TESTING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FOR CORONAVIRUS AS IT BATTLES A SHRIMP MARKET OUTBREAK

The country has extended curbs on movement a day after locking down Samut Sakhon province in the southwest of Bangkok. It is a centre of the seafood industry that is home to thousands of migrant workers.

NEPAL'S PRIME MINISTER K P SHARMA OLI HAS DISSOLVED THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

There was growing discontentment against his leadership. Factional feuds broke out within his party. President Bidya Bhandari has announced the dissolution. This sets the stage for fresh elections in 2021.


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