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I'm Nick Miles. And in the early hours of Thursday, the 1st of April, these are our main stories. The US President, Joe Biden, has unveiled the details of a spending plan aimed at kick starting America's economic growth. The Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny says he's going on a hunger strike to demand better medical treatment in jail. The makers of the Pfizer biotech coronavirus vaccine say trials have shown it's 100 percent effective for 12 to 15 year olds. Also in this podcast, there are plans in Russia for a covid vaccine for animals.
The vaccine will prevent the development of virus mutation in animals. The hope being that it can prevent animal to human transmission of covid-19.
And a group of young heroes have climbed a building and save a family from a fire in the French city of not. President Joe Biden has been laying out his plans to kick start the American economy. He's announced details of what he says will be a nearly two trillion dollar infrastructure spending package.
It will mainly go towards rebuilding the nation's roads, bridges and airports. And that, he said, would benefit everybody.
I'm proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth. It builds a fairer economy because everybody, a chance to succeed is going to create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world.
It's a once in a generation investment in America.
It is being compared to some of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, the massive investment in infrastructure projects that help the U.S. economy lift itself out of the depression of the 1930s.
His plans will be paid for by a big hike in tax paid by companies, but it won't be easy to get through Congress.
Anthony Zuiker is our Washington correspondent. He told me more about the details of the plan.
What are the reasons why Republicans appear poised to object to this in lockstep is because it's not just building bridges and roads and rails. There's stuff about climate change and green energy, modernizing schools, improving union negotiating rights, affordable housing, elder care facilities. There's a lot of stuff that I think a lot of people wouldn't think are traditionally infrastructure spending. And then there's how Biden proposes to pay for this, which is by raising the corporate income tax from 21 percent to 28 percent.
It was Trump the Republicans just a few years ago that cut it from 35 percent down to 21 percent. So I don't think the Republicans are going to take kindly to having those hard fought tax changes rolled back so quickly by the Biden administration.
It was interesting where he made this announcement and what he said. Speaking in front of union members in rustbelt Pittsburgh, he said he wanted to build America from the bottom up, buying an American expertise from people who lost out. That kind of thing. Sounds like he's appealing to those former Trump voters that he won back.
Yeah, you have to see the politics of this. Pennsylvania, obviously, as a key electoral state. One of the reasons why Joe Biden won this kind of blue collar, working class white projects, construction projects, a lot of stuff dealing with, you know, taking care of old Coile, coal mines and oil refineries, things like that. That's kind of appealing to these this Rust Belt economy as well. So there are political considerations and also an acknowledgement that some of the senators are going to need to support this, like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a swing Democrat.
His his vote is is going to be carried by Biden and the Democrats very heavily in order to to make sure that there are all the Democrats on board, because as we've discussed, it looks like the Republicans are going to, by and large, oppose this.
Anthony Zuiker early trial results reported by Pfizer by tech in the US suggest it's covid-19 vaccine is 100 percent effective in children aged 12 to 15.
The company says it's now going to seek approval from regulators, including in the UK. In a separate development, the EU medicines regulator has again tried to reassure countries about the safety of the Oxford AstraZeneca jab. Our global health correspondent Naomi Grimly reports.
The news that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective in 12 to 15 year olds is another important milestone. We know children don't tend to fall seriously ill with covid-19, but in order to achieve the threshold of herd immunity, vaccinating teenagers could be important. The Oxford AstraZeneca team is also conducting trials in six to 17 year olds. On the subject of AstraZeneca, the head of the European Medicines Agency, EMA Cooke, said there have been 62 cases of brain clots worldwide.
Against a backdrop of nine point two million AstraZeneca vaccinations in the European economic area, it was a risk of one in 100000 in me under 60, she said, according to the current scientific knowledge.
There is no evidence that would support restricting the use of this vaccine in any population.
There's a lot that remains unclear. Scientists, for example, cannot agree on what the occurrence rate of this thrombosis is in normal times, let alone in the age of covid, which increases the risk of clotting last night. Germany joined France in exploratory talks with Russia about purchasing the Sputnik vaccine. It uses similar technology to the AstraZeneca one, and indeed both are currently being trialled in combination.
Naomi grimly says governments across the world scrambled to. Here, covid-19 vaccine doses for humans. Russia has registered the world's first coronavirus vaccine for animals. It's likely to go to mass production as early as April. Jennifer Monohan is a Russian affairs expert at BBC Monitoring. So what more do we know about this vaccine?
Russia's veterinary watchdog said that the job, which is called Carnivore Cough, has undergone clinical trials on dogs, cats, mink and certain other animals and has been proven to be safe and effective. The watchdog has said that the vaccine will prevent the development of virus mutation in animals.
The hope being that it can prevent down the line animal to human transmission of covid-19.
And that is key, isn't it? Because this is perhaps not just about saving pets, lives and animals lives. It is the impact that animals having coronavirus could have on humans.
Yeah, I think that's the point. The World Organisation for Animal Health has said that there are several animal species which have demonstrated a susceptibility to covid-19 and that includes transmission from infected humans to animals. However, they've also said that it is possible for animal to human transmission, albeit on a lower level. At the same time, it has said that the current pandemic is being sustained through human to human transmission. So whilst the development might be welcomed in some quarters, not least the fur farming industry, well, you might remember last year Denmark killed millions of mink's an animal that has been deemed particularly susceptible to covid-19.
So we're waiting to see how effective this will be. But it has been welcomed in certain corners in Russia says that a number of countries have already reached out and expressed an interest in the vaccine.
And politically for Russia, this could be important. Russia has tried to push itself forward as being at the vanguard of vaccines.
Isn't it exactly that. And you may remember that Russia was the first country to announce that it had registered a covid-19 vaccine, which is called Sputnik V. And really, Russia's been promoting this vaccine very heavily. If we look at state run media, the vaccination campaign underway in Russia is making the headline news almost daily. And about 50 countries in the world have already authorized use on an emergency basis. So really, this is playing into that Russian state propaganda that says, look at us, we're at the forefront of covid-19 vaccine developments bit in the human world.
Now it turns out the animal world.
Jennifer Monohan in France, a group of young people are being hailed as heroes after rescuing a family from a fire. The mother, father and baby were trapped in their apartment in Nant when the youths who were mainly migrants sprang into action. They'll be honoured by city officials later this week.
Charlotte Gallagher has the story of a dramatic rescue caught on camera as smoke billowed out of the third floor apartment. A group of young men scaled the side of the building to reach the trapped family. Others pile mattresses under the window, then a heart stopping moment. Unable to carry their six month old daughter to safety, the parents throw her onto the mattresses below.
The couple then helped to climb down by the good Samaritans. The baby girl was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but is said to be recovering. Her parents were treated for minor injuries. Three of those involved in the rescue are migrants, and there are now calls for them to be given official papers and housing. An online petition addressing the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has also been launched, calling for honour and recognition for the heroes of Bouttier, the area where the fire happened.
The story echoes the case of a Malian migrant who in 2013 scaled the side of a Paris apartment block to rescue a small boy dangling from a fourth floor balcony. Mamadou Gasmier, who was nicknamed Spider-Man, was later made a French citizen and presented with a medal for courage by the president. His bravery and athletic skills also saw him offered a job in the fire service. Charlotte Galaga.
The Spanish government has declared the Iberian wolf an endangered species, potentially outlawry wolf hunting across the country. Environmental activists have welcomed the decision in a country which has Europe's largest wolf population.
But Spanish farmers are afraid about the potential impact on the safety of their livestock, as Guy Hedgecoe reports. I'm standing next to a dam on the banks of the Delaware River in the northern province of Samara. Now this river separates the northern parts of Spain from the rest of the country. Until now, Spanish law has said that wolves can only be hunted north of this river because that's where they are most prevalent. But if the changes to the law that are being prepared by the government are implemented, that will mean that wolves will no longer be able to be hunted at all.
Felipe also has a farm north of the river. One night last November, wolves broke into a fenced field where he kept sheep, killing 11 animals outright.
Another 36 sheep died in the following days from injuries and miscarriages triggered by the attack in Boston.
Go north of the Milera.
We lost 12 or 14 thousand euros due to that attack. It's not even about the money. It's emotional because the animals are part of my family.
Farmers in northern Spain do not receive state compensation for wolf attacks, although further south they do. According to official figures, nearly 4000 sheep and cows were killed by wolves in this region in 2019. Philippe believes the government's proposal to ban all hunting of wolves will see a tax increase further.
But this will ruin livestock farmers. The government has to decide if it wants to have wolves or if it wants a sustainable rural world with livestock and farming, which maintain the ecosystem. If they decide that they want to have wolves, then we'll have to give up our profession.
In this recent protest, livestock owners drove into the city of Adelaide on tractors demanding the government's move protection plan be withdrawn.
Meanwhile, conservationists have been celebrating the decision to ban the hunting of wolves. I'm on my way north to the province of Polynesia, where I'm going to meet with Juan Carlos Blanco, who is a biologist and one of the most respected Wolf, experts in Spain.
The walls are very important and from an ecological point of view, is the symbol of the evil for the rural people because of the damages to livestock. And for the Audubon Society, this is a symbol of the nature of the wild nature currently. And this urban symbol is prevailing over the overall symbol.
And Carlos believes the government needs to negotiate with local authorities and livestock breeders to soften the blow of the new law. In the meantime, the conundrum pitting wolves against farmers is set to continue.
I was Guy Hedgecoe reporting from Spain. Still to come in this podcast, she took an obscure throat lozenge and made it into a global brand.
In the early days, we obviously were packing this product brand, not by machine. And we had little white envelopes, which my mother in law would type. And one day she said, look, we've got a red tape on this and typewriter. Why don't we use it?
We look back at the life of the woman behind the fisherman's friend.
The European Commission has taken Poland to court again over judicial reforms. The EU says are designed to increase political control over Polish courts. The EU's commissioner for justice, Didier Reynders, said the changes enacted in December 2019 had a chilling effect on judges.
The law prevents Polish courts from directly applying EU law to protect judicial independence, including by using disciplinary proceedings. It also prevents Polish court from requesting preliminary rulings on such provisions to the Court of Justice.
Mr. Reynders said that Polish judges were at risk of being suspended from office and seeing their immunity lifted to allow criminal proceedings against them or to detain them.
The imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has said he's going on hunger strike because he's not receiving medical help for back pain and problems with his legs.
He was jailed for breaking his parole terms stemming from a previous fraud sentence. Sarah Rainsford reports from Moscow.
Alexei Navalny says the pain, his suffering is getting worse, spreading from his back to cause numbness now in both legs. The opposition politician has previously asked for a specialist doctor to examine him in prison and for medication instead of help. I'm tortured by sleep deprivation, though Mr Navalny wrote work on eight times a night by prison guards. Mr Putin's fiercest critic nearly died last year after he was poisoned with a nerve agent. So Alexei Navalny admits he's worried about the reason for his latest symptoms and his recovery chances.
The Russian Prison Service has insisted that Mr Navalny is being provided with the necessary medical assistance.
A UN investigation has found that a French air strike killed 19 civilians in a village in Mali earlier this year. France, which is part of a coalition of forces fighting Islamist insurgents in Mali, says only Islamist militants were hit. The human rights arm of the UN mission in Mali interviewed hundreds of people who said that a helicopter fired on a wedding near the village of Bounty in central Mali.
The UN report also said three armed men were among those killed. French newspapers say the UN report discredits the French led Operation Bacani, which has come in for much criticism from within Mali.
The journalist Mohammed Golfer has been following developments in Mali and spoke to my colleague, Audrey Brown.
It seems as if the government is going with the French version of events that target its only armed group and not civilians.
Did they say that in a statement? They did not make any statement as of now, but on January 3rd, when the French admitted to have carried on an air raid in the village of Wante, and they claim that they only hit a I mean, armed groups are not civilians who are attending the wedding ceremony. The Malian authorities seems to be backing, so be supporting that claim.
So there's no statement, official statement yet on the official UN report.
No official statement so far. And what are people saying in Mali? There is this different sentiment here. On Friday, dozens of people protest against the French military presence here in Mali. So, so far, Malians are opposed to French presence. Here to tell some of those who are opposing the French military presence there include some members of the National Transitional Council.
And so are they inclined, I imagine, to believe the United Nations report that the French had, in fact, killed civilians?
Do people believe that the French would have done it deliberately or would they believe that it was an accident, that they are now trying to to brush under the carpet?
Well, most people will believe that it was not an accident due to the fact that people are killed in France or protracting the jihadist insurgency here to for personal gain. And there are such people actually maybe I mean, believe that the French is actually trying to cover up what is behind the feelings against the French involvement in Mali and the fight against the insurgency?
Well, according to those who are conducting these protests over the amount of government, they are saying that France is not doing anything to stop the war. They say that they are. In fact, they are supporting the Malian army. They said the Malian army on its own can do more than what the French army is doing.
So how is it that they believe that the the French are not helping the Malian army? Do they feel that they are stopping the Malian army from. Dealing with the insurgency in a more efficient way, is that what it is? If you ask me, I will say the French are doing very well, but I really don't know why Malians are turning against them. That is a very big question. You know, they are saying that the war has been a long war is going on for so long and the war is not coming to an end.
So they are really confused and in a limbo as to what the French is doing there.
Most people are accusing them of plundering the resources of the state and other groups within the country that are highlighting the activities of Operation Bacani in such a way that makes it more transparent. Or is there information that people are disseminating about the operation that is turning the population against it?
When the population is saying they said that France did not provide enough evidence to show that they did not hit civilians, they would have shown videos and satellite images of what they hit and they did not show that. And they are saying that they should conduct another independent investigation. You know, they simply should conduct an independent investigation to so really, I mean, delve into what happened.
Journalist Mohammed Goffer, according to research by the University of Maryland and the online monitoring platform Global Forest Watch, there's been a sharp increase in the rate at which the world's forests are being destroyed.
So what's the implication for climate change? Francis Seemore is a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute.
James Coomaraswamy asked her where forests are being destroyed at the most alarming rates.
It's happening all over the world. It's a total of of tropical forest loss of 12 million hectares of tree cover and of that four point two million hectares in the primary forests that have not been previously disturbed, which are the most important for biodiversity and climate change, and the fact that that this loss could go up by 12 percent compared to 20, 19 in a year that the global economy contracted is really astonishing.
The Amazon Brazil is not one of the key areas. It's losing its forests. Indeed it is.
I mean, Brazil is always, always looms large just because it has so much forest. But this year, the losses are up by 25 percent. And that includes losses not only in the Amazon, but also in other biomes like the Pantanal, which is the world's largest wetland. And it actually burned last year. I mean, imagine a wetland burning.
What are the implications of all this for climate change? Well, the the the sort of gross emissions from this forest loss is estimated to be about two point six gigatons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to driving the number of cars in the United States for two years in a row. I mean, so it's it's globally significant. But I think the most alarming part of this at the news for 2020 is how many forests are themselves falling victim to climate change?
I mean, I've mentioned wetlands burning, but we have previously frozen peatlands in Siberia burning. We have another year of burning in Bolivia that we saw in 2019. We have fires starting inside the rainforest in the Amazon when previously it was mostly along the edges. And so if we don't both reduce the emissions from deforestation and to get emissions from other sectors on trajectories to net zero emissions right away, it's quite likely that our remaining natural carbon sinks are going to go up in smoke.
Do you hope and think that this report will help to push the question of deforestation up the agenda at the COP 26 climate summit at the end of this year? Absolutely.
I mean, the good news is that, you know, the UK presidency of the cop has already foregrounded nature, you know, as is a key theme. But surely these numbers from 2020 will put a finer point on the need for urgent action. And I hope that all the governments in the world will will mobilize and come together and solidarity about what we can do to make sure that recovery from the pandemic is a green one and that we protect these important resources.
That was Frances Seymour, a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute. Somalia doesn't have a national blood bank, but with a population of more than 12 million people and constant fears of deadly attacks by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, health authorities say one is badly needed when a group of young doctors in the capital, Mogadishu, decided to change things and set up the first emergency blood bank. The BBC's Bella Shigeo went to visit it lavishness Emmanuel.
The bladder blood center is just one room divided into three sections with a staff of just 10 people. It's the only one of its kind in Mogadishu, founded three years ago by young medical volunteers like Dr. Ahmed Abdulkadir Muhammad.
But other hospitals are where we established the blood service when we were university students, when we went to hospitals to do our internship. We realized it was backbreaking for both doctors and patients to find blood. So we came up with this idea and we just did it for the money they had.
At the back of the room, there is a small fridge filled with a few plastic bags of blood. The center is usually empty. Not a lot of people donate blood in Somalia, but this is a slowly changing. The center now receives 280 to forty dollars a week, ten times more than before.
One of them is a young man called Abdulkadir Abukar, who's just walked in, he deletes his blood voluntarily and has been coming here twice a year for the last two years.
At the beginning, I was really very afraid. I thought I will faint. But thanks to God, I felt better when I donated my blood, because when you donate blood and give it to someone who needs it, it's charity.
On the other side of the city, there's a patient in urgent need for abductor's blood. Muhammad Abdi Audrey has been waiting for months to receive blood so he can undergo surgery or diarrhea, only pay ten dollars to the blood center. Otherwise, patients like him who need blood in hospitals need to get it from family or friends. And the hospitals still charge them up to 60 dollars, which is too expensive for people like him who live their there.
I am a farmer. I got sick and I went to hospital. They told me that I need blood for my surgery. We looked for blood for a long time. We have been looking for it for three months. We finally found it thanks to God.
You know, he and I had to to the doctors in hospitals across the country are concerned about the severe blood shortage, which is putting people's lives at risk. No one knows how many people die every year in Somalia due to lack of access to blood. But for the young doctors running this blood bank with no help from the government or aid agencies often working around the clock, they are at least making a difference. Bellucci.
Like them or loathe them, fisherman's friends, lozenges first developed to ease breathing problems commonly suffered by seafarers are known now all over the world, and that global success is really down to one British woman and her company.
Based in the northern English coastal town of Fleetwood, Doreen Lofthouse has now died at the age of 91.
Colletta Smith has her story.
While it was Tony Lofthouse who became the fourth generation of his family to run the firm in the 1960s, it was his wife, Doreen, who saw the potential for global growth. Her flair for marketing shifted the business from being virtually unknown outside the fishing town to becoming a recognised household brand. Here she is explaining the simple design of the company's packets to the BBC in 1985 and the early days.
We obviously were packing this product by hand, not by machine. And we had little white envelopes, which my mother in law would type. And one day she said, Look, we've got a red tape on this typewriter, why don't we use it? So we said, OK, we will type extra strong and red and we still have to balance red and black.
Even today, the product's powerful flavour of menthol, eucalyptus and licorice is what people tend to love or hate.
And that's something that marketing has embraced, winning plenty of customers across the world. Fisherman's friend now sell more than five billion lozenges a year in 120 countries, bringing in annual revenues of more than 75 million dollars. Colletta Smith.
And that's all from us for now. But there will be an updated version of the Global News podcast later on. If you want to comment on this podcast or the topics we've covered in it, you can send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC DOT Code Watch UK. This podcast was mixed by Joe Wallace. The producer was Beth Timmons and the editor is Karen Martin.
I'm Nick Miles. And until next time, goodbye. But. Everyone like shopping online, but searching for coupon codes is kind of a bummer.
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