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This is the Global News podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Alex Ritson. And in the early hours of Monday, February the 15th, these are our main stories. Armored vehicles roll through the streets of several cities in Myanmar as protests against the military coup continue. Guiney declares an Ebola epidemic. Supporters of the jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny hold demonstrations across the country. Also in this podcast, Catalonia holds elections for the first time since the Spanish regions failed bid for independence.
And it's down to a gunshot wound to the chest and pronounced him dead at the scene.
Paramedics in Mexico reflect on treating two pandemics at once, coronavirus and gun violence. We start in Myanmar. The sound from amateur video footage of what appears to show security forces firing at protesters in the city of Mitchener in the north of Myanmar, in the main city of Yangon, armored vehicles have been seen driving around the streets for the first time since the military coup two weeks ago. And there have been police raids and arrests against civil servants and activists who took part in anti coup protests.
We spoke to so one fan from the BBC's Burmese service since the nightfall started.
The tanks roll into the streets of major cities, especially in the big cities where in the past few days that we have seen big, big demonstration against this military takeover. And, you know, there is a curfew in place from 8:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. in the morning in the past few days that during this period that security forces would go round to different homes of protest leaders like, you know, the the leaders who are calling for civil disobedience movement and trying to take them away.
But the people in that neighborhood are allotted. So when the security forces stand up, then especially until yesterday, they mostly the police like when they turned up the neighborhood, people also came out onto the streets and block the doors, security troops. So probably the military government thought that this is the time that they should send in some troops and soldiers, which are known to be a bit more heavy handed.
The U.S. embassy has warned that the Internet will be shut down. And watching the Reuters wire, it says the Internet has been shut down. What do you know?
It is like it's from the one a.m. to nine a.m. in the morning. The telecoms providers are ordered to shut down the Internet. But still, some people who use international electronic sim, they are still able to get online. One of the reasons that the Internet has been shut down, people believe, is that, you know, when these security people come to the homes of protest leaders, then people not only block them from getting to the the people they wanted, they also streamed live onto the social media and by other steps.
So they are concerned that your Internet blackout is also to stop this kind of streaming life onto the street and galvanizing people to come out in support of the protest leaders, the editor of the BBC's Burmese service.
So when fan professionals have been at the forefront of the civil disobedience movement in Myanmar, my colleague Paul Hennelly has been speaking to a doctor who's taken part in demonstrations in the capital, Naypyidaw. He's also been treating injured protesters. We've chosen not to name him for safety reasons.
As I'm a medical doctor, I take part in the civil disobedience movements, which is a kind of protesting. We all work for our government and not for the military. That's why we decided to start the media. I also gave the medical and medical cover by making a charity clinic outside.
And what kind of medical help have you been giving? And we provided the first aid on the street at a place of occurrence. When injured, we arrange the ambulances with first aid kits around the protesters. I think five ambulances in total. We plan to move for further measures to our base medical come and we also make the reference system. So if the operations or surgical interventions might need it.
And expectedly, have you been dealing with serious injuries? Yes, of course. One day the police or by the military used to broader control measures, mostly with the water cannons. The people get injured by the forceful precious of water cannons. So they came to our clinic and we we tried to help them. And all the foreign aid, the police brutality was when to a peak. And the police start beating the protesters on the other day they use against one of the serious case was a girl shot in the head by the police at the rally near the second runner.
But she was not engaged in any violence or threats to the police. But she was shot in the back of our head. The bullet went through the helmet and the scar scar, which is a really magic bullet.
The lady get to our base medical come. We refer to the Thousand Better Hospital in Naypyidaw. She got a letter only the five percent chance of survival. That way she got intubated and sent to the intensive care unit.
She is only a shallow breathing.
Tell me more about the protests where you are. How big are they in Naypyidaw? They are, but hundreds of thousands of protesters. But the military block every main roads. So the people crowded in a small groups, but they still protest. Tell me, what are your feelings about the military coup, about what's happened? I know that the military system will drag down the country and new generations and it's dark. We have been experiencing for many years.
We are the one who is responsible for the generations. That's why we don't step accept the military government.
And Paul Henley was speaking there to a doctor who's been treating people who've taken part in those demonstrations in Myanmar.
Guinea has declared an Ebola epidemic with eight confirmed cases and three deaths.
It's more than four years since an outbreak ended in West Africa, leaving more than 11000 dead. The epidemic is known to have spread at a community funeral, and it looks like that's the case. Now, the World Health Organization has said it will rush assistance to Guinea to prevent a resurgence. Speaking to a room full of reporters in Conakry, the head of Guinea's health agency, Saqba Kater, announced the outbreak this month and threatening very early this morning, the laboratory in Conakry confirmed the presence of the Ebola virus.
So this puts Guinea in a situation of an Ebola epidemic. One of our citizens became ill and unfortunately died. His burial took place in Mackay on February the 1st, and some people who took part in the funeral began a few days later to experience diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding and fever. The first samples were confirmed on February the 12th.
Our Africa editor, Mary Harper, gave me more details.
This outbreak occurred in the town of Quica in south eastern Guinea, which is where, in fact, the terrible Ebola epidemic that killed 1300 people across West Africa. That's where that epidemic also started in that region. So there is great concern. It seems like it started at a burial. We don't know whether the person who died had Ebola, but it looks like they must have done. And quite often in these burials, people touch the bodies, they wash the bodies and bodies of dead Ebola patients are very infectious.
And so we have at least seven or eight cases, three deaths already that have been confirmed. And in fact, this is causing some concern across the border in Liberia, which was very badly affected in that outbreak some years ago. And the health authorities there have been put on maximum alert, even though as things stand, there have been no confirmed cases in Liberia.
How well prepared is Guinea? And also, is Ebola still as dangerous as it was there? There is now a vaccine.
Yeah, there are now two vaccines available for Ebola. So it is not as dangerous as it used to be because it really is a very deadly disease for people and a horrible way to die. But now that we have these vaccines and also organizations like the World Health Organization and those countries themselves have learned about how to deal with Ebola, they're very good at tracking people down, isolating people who've come into contact with those who suffer from the disease so they are better prepared than they were.
But infrastructure is weak. Often these outbreaks occur in fairly remote areas. There's also an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is now having its 12th Ebola outbreak as we speak. So they are challenging environments. And, of course, Africa, even though it hasn't been so badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, it is also dealing with that at the same time is now confronting these new waves of the Ebola virus.
Mary Harper, supporters of the jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, have been holding torch lit vigils and Valentine's Day themed protests despite warnings that they could face arrest. Earlier in the day, women formed human chains in central Moscow, holding roses and black paper hearts, chanting Love is stronger than fear.
What you want to do is we're against arbitrary police violence.
As you can see, we're standing here peacefully, not bothering anyone. Why should we be attacked if we're doing nothing?
Our correspondent Sarah Rainsford is in Moscow and told me about the day's events.
We were just hearing there from a woman at the earliest protest today that was on the Arbat Street in central Moscow, where there were around 250 or so women who turned out, which sounds like a small number. But remember, the price you can pay for protesting here in Russia is pretty high from getting detained to getting kicked out of college to criminal prosecution. So these women came out and they stood in this human chain, which they called a chain of solidarity and love, and they stood there with roses and placards to remember the people that they're calling political prisoners.
So other women who they say are being personally. Use it for their political views, so people particularly who were detained at those massive protests that they were in support of Alexei Navalny, the opposition politician, in January and also in support of his wife, who was also questioned and indeed faced a fine because of her presence at one of the protests in support of Alexei Navalny. So a fairly substantive event for Moscow, which, unusually for Russia, didn't end in mass arrests.
There were no riot police there, even though this is an unsanctioned event. And even though the authorities had warned in advance that anything that happened today would be considered as a criminal criminal event and people could face prosecution.
And it's not the only change in tactics by the opposition.
As we've talked of the torch light vigils house the Kremlin responding to this new approach by the opposition. Well, yeah, it's interesting.
The other thing is to take the protests online. So essentially the opposition have said, look, the arrests are enormous. We've seen thousands and thousands of people detained and facing problems from the police. So for now, we're going to pause the big protest. We're going to take it online. So there was this big flash mob today. We saw people in their yards lighting little candles in the snow and holding up torches to show their support from the valley and their opposition to Vladimir Putin.
So far, there's been no reaction. I think actually there'll be a big shrug from the Kremlin. They've been playing these things down all along and they'll certainly be playing down things that are online protest if they're not on the streets and not so visible to to the sort of normal naked eye.
Our correspondent Sarah Rainsford in Moscow, in Catalonia, which tried to break away from Spain three years ago, independence parties are on course to increase their majority in the regional parliament following an election. It was the first election in Catalonia since 2017 when there was a bid for independence. Three years on, how big an issue is independence, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic? Our correspondent in Spain is Guy Hedgecoe.
The figures we have from a couple of hours ago show that turnout was down by nearly 25 percentage points compared to the last election in 2017. Now, there has been some bad weather in Catalonia, so that might have been one cause. But the overall feeling is that worries about covid-19 have kept people away today. So turnout does seem to be much lower than normal, although there were people voting until quite a bit later than normal because there were some big queues due to safety measures.
Yeah, because the last hour was actually reserved for people with coronavirus and people in quarantine. How does that work?
Yes, that's right. I mean, that was part of a very carefully choreographed day of voting overall, because in the morning, the Catalan government encouraged people with underlying health conditions or older people to go out and vote until midday. And then other Catalans were encouraged to go out and vote from midday onwards until that last hour, which was reserved specifically for people with covid-19 or people who are in quarantine. And the idea there was that there were extra safety measures put in place.
People manning the ballot boxes wore PPE personal protective equipment for that last hour. There was obviously a lot of ventilation and social distancing going on as well throughout the day.
And in a few seconds ago, is independence still the number one issue for Catalans?
Well, in this campaign, there was a lot more talk about health care and the economy and jobs because of the impact of covid, as you would expect. But it is still an important issue, the issue of independence and Catalonia's relationship with Spain. So people are going to be watching very closely this result to see how big the pro independence vote is overall and how big the unionist vote is overall. Guy Hedgecoe.
Still to come in this podcast. Motorbikes on ice. Mexico has lost over 170000 lives to covid, the third highest death toll in the world, but it has also lost more than 300000 lives in its decade long war on drugs in the city of Tijuana, just across the border with the United States.
This double pandemic is plain to see. For a week, the BBC followed a paramedic couple from the Red Cross juggling these two high risk emergencies. And Lawrence has the story. And just a warning, some listeners may find the following report upsetting.
This is the sound of a city overwhelmed with emergencies, probably covid. Daniel is a paramedic for the Red Cross. He's been working in the streets of Tijuana for the past two decades. That's OK, then we're heading to a house call for an unconscious man. This is important to after 2014, after checking the patient's pulse, he has to break the news to his wife.
OK, and so your FICA, your husband has passed away. It can't be true. He's still warm me up at all.
Yes, but the problem with Coburn is that they stopped breathing.
This man was just 49 years old. More common than most. Unfortunately, it's very common, it's only 11:00 in the morning and other colleagues have also reported several deaths due to Corbitt. It's fear of going to the hospital, of being treated. Many people think that if they stay at home, they will get better. They take medicines they would take for a normal flu.
And it doesn't work if you don't call for medical intervention in another ambulance on the other side of town, then his wife, Aida, is suiting up for another covid emergency. She's putting on her hazmat suit, three pairs of gloves and her respiratory mask. She knows firsthand what it's like to save a life by risking her own life in thought as they consider to be more than I already got copied.
And I'm afraid I'll get infected again. I'm scared I could give it to someone in my family.
As she takes her patient into the ambulance to transfer her to a hospital, she's surrounded by family members.
Doctor, can we talk to her? Yes, but at a distance, look back at base.
Don't time his cares for this husband and wife. In a city of about two million people with only a dozen ambulances available, emergency calls keep coming. And when the night falls, they are faced with another pandemic, gun violence. Between covid related emergencies and cases of violence has become the new normal for paramedics like ADA. This is because the Red Cross, the emergency service she's working for, is the only one in the city of Tijuana fully prepared to attend this kind of high risk emergencies.
The police has just secured the shooting scene. And as aid goes into the house, she finds a man lying on the floor with no pulse.
She calls the doctor on duty to report the death threat is down.
He had two gunshot wound to the chest and pronounced him dead at the scene with over 170000 lives lost to covid in Mexico and a surge in gun violence despite lockdowns, the job of this paramedic couple is unlikely to get easier any time soon.
And Lauren in Tijuana, a woman who accused the former first minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, of sexual assault has said it has become much harder for women to make complaints in the aftermath of his acquittal. The woman, who can't be named for legal reasons, has told the BBC that a committee of inquiry into the handling of earlier allegations about Mr Salmond has become so political she's finding it more traumatic than his trial has. Our Scotland political editor Glen Campbell.
Alex Salmond was cleared of all charges and considers himself the victim of a political plot. He's pursuing that claim partly through the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish government's mishandling of earlier harassment complaints against him. The woman who's spoken to the BBC said the inquiry had turned into a political fight.
It's actually, in many ways more traumatic than the experience of the high court trial and more traumatic, I think. I think so because they have taken your very personal experiences and they have exploited them for their own self-serving political interests.
It was obviously a big decision for you to make a complaint. Do you think that women are more or less likely to do that now than they were before all of this?
This has made it much harder for women to be believed and for women to be able to come forward.
The committee convenor, Lynda Fabiani, has offered a personal apology for any hurt the inquiries caused and the hope that it will result in improved protection for women. The committee expects to call both Alex Salmond and his successor as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, as witnesses in the coming weeks.
Glen Campbell, his private life, made money for the tabloids and his presidency oversaw an economic boom. Carlos Menem, who led Argentina from 1989 to 1999, has died at the age of 90. Our Americas editor Counterspy, it looks back at his life.
Carlos Minims political career, both as president and later as senator, was characterised by scandal and controversy. Elected to the presidency in 1989, he was known affectionately and pejoratively in Argentina as the Turk with his signature long sideburns. During his terms in office, Mr. Menem became known for his love of the highlife, driving a red Ferrari and socialising with film stars and footballers. His second wife was a Chilean beauty queen, 35 years his junior. He was president at the time of the 1994 explosion of the AMIA center in Buenos Aires, one of the biggest Jewish community centers in the city.
The bombing was suspected of being the work of Iranian terrorists, and Mr. Menem, born in Argentina of Syrian parents, was later investigated, along with 13 other people accused of covering up Syrian connections to the bomb plot to protect family friends. The AMIA bombing remains unsolved. Mr. Menem denied involvement as senator. He was arrested in 2001 over a weapons export scandal. He denied all charges. In 2015, he was sentenced to four and a half years for embezzlement.
But because of his age and his political immunity as senator was not put behind bars. His supporters remember him as a charismatic leader who brought economic stability in the 80s to Argentina by pegging the currency to the dollar, a close ally of the United States. He was one of the few Latin American presidents to send troops to the first Gulf War. He also re-established relations with Britain, which had been broken since the 1982 Falklands Malvinas war.
Candace Peut. And now fancy trying this. The sound of a motorbike.
Yes, but not where you might expect some people in the Netherlands have ignored warnings of thin ice and the risk of spreading coronavirus to take advantage of the impact of freezing temperatures frozen over canals.
And that was one individual brave enough or stupid enough to take his motorbike for an ice spin, hopefully not literally. Meanwhile, a Dutch ex speed skating champion has been racing to finish a 200 kilometre course before an evening covid-19 curfew. Hank Ungallant is the last winner of the Stadin talked skating race, last held in 1997 and keenly followed by millions of fans. Anna Holligan has the story.
Days of below zero temperatures raised expectations that the legendary elf stayed and competition might be held this week. But even if the ice had reached the required 15 centimeters thick throughout the entire 200 kilometre route, coronavirus related restrictions prohibiting mass gatherings made hosting such an event impossible. The reigning champion, 53 year old Hank Antonet, had hoped to complete the course solo, but hindered by a sawney, rising temperatures, bad ice and a nine p.m. curfew. He abandoned the marathon after eight of the 11 cities and Holligan in the Netherlands.
And that's all from us for now.
But there'll be an updated version of the Global News podcast later. If you want to comment on this podcast or the topics covered in it, you can send us an email address is Global Podcast at BBC, Dot Seo Dot UK. The producer today was Peter Goffin, the studio manager, Emma Halligan, and the editor is Karen Martin. I'm Alex Ritz. And until next time, goodbye.