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This is the Global News podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Nick Miles, and it's 13 hours GMT on Wednesday, the 7th of April. These are our main stories, the ongoing row over the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the effect it's having on public confidence. Experts say that people who've had coronavirus are more likely to suffer a brain condition.
And China has produced generations of people who've lived without brothers and sisters. They used to being in small families and now would seem unlikely to want anything else for themselves.
So can Beijing reverse decades of policy and encourage couples to have more babies in future?
Also in this podcast, these walls, these buildings. This is the evidence without evidence. There is no holocaust.
Why some people want to preserve a crumbling Nazi concentration camp in the Czech Republic, the row between the US and Kenya that's led to a shortage of vital HIV AIDS drugs. And Kim Kardashian has joined the ranks of the world's billionaires. We find out how. There is no doubt that covid vaccines are saving many lives across the world, but there have been concerns over whether the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine causes blood clots in the brain.
The numbers may be very low, but it's still prompted several countries to restrict the use of the vaccine until more is known about the possible links.
As we recall, this podcast, the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the European Medicines Agency are about to give updates on their investigations.
Kent Woods is a former chief executive of the UK's body is very clear from everything I've seen and read that the risk of this thrombotic complication with blood clotting, if it is in fact cause and effect linked to the vaccine, is very, very much lower than the risks associated with coronavirus infection itself. And we must bear in mind, too, that with 19, infection does carry with it a very considerable increased risk of flooding events.
So how low is the risk? A question for our global health correspondent, Naomi Grindley.
If we look at the numbers in the UK and the UK is a good example precisely because it's been using the AstraZeneca jab so much here. There have been 30 cases of these serious blood clots amidst 18 million vaccinations with AstraZeneca. So when you do the calculation in terms of risk, that's one in 600000. So it is extremely rare. And also, of course, what you have to remember is we take medications all the time, including the contraceptive pill for women, which raise your risk of getting serious blood clots.
So the risk is extremely low.
And yet many people around the world are having reservations about AstraZeneca. What impact are all these concerns having on the uptake of it?
Well, we don't know that for sure at the moment. There's various anecdotal information about booking appointments in places like Berlin. But if you look back at a tracking poll that YouGov has been doing across Europe, they found that when these stories about blood clots first hit the headlines, they did have an impact. So, for example, in February in Germany, 40 percent of people thought that the AstraZeneca jab was unsafe. In March, that went up to 55 percent of people asked.
Similarly, in France in February, 49 percent thought it was unsafe. By March, that had gone up to 61 percent. So this really goes to reinforce the issue that we need to be so careful as broadcasters, but also regulators and governments. And remember all this against the backdrop of countries like Italy still suffering very large death tolls a day, nearly 500 a day. And of course, when you look further afield at Brazil, it's even worse.
4000 people have died there in the last 24 hours.
Naomi Grimly, our health correspondent, we're learning more and more about the long term effects of covid so-called long covid can not only affect the body, but it seems the brain as well. A new study has found that one in three covid survivors are diagnosed with a mental health or neurological condition within six months of being infected.
The lead author is Paul Harrison, professor of psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
It could be that in some people the virus actually gets into the brain and causes some damage. It could be the way your body is reacting to the virus, produces a sort of immune or inflammatory response that can contribute to the problems. And for other people, it may simply be a psychological effect, if you like, of the stress that having covid and thinking what might happen to you next is the important factor that we need more research specifically to ask this question.
Our health reporter Rachel Shrier told me more about the research. The study looked at 14 of the most common psychological and neurological conditions. So that includes everything from anxiety and depression, psychosis to dementia, stroke and brain hemorrhage. So we're looking at the full gamut of things that affect your brain from what you think of as a psychological mood disorders to things where it's actually the structure of the brain that's being affected.
And at what stage are we with really defining how much more likely you are to suffer from one of those conditions if you've had covered?
So what this study did is it compared a group of people who had covered with people who'd had flu or other respiratory infections, and it found that you're somewhere in the region of about 40 percent more likely to get some of these conditions compared with if you'd had flu, for example.
That sounds quite a lot. But I suppose this kind of correlation is not necessarily causation. So you can't say definitively yet.
It's an observational study, which means they looked at the patient records, they looked at whether people had had a Kofa diagnosis, and then they looked at other diagnoses that they had in the following six months. But what allowed them to give a sense that it might be covid, actually causing the. Kind of causal role with it, they compared them with other similar patients who are similar age, sex, health conditions and people who hadn't had Kodet, who had flu or maybe another infection, and they could see that increase and they could also see the increase if someone had had a more severe case of coronavirus.
So your risk of some of these conditions increased if you were hospitalized and if you were in ICU and then if you'd had the most severe cases.
Now, I've heard anecdotal evidence from people who were suffering from long covid depression and various sort of brain fog issues that they had the vaccine and it cleared up.
I imagine that's going to be an area of research as well.
It's not something that we have good studies on yet. And this study didn't look at it specifically. It was more interested in the immediate aftermath of becoming very severely ill. But certainly I think that's something that people will be interested in down the line. And in terms of a prevention, if you have the vaccine and that stops you from becoming sick and especially from becoming the most egg, we would expect that that would prevent a big chunk of these conditions happening afterwards.
Rachel Shrier, our health reporter in Iran, has confirmed reports that one of its ships has been hit by an explosion in the Red Sea in an attack that's suspected to have been carried out by Israel. Here's our Middle East analyst, Alan Johnston.
A spokesman for the foreign ministry in Tehran said there were no casualties aboard the Iranian vessel. He described it as a civilian ship, but others have suggested that it's an important asset of the Iranian military, which might use it to supply Iranian backed rebels in Yemen. The New York Times has quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying that Israel told the Americans it had targeted that ship early on Tuesday. There have been numerous reports recently of Iran and Israel attacking each other's vessels at sea.
Alan Johnston. For decades, China used a one child policy to control what the government feared was an ever growing population. Then in recent years, the rules were eased, allowing couples to have two children.
Now, with young people leaving former industrial towns in droves, policymakers are considering scrapping birth restrictions altogether as a way of offsetting an ageing population.
There's just one problem convincing young people to have bigger families.
China correspondent Stephen McDonell met some of them in north eastern China.
Inside a park in the city of Changchun, dozens of retirees spin their way through a traditional fan dance. They're dressed in bright clothes, smiles from ear to ear, accompanied to one side by those who play instruments, powering the session along and all around them. Spectators gather to watch the dance routine of their lives. Their priorities are different in so many ways from those of their grandparents.
There's been a huge shift in attitude from generation to generation here in China. Older generations, they come from big families and it was a really crucial thing in terms of their lives. But for younger people, it's not the same. They really don't want to have as many kids is not as important for them.
Here in north east China's rustbelt provinces, the heavy industries of iron, steel, cement and timber don't need workers in the same numbers they used to. So young people entering the workforce have been leaving once prosperous areas in droves and heading to the big cities.
The answer for some policy makers has been to ditch birth restrictions, hopefully prompting a baby boom. The trouble is, even if they are allowed to, many young couples now don't seem to want to have big families.
One mother watching her child playing in the park was quick to rule it out.
What is that? I haven't even considered it neither emotionally nor financially could I afford it?
Another, with her daughter on a playground swing, expressed similar sentiments two young girls are doing.
For me, it's already hard to arrest this one. It feels better to put all your energy into one child.
The one child policy came into force in the early 1980s to stop an already massive population exploding in recent years became a two child policy, and even this could soon be scrapped altogether. In the 1960s, China was recording more than 29 million births a year. By 2019, it was half that, with 15 million a year.
This collapsed even further to just 10 million last year.
When you look at birth rates throughout history, poverty tends to produce people. That's because every new human being is an extra pair of hands to go to work. Then along comes prosperity. And it's not as important to have kids for this reason.
Following a social experiment on an unparalleled scale, China has produced generations of people who've lived without brothers and sisters.
They're used to being in small families and now would seem unlikely to want anything else for themselves.
Stephen McDonell reporting from Northeast China. Now we look at a celebrity who's become a brand in her own right.
Kim Kardashian shot to fame thanks to reality television, racking up millions of social media followers and lucrative endorsements as well.
And now she's become a member of the elite club of the super rich by achieving billionaire status.
Our reporter Charlotte Gallagher explains how she did it.
My name is Kim Kardashian West. I'm from Beverly Hills, California.
Kim Kardashian and her family are global stars with their relationships, bodies and clothes debated and discussed online. Their reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, made them famous and pays them well. But that's not how Kim earned her billion dollar fortune, because away from the show, she's also a savvy businesswoman with stakes in two lucrative companies, KW Beauty and the Skims. Loungewear and underwear firm Kim Kardashian launched KW in 2017 and last year sold 20 percent of the business to coati for 200 million dollars.
Forbes magazine, which compiles the billionaire list, says her remaining stake is worth half a billion. Skims is said to be worth around 500 million dollars, with Kim Kardashian stake reportedly 225 million. So according to Forbes, those business interests, combined with endorsements and television appearances, takes her worth to a billion dollars. So what does she put her success down to?
My smartest business decision has been going for it and not being like having no fear. And just even if they failed and even if it hasn't turned out the way that I wanted to. I've learned so much from it. So my advice would be go for it.
Ken isn't the first Kardashian to make the billionaire list. Her younger sister, Kylie, was named the youngest self-made billionaire by Forbes in 2019, but the magazine then removed her from the list and accused her family of inflating the value of her cosmetics business. Another woman to achieve billionaire status this year is the founder of the bumble dating app Whitney Wolfe heard. While the filmmaker Tyler Perry also made the cut. The Amazon founder Jeff Bezos tops the billionaire list with a staggering personal worth of 177 billion dollars.
But it wasn't good news for everyone. Donald Trump, who prides himself on his business acumen, tumbled nearly 300 places down the list. But the former president is still worth an estimated two point four dollars billion.
Charlotte Gallagher on the continuing rise of Kim Kardashian.
And still to come in this edition of our podcast, this was part of what I wanted to describe. This idea that the past had happened, that the great things had happened and they would never happen again. A renowned British Sudanese novelist tells us about the main theme of his latest book. We've been talking a lot today about safety and access to vaccinations to prevent covid-19, but there is, of course, another epidemic still raging, one that over the years has killed tens of millions of people.
There is no vaccine for that at the moment, but there are drugs that can help people live full lives.
In Kenya, though, there's been a drastic shortage of them because of a row with the United States, which thankfully seems to have been, at least in part, resolved. Our correspondent in Nairobi, Mersea Jumma, tell me more.
There has been a severe shortage of antiretrovirals across Kenya, with many public hospitals reporting that they have completely run out of the drugs. And, you know, this was, as you say, because of our now between the USA and the Kenyan government and since mid of January, what drugs? What about 19 million have been stuck at the port of Mombasa because of a tax dispute between these two entities.
Okay. So has this now been resolved, though?
We don't know if the tax has been paid and we do not know how long it will take for these drugs to leave the port and get to the public health facilities.
Well, so that could mean still more delays for a country which has got a high burden of HIV AIDS, hasn't it?
Yes, it is. We have about one point five million people who rely on these drugs. And honestly, Nick, the past few weeks, some of them have been coming up on social media and saying, hey, we are suffering because they used to get drugs that would last them about six months. But the last few weeks they could only get supplies that lasted about one week. And we have a hospital saying they've completely run out of drugs that were very key, some that are used to boost immunity and most importantly, those that were used to prevent mother to child transmission.
So it's pretty messy. I mean, one point five million lives and, you know, more children getting born. So it's not easy.
Yeah, so so the impact of this could be long term for children, obviously.
Indeed, it could be a long time because speaking to now, that official from the minister of health there were saying already there are facilities where they are asking mothers who are living with HIV AIDS and giving but not to breastfeed their children because of the inconsistency in terms of administration of this medicine that to prevent mother to child transmission. Already we're seeing the impact, you know, when you ask a mother to breastfeed their children because, you know, you're not guaranteed whether your child would get the medication that they need to prevent them getting, you know, the infection from their mum.
I think it's pretty much not. Yeah, it's very bad.
Mercy Jumma, our correspondent in Nairobi, the Czech town of Terezín, or Terrorization Start in Germany, is best known as the site of a Nazi concentration camp and ghetto during World War Two.
But now many of the sprawling buildings that once housed tens of thousands of Jews from across Europe are falling into disrepair and some have begun to collapse.
Our correspondent Rob Cameron has this report.
We heard you're in the middle of it with that.
We're in a small apartment in the eastern suburbs of Prague.
An old man sits at his kitchen table and tells stories to of 30 or Dome of OT's.
Coral Petter Rizzle is a doctor specialising in substance abuse. He's still working at the age of 88, but he's a man haunted by his childhood in a garrison town called Terezín, transformed by the Nazis into a concentration camp and ghetto.
The crowd at the time when they started unloading the rotting corpses from the railway carriages, there was this cloud, a stench hanging over terrorism. And that is what I still have dreams about in some red.
Peter was sent there with his mother and brother at the age of eight. He only escaped to transports to Auschwitz because his mother injected him and his brother with petrol, which causes symptoms similar to meningitis. The SS only wanted healthy prisoners for the transport as they were trying to maintain the fiction that Jews were being resettled for work in the East.
But this wasn't the only lie told at terrorism of the five year in 1944, the Nazis made a propaganda film which attempted to portray the ghetto as a place where Jews lived a happy content existence.
That, too, was a fiction, inmates did play football here. There was even a league, but most of the players and spectators, even the director who was forced by the SS to film it, was shipped off to the death camps and gassed.
Today, that courtyard is strewn with rubble and the sprawling barracks, one of several huge buildings that made up the Terezín ghetto, has begun to collapse. U.S. Hoffman is the director of the town's Information Center for Automotive Research.
And when the Army, the town's biggest employer, left Terezín, it lost 75 percent of its population. And that happened just a few years ago. The loss of inhabitants also caused a loss of income. So now a town with the population and a budget of a village is looking after massive amounts of property worth billions, including this barracks. And obviously it can't afford to maintain it.
All of them are not.
Critics say the authorities, local and national, are simply not doing enough to save the former ghetto. Schyman Courbet's, managing director of the private Terezín Center for Genocide Studies.
These walls, these buildings, this is the evidence. Without evidence, there is no Holocaust.
Schirman Courbet's ending that report by Rob Cameron. Chinese TV stations are blurring out Western brand logos. That's after a number of firms said that they were concerned that wiggers were being forced to work in cotton production.
Last year, the BBC discovered that China was using the minority Muslim wigger population as slave labour in cotton fields.
I've been finding out more from our China media analyst, Khari Allen in late March.
There was a very heavily orchestrated campaign from state media to get people to boycott brands that had issued historic statements indicating that they might stop sourcing products that you, Qinsheng Cotton and in particular, the brands that are appearing blurred out on Chinese TV shows are ones that the logos are well known, like Adidas and Nike. These were two big brands that a number of celebrities in China cut their ties with in recent weeks. And yeah, other images have since circulated that show that originally people were wearing these brands in these shows.
So, yeah, it's their t shirts and shoes, certainly with these massive pixelation all over the front.
So scary where people were asked to boycott certain Western brands that had been critical of Chinese policy in the past. They seemed to sort of go along with that. How are people reacting to this blurring out?
Well, yeah. I mean, some people actually do see this as overkill. I mean, there have been so many brands in recent days that the government has called on boycotts of and people have seen this before in relation to Hong Kong. So not just Xinjiang, but yet also a lot of state broadcasters do go into overdrive in blurring. So, I mean, previously we've seen very small kind of social reasons that items are blurred. So men wearing earrings have certainly had their ears blurred.
I mean, people seeing the footage today. Well, I mean, early in the week via articles like the BBC, they're seeing huge Blur's that literally distract the person from viewing.
And it's actually led to some of these TV shows issuing apologies because it looks ridiculous, like you can't see somebody's body. They look like they're floating. And yet, because shoes are so commonly censored, it literally looks like people have no legs to carry.
Alan, are China media analyst. The British Sudanese novelist Jamal Mahjoub has been one of the most astute chroniclers of Sudan's modern history in recent decades.
He's won awards and critical acclaim for his work, and since 2012, he's been writing crime fiction under the pen name Parker.
Now he's back with a new novel called The Fugitives. It tells the story of a legendary fictional jazz band, the Kamanga Kings, who get the opportunity of a lifetime in the US.
James Copnall asked him why he chose this subject.
The presence of music was something that really goes back to my childhood in Sudan and in Khartoum. And I mean, it was always present. And music in Sudan is kind of unique. It's really quite special. And I think the sort of period of the late 60s and 70s was really also a kind of golden age for that music. So I wanted to write about that.
And then I it was also very much connected to the political changes that happened after 89, the Omar al-Bashir, who in 89 and the Islamists coming exactly when there was a real conservative, very prohibitive period when musicians were persecuted and hounded out of the country. And even attacked music also became a symbol of the old Sudan and the spirit of what was really Sudan, I mean, it's interesting that during the revolution a couple of years ago, you had suddenly these improvised concerts going on.
I mean, there were big concerts by big names, but people would just turn up in the evening and start playing. And I think that there was a sense that the music could now come back. And that seemed to be very symbolic. And I think that actually gave me the ending of the book. It took a revolution. It is pretty unique Sudanese music, and it does play such a sort of special role in Sudanese culture, doesn't it?
Everyone knows those old songs. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, a lot of the old songs were based on poetry. It's a very difficult thing to do to write about music. You know, the only way of really bringing something like this to life is through the characters. And the music is really an expression of these characters. And so they have to be quite clearly defined. The novel also picks at some of the threads of the American dream that it doesn't shine quite so brightly for everybody.
No, I also wanted to address in some way this whole idea that people are desperate to sort of leave their homes behind and go to the West, whether it's America or Europe. I want wanted to kind of at least add some kind of nuance to that. I don't think anybody leaves home easily. I think it's a it's a very traumatic a very difficult decision to take. Two of the characters have quite differing opinions about what it is that they want for themselves.
And that relationship between Rushdie, this teacher, who he's very much at the center of the novel and his his mother and also his particularly perhaps his uncle, this old musical star now sort of fading into his memories a little bit. It's so touching and funny. And is that something you wanted to show, that sort of relationship between the generations and the family closeness? Or is it just something that's inevitable when you're writing about a Sudanese family?
I definitely wanted to talk about the idea of young people today in Sudan. I mean, I think that one of the things that you get is the sense among young people that there were great things happened in the past, the 89 coup. And what followed was really a reduction. It was really like cutting all the color out of the sky and turning everything black and white. And I think that this was part of what I wanted to describe this idea that the past had happened, that the great things had happened and they would never happen again.
And in the course of the book, Rushdie, of course, becomes, you know, an activist in restoring some kind of hope to that dream.
That was the British Sudanese writer, Jamal Mahjoub, speaking to James Copnall.
And finally onto a very different kind of fiction, a rare edition of the comic in which Superman made his first ever appearance has sold for a record sum of more than three million dollars.
His electronics Naismith published in 1938 Action Comics. No one had a print run of 200000 copies. It cost just 10 cents. Today, only a handful of pristine editions exist and they cost a lot more. The comic is famous for introducing the world to Superman. How he came to Earth, discovered his superhuman capabilities and became the mild mannered Clark Kent. The shows him easily tossing a car dressed in his iconic blue and red as Superman emblazoned on his chest.
It's considered the start of the superhero genre electronics myth.
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 edition or the topics we've covered in it, send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC DOT Code Watch UK. This podcast was mixed by Emma Halligan, produced by Russell Saanich and the editor Karen Martin.
I'm Nick Miles. And until next time, goodbye.