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[BBC] BBC 2020-12-12

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BBC News with Stewart Macintosh

The head of the UN refugee agency says there has been an overwhelming number of reports of Eritrean refugees in the Ethiopian region of Tigray being killed, abducted and forcibly returned to their country of origin. Filippo Grandi said it would be a major breach of international law if such acts were confirmed.

Nearly a billion doses of leading vaccine candidates have been secured as part of the World Health Organization’s program to provide Covid-19 inoculations for low- and middle-income countries. The WHO director general said nearly 190 countries were now taking part in the Covax program.

The White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has urged the head of the US Food and Drug Administration to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine by Friday. US media is reporting that Mr. Meadows also told Stephen Hahn that he should resign if there’s no approval. The White House official said the remark was a quip.

Scientists in Britain say they’ve found genetic variations that make patients more likely to develop severe Covid-19 symptoms. The researchers found the genes involved in how the immune system combats pathogens like coronavirus.

Austria’s constitutional court has struck down a law prohibiting primary school children from wearing specific religious head coverings. It said the law was unconstitutional as it breached right on religious freedom.

The chief prosecutor of the international criminal court Fatou Bensouda says she will ask for fully investigation into possible war crimes committed in Nigeria and Ukraine. She said investigations in Nigeria found that Islamist Extremist movement Boko Haram committed serious crimes adding that different groups in eastern Ukraine and Crimea could also have been responsible for similar atrocities there.

The Russian authorities are investigating the deaths of more than 270 seals in the Caspian Sea. It thought they may have had some kind of infection.

BBC news.
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