Welcome to WorldSign Week!
WORLD: COVID-19 vaccine and travel rules.
ETHIOPIA: Hundreds killed in a massacre.
THAILAND: "Drug bust" a misunderstanding.
GERMANY: Quota for women executives.
[Nicola]: There are now several COVID-19 vaccines
that report above 90% effectiveness.
This week, Russia reported that its vaccine Sputnik
is more than 95% efficient.
Preliminary data shows that its comparable to the vaccines produced
by Pfizer and Moderna.
The Sputnik vaccine is estimated to cost no more than $10 USD,
which is half of what the Pfizer vaccine will cost.
Another drugmaker AstraZeneca touts its vaccine as being 90% effective,
relatively cheap, and easy to store.
Since it can be stored at fridge temperatures,
it could be distributed around the world through current methods of distribution.
This would be good news for the worlds poorest
nations as the World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned
that developing countries might not be able to buy and store vaccines.
WHO is encouraging countries to join COVAX,
a global organization working to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
More than 187 countries have already joined this alliance.
Testing for COVID-19 has become a part of international travel.
People arriving in England can cut their quarantine time in half if
they pay for a test at the airport.
Qantas Airline announced that international travelers would need
to show proof of vaccination in the future before they
will be allowed to fly.
China suggested that countries implement a QR code system to
screen passengers health.
China already uses QR codes in their own country.
A green code would allow someone to travel freely and orange or red
means the person needs to quarantine.
Critics and human rights groups are concerned these codes could be
used for political monitoring and surveillance.
[Nicola]: At least 600 civilians were killed in the massacre in
Ethiopias Tigray region on November 9th.
Hundreds of people were stabbed, beaten, set on fire,
and strangled to death by a local youth rebel group called Samri.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) investigated the
attacks and reported that the acts were war crimes against humans.
The Samri, with help from local officials and police,
went door to door killing civilians because of their ethnicity.
The attackers used knives and machetes as well as ropes and hatchets.
Many other people were injured and their property was stolen or damaged.
Some ethnic Tigrayans were saved when other residents
hid them in their homes, churches, and fields.
Tigray has been at war with Ethiopias National Defense since November 4th,
when the Ethiopian Prime Minister ordered airstrikes on the region.
Both sides have been accused of crimes against civilians.
At least 40,000 refugees have fled the region trying to enter
neighboring country Sudan.
[Nicola]: Thai authorities announced they had seized almost
$1 billion USD worth of ketamine,
but it was discovered that they werent actually drugs.
This week, the Thai Justice Minister announced that
there was a technical error in the testing.
The 475 sacks contained a white granular substance that was
initially believed to be ketamine because the testing fluid turned purple.
When the sacks were taken to a lab,
the substance was identified as trisodium phosphate.
Trisodium phosphate, like ketamine, turns the testing fluid purple,
but it is not a drug.
Ketamine is an anesthetic or an antidepressant drug.
When used recreationally, it induces hallucinations,
so the sacks were believed to be smuggled drugs.
Trisodium phosphate is a chemical that can be used
as a food additive or a stain remover.
It is also used in the production of milk.
So far, 66 of the sacks tested to be trisodium phosphate.
The other seized sacks are still being tested.
The Minister apologized for what appeared to be a premature press conference.
He also said that officials from agencies that deal
with illicit drugs would be invited to a seminar on what kind of
ingredients test purple.
[Nicola]: The German government has approved a mandatory quota for
women on companies executive boards.
Companies with management boards of at least three executives must
have at least one woman in one of those positions.
Some business lobby groups support the effort
to appoint women to leadership positions,
but they also question if setting a minimum amount is wise.
Critics say it may result in unfair promotions.
The government has encouraged gender equality in the workplace,
but doing it voluntarily has not worked.
This decision was made after statistics showed that Germany had
fewer women on management boards this year than a year ago.
According to a nonprofit report,
less than 15% of management boards in Germanys 30 largest companies
have hired women in leadership roles.
Not one of those companies is led by a woman.
Five other EU member countries - Belgium,
France, Italy, Austria, and Portugal -
have adopted mandatory gender quotas for women executive boards.
Norway was the first country to pass a law and women now hold
40% of executive board positions.
-Thank you for watching WorldSign Week and see you next time!