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  1. Algeria to offer free Covid vaccine 'from next month'

    Ahmed Rouaba

    BBC News

    A vaccine against coronavirus will be rolled out "free for all Algerians" starting in "a month's time", says a senior health official in the north African country.

    Prof Kamel Sanhadji, president of the National Agency for Health Security, told a regional radio station in the eastern province of Setif that having the vaccine will not be mandatory.

    It is not known which vaccine Algeria has opted for but the health official said that his country would not acquire a vaccine "unless it is approved by the World Health Organization".

    Prof Sanhadji pointed out that Algeria has "the means and capacity to acquire all vaccines including those that require lower temperature storage".

    He added that international flights from and to the country "would not resume until the vaccination had started".

    A health passport will then be required for all passengers to prove they have taken the vaccine.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Qatar cash and cows help buck Gulf boycott

    One year on from the Gulf blockade of Qatar, the super-rich emirate is finding ways to get by.

  3. Egypt accused of 'execution spree'

    BBC World Service

    People hold banners and flags as they gather to stage a protest against executions in Egypt, in front of the New York Times Building, in New York, United States,
    Image caption: People in the US hold banners and flags as they gather to stage a protest against executions in Egypt

    Amnesty International has condemned a sharp rise in the use of the death penalty in Egypt - accusing the government of a "horrifying execution spree".

    The campaign group says the Egyptian authorities executed at least 57 people in October and November alone - nearly double the number recorded in the whole of 2019.

    At least 15 of these executions were related to political violence and sometimes after what Amnesty International described as "grossly unfair" mass trials.

    The group said the real number was likely to be far higher as the Egyptian authorities do not publish statistics on executions.

    More than 30 additional executions were reported in pro-government media during the same time period but Amnesty International was not able to independently verify these.

  4. Tunisian protesters start fire over gas shortage

    BBC World Service

    Angry residents in southwest Tunisia have set fire to a provincial government building during a protest about a shortage of gas for their homes.

    The demonstrators in the town of Tozeur had also been demanding that the authorities take steps to ease high unemployment in the area.

    Tunisia made a transition to democracy following its Arab Spring revolution nearly 10 years ago.

    But since then, its economy has stagnated and living standards have fallen.

  5. Questions remain over return of Algerian president

    Ahmed Rouaba

    BBC News

    Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune
    Image caption: President Abdelmadjid Tebboune left for Germany for treatment at the end of October

    Concern persists among Algerians about the health condition of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune despite the latest statement by his office saying “the president will return home in the coming days”.

    The 75-year-old has been receiving treatment in a German hospital for more than a month.

    While some Algerians welcomed the news others raised questions about the lack of clarity regarding the health condition of the country’s leader.

    The government’s statement does not specify a return date for the president neither does it say whether he would resume his role.

    The absence of the president has put the country in a state of limbo and there are concerns his convalescence could take a while.

    Mr Tebboune needs to approve the government’s budget proposal which is due before the end of the month. He is also expected to sign into law the constitutional amendments voted for in last month’s referendum.

    If the president is declared unable to fulfil his duties, the speaker of the upper house of parliament, Salah Goudjil, 89, will take over as interim president.

  6. Video content

    Video caption: Assassinated nuclear scientist buried in Iran

    Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed on Friday in an attack Iran blame on Israel.