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Pataxos Indian protesting a bill by Brazil's government to defend the demarcation of lands.
Pataxos Indian protesting a bill by Brazil's government to defend the demarcation of lands.

Welcome to Friday, where the global COVID-19 death toll exceeds 4 million, ousted Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo is back in town and Joe Biden makes Juneteenth official. We also go to Hong Kong where so-called "vaccine hesitancy" is particularly high as a direct result of rising mistrust of the government.

• Global COVID-19 death toll exceeds 4 million: It took more than a year for the death toll to hit 2 million while the next 2 million were recorded in just 166 days. The number of coronavirus cases are decreasing in countries like the United States and Britain but in many other places cases are soaring due to new variants and vaccine shortages.

• New Israel-Hamas exchange of fire: For the second time since last month's ceasefire, Israel conducted dozens of air strikes on the Gaza after Palestinian militants launched incendiary balloons. There are no immediate reports of casualties.

• 80 students abducted in Nigeria school attack: Gunmen killed a police officer and kidnapped at least 80 students (mostly girls) and five teachers from a school in the Nigerian state of Kebbi. The attack is the third mass kidnapping in three weeks, which has been attributed to bandits seeking ransom payments.

• Ousted leader Gbagbo returns to Ivory Coast: Laurent Gbagbo, former President of the Ivory Coast who was ousted during a 2011 civil war, returned home after a decade of exile. Gbagbo was recently acquitted of war crimes in the Hague, and was greeted by a crowd of supporters upon landing late Thursday.

• North Korea is preparing for "dialogue and confrontation" with the U.S.: North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un outlined his strategy for relations with Washington and warned the U.S. to get ready for a "fast-changing" security situation. The country has previously accused Joe Biden, who refuses to meet Kim unless there is a concrete plan for negotiating Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal, of pursuing a "hostile policy."

• Iranians vote in Presidential elections marred by disqualifications: Opinion polls suggest that Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative Shia cleric who is head of the judiciary, is the clear favorite. But dissidents and reformists have called for a boycott, arguing that the barring of several contenders left Raisi with no serious competition. Turnout could be a historic low which would pose a problem for the country's leaders, who see voting as a sign of legitimacy.

• World's third largest diamond found in Botswana: A 1,098 carat diamond, believed to be the third-largest of its kind, has been discovered in Debswana, Botswana. It's behind the 3,106-carat Cullinan stone recovered in South Africa in 1905 and the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona unearthed in Botswana in 2015. The finding comes at a perfect time for Botswana, which receives 80% of the income from Debswana's sales.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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