Factal Forecast

Olympics COVID roundtable, Madrid elections, Suez Canal ship case, Colombia disappearances, India vaccinations

April 29, 2021 Factal Episode 3
Factal Forecast
Olympics COVID roundtable, Madrid elections, Suez Canal ship case, Colombia disappearances, India vaccinations
Chapters
Factal Forecast
Olympics COVID roundtable, Madrid elections, Suez Canal ship case, Colombia disappearances, India vaccinations
Apr 29, 2021 Episode 3
Factal

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee has scheduled a roundtable with medical experts to discuss measures against coronavirus. Voters head to the polls in Madrid. An Egyptian court is set to hear an appeal from the owner of the containership that ran aground in the Suez Canal. A UN committee is expected to deliver a report evaluating the situation of forced disappearances in Colombia. And an interview with Factal editor Imana Gunawan on India's efforts to vaccinate all adults.

These stories and more are available in our weekly Forecast email and you can subscribe for free.

This episode was produced with work from Factal editors Vivian Wang, Joe Veyera, Ahmed Namatalla, Irene Villora and Imana Gunawan.  Music courtesy of Andrew Gospe.

Have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed? Drop us a note: hello@factal.com

What's Factal? Created by the founders of Breaking News, Factal alerts companies to global incidents that pose an immediate risk to their people or business operations. We provide trusted verification, precise incident mapping and a collaboration platform for corporate security, travel safety and emergency management teams.

If you're a company interested in a trial, please email sales@factal.com. To learn more, visit Factal.com, browse the Factal blog or email us at hello@factal.com.

Show Notes Transcript

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee has scheduled a roundtable with medical experts to discuss measures against coronavirus. Voters head to the polls in Madrid. An Egyptian court is set to hear an appeal from the owner of the containership that ran aground in the Suez Canal. A UN committee is expected to deliver a report evaluating the situation of forced disappearances in Colombia. And an interview with Factal editor Imana Gunawan on India's efforts to vaccinate all adults.

These stories and more are available in our weekly Forecast email and you can subscribe for free.

This episode was produced with work from Factal editors Vivian Wang, Joe Veyera, Ahmed Namatalla, Irene Villora and Imana Gunawan.  Music courtesy of Andrew Gospe.

Have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed? Drop us a note: hello@factal.com

What's Factal? Created by the founders of Breaking News, Factal alerts companies to global incidents that pose an immediate risk to their people or business operations. We provide trusted verification, precise incident mapping and a collaboration platform for corporate security, travel safety and emergency management teams.

If you're a company interested in a trial, please email sales@factal.com. To learn more, visit Factal.com, browse the Factal blog or email us at hello@factal.com.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

JIMMY LOVAAS, HOST:

Welcome to the Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories and what they mean from the editors at Factal. I’m Jimmy Lovaas.

Today is April 29th.

In this week’s forecast we’ll check in on the coronavirus measures at the 2020 Olympics, snap elections in Madrid, a court hearing on the ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal, a UN report on forced disappearances in Columbia, and an update on the coronavirus situation in India. 

You can read about these stories and more in our weekly newsletter, which you can find a link to in the show notes.

Tokyo 2020 committee holds roundtable on COVID
Information compiled by Vivian Wang

JIMMY: On Friday, the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee will hold a roundtable with medical experts to discuss measures against coronavirus.

With fewer than 100 days until the Olympics are scheduled to begin, Japan is dealing with an array of coronavirus-related challenges, including rising case numbers, low vaccination rates and newly declared states of emergency in major metropolitan areas.

The Olympic torch relay is already underway but has faced its own set of troubles, including athletes pulling out, detours and cancellations.

Even as Japan struggles to control its coronavirus situation and public resistance to the event remains high, officials seem determined to press forward with the Olympics.

Friday’s roundtable is unlikely to change that, but organizers are expected to continue unveiling more specific guidelines on how the games will be pulled off in the midst of a pandemic.

Snap elections in Madrid, Spain
Information compiled by Joe Veyera

JIMMY: On Tuesday, voters in Madrid, Spain, will cast ballots in the region’s snap election. 

The regional government’s coronavirus response will no doubt be front and center.

Madrid’s incumbent President Isabel Diaz Ayuso called the election in March, ending what had been a tenuous coalition between her center-right People’s Party and the liberal Ciudadanos party.

Ayuso has headed the regional government since 2019 and has been called a "lockdown skeptic" for her resistance to close bars, restaurants and entertainment venues during the pandemic.

That, in stark contrast to much of Europe.

The run-up to the election has also been plagued by threats to several left-wing figures.

The latest polling suggests Ayuso's decision to call an election may pay off handsomely, with her party well ahead, while their coalition partner is likely to be shut out entirely.

The far-right VOX party stands to benefit as a potential new governing partner if Ayuso's People's Party falls short of an outright majority.

Hearing on Suez Canal ship
Information compiled by  Ahmed Namatalla

JIMMY: Also on Tuesday, an Egyptian court is set to hear an appeal from the owner of the Ever Given -- that’s the containership that ran aground in the Suez Canal last month, blocking one of the world’s busiest marine traffic routes for six days.

The ship’s owner is appealing the court’s ruling that gave the waterway’s administrator the right to detain the vessel until it’s paid compensation.

Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority wants $916 million for dislodging the ship and it’s seized the vessel -- with 25 crewmembers, all Indian nationals — until the sum is paid.

The ship’s owner and insurer argue the claim is too high and not supported. They’re alleging the demanded compensation includes $300 million for a ‘salvage bonus’ and a similar amount for ‘loss of reputation.’

Suez Canal revenues have averaged about $5.4 billion annually over the past five years.

Tension has escalated over the impounded ship, with the head of India’s seafarers union accusing the Suez Canal Authority of holding the ship’s crew for "ransom," -- a claim the waterway administrator has denied.

The ship’s owner aims to overturn the court’s initial ruling by outlining five alleged procedural violations.

Meanwhile, the vessel’s insurer said it will continue to "negotiate in good faith with the Suez Canal Authority to reach an amicable solution." 

It’s unclear whether the company would have recourse internationally if its efforts in Egyptian courts fail.

UN committee on report about forced disappearances in Colombia
Information compiled by Irene Villora

JIMMY: On Wednesday, a UN committee is expected to deliver a report on forced disappearances in Colombia.

While the exact number of forced disappearances during Colombia’s conflict is unclear, at least one report recorded more than 63,000 missing people.

Humanitarian agencies claim the number is higher.

Colombia has reported to the UN on the matter since 2012, most recently earlier this month.

Colombian officials said the country is strengthening its fight against forced disappearances, but blamed drug cartels and guerrilla dissidents for the continuing problem.

Multiple Colombian governments have also been accused of enforced disappearances,with state agents reportedly committing more than 6,000 extrajudicial executions between 2002 and 2008 just to pad the list of enemies killed in combat.

Although the main goal of the upcoming UN report is to ensure Colombia is fulfilling its obligations under international convention, it’s unclear if it is being transparent in its reports.

Human rights groups claim former military commanders tried during the peace process are not being listed as forced disappearances.

The UN will issue recommendations according to the latest reports, but it is unclear whether Colombia’s openly pro-conflict government will adhere to the guidelines.

India opens vaccines to everyone age 18 and older
Information compiled by Imana Gunawan

JIMMY: Our last item for this forecast is a look at the coronavirus situation in India. For more on that I spoke with Factal editor Imana Gunawan.

IMANA: Hey!

JIMMY: Hey, so let's just dive right into this. What's going on in India seems like they're in the midst of a pretty serious situation with COVID. What's the latest there?

IMANA: So this Saturday, all Indian citizens that are 18 years old and older are now eligible to receive a vaccine. Currently, only healthcare and frontline workers are eligible or adults over 45 years old are eligible for the vaccine. So this is their third phase of inoculation campaign which is especially crucial, given skyrocketing cases across the country right now.

JIMMY: Well, I've gonna be honest, the word skyrocketing doesn't sound too encouraging. How many cases do they have there?

IMANA: So it's been a pretty dire situation, there's now at least 15 million cases and more than 178,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Just recently, India recorded more than a million new cases in less than a week, which is pretty stark, and they've been setting daily, national and world case records.

JIMMY: That is sobering. What's the vaccination program? How's that been working?

IMANA: Yeah, so, it's interesting because despite having rolled out one of the fastest vaccination drives in the world, it's really unclear at this point, if India has enough doses, or is even logistically able to meet the expanded demand. In, you know, kind of a short notice. India is the world's second most populous country, but it is also the largest vaccine producer. But you know, even now, several states say that they might have to postpone the start of the third phase, just because of supply shortages, with you know, vaccination centers being closed and stuff because of these shortages.

JIMMY: How are they handling the costs? Is there a charge to get vaccinated in India?

IMANA: So beginning May 1, the central government is basically planning to continue vaccinating those already eligible for free and private providers will be able to charge and provide jabs to anyone that's over 18 years old.

JIMMY: Gotcha. What vaccines are they using?

IMANA: So far, India has given doses of two approved vaccines. The first is the AstraZeneca jab that's actually made in India as Covishield. And then there's also the locally produced Covaxin vaccine. The Russia made Sputnik V vaccine has also been approved in the country with the first batch to arrive on May 1, which is the day when the third phase is supposed to start.

JIMMY: Are they not using the Pfizer vaccine? Or any of the other available vaccines?

IMANA: So actually, due to supply shortages, the central government recently gave emergency approvals for vaccines approved in other countries which, you know, includes those made by Pfizer and Moderna. However, it hasn't really given any details yet on whether those jabs will be procured by the central government or state government or how, what the logistics of that will be.

JIMMY: I see. Well, thank you for the update. Hopefully, this next phase in the vaccine program will help them well flatten that curve and save some lives.

IMANA: Yeah. It's it's been a dire situation there. So I hope that it really helps things out in terms of the healthcare strain and everything. So we'll be keeping an eye on things for sure.

JIMMY: Excellent. Thank you.

IMANA: Thanks, Jimmy.

JIMMY: Take care.

JIMMY: Thanks for listening to the Factal Forecast. We publish our forward-looking podcast each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead. You can, of course, subscribe for free. And if you have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed, drop us a note by emailing hello@factal.com”

This transcript may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability not guaranteed. 

Copyright © 2021 Factal. All rights reserved.

Music: 'Factal Theme' courtesy of Andrew Gospe