- Brexit: ‘Large gaps’ remain after trade talks with Ursula von der Leyen.
- MPs could be kept at Westminster until Christmas Eve to pass Brexit deal, Speaker says.
- Spain’s former King Juan Carlos pays back taxes after leaving amid scandal.
- Netanyahu vows to be FIRST to take Pfizer jab & ‘encourages’ all Israelis to follow suit… if they want a ‘green passport’.
- Iran faces UN probe into dissident massacres covered up for 30 years.
- US Senate backs massive arms sales to UAE after Trump veto threat.
- Hunter Biden tax probe focuses on business dealings in China.
- Trump Vows to Carry On Election Fight.
- Spider-Man 3: Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield to reprise web-slinging roles alongside Tom Holland.
- Paolo Rossi, Italy’s 1982 World Cup hero, dies aged 64
Brexit: ‘Large gaps’ remain after trade talks with Ursula von der Leyen
BBC News says Boris Johnson’s dinner with the EU chief – aimed at breaking the Brexit trade deadlock – has ended without agreement.
A No 10 spokesperson said “very large gaps remain” but talks will continue, with a “firm decision” by Sunday on whether a deal can be reached.
Mrs von der Leyen said the two sides were still “far apart”.
MPs could be kept at Westminster until Christmas Eve to pass Brexit deal, Speaker says
Sky News says Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle says he is prepared to keep MPs at Westminster until Christmas Eve if necessary to get a Brexit deal through Parliament.
He told Sky News the current plan is for the Commons to rise on 21 December, but it would be better to sit for a few more days rather than go through the difficulty of returning MPs after breaking up.
Spain’s former King Juan Carlos pays back taxes after leaving amid scandal
France24 says Spain’s former King Juan Carlos, who left his homeland under a cloud of scandal, has settled a back tax bill worth over 678,000 euros including interest and fines, his lawyers said on Wednesday.
The lawyer’s statement provided no details on what the back taxes were for. But the newspaper El Pais said earlier the former monarch sought to settle certain alleged illegal credit card transactions with the revenue service to avoid being charged in an investigation and to be able to return to Spain.
Netanyahu vows to be FIRST to take Pfizer jab & ‘encourages’ all Israelis to follow suit… if they want a ‘green passport’
RT News says PM Netanyahu has volunteered to be the first Israeli to receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, saying he would serve as an “example” as the country gears up for mass distribution and a vax “passport” system.
“I asked… to develop a green passport plan by which whoever receives a vaccine will be able to show a card or an app that will enable them to enter events, malls, facilities and all kinds of services,” he said.
Iran faces UN probe into dissident massacres covered up for 30 years
Arab News says Iran faces a UN investigation into massacres of imprisoned dissidents that the regime in Tehran has tried to cover up for more than 30 years.
Thousands of mainly young people were executed without trial in Iran in 1988, as the war with Iraq was ending. Those killed were mainly supporters of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), which had backed Baghdad in the conflict.
US Senate backs massive arms sales to UAE after Trump veto threat
Aljazeera says the US Senate has defeated an effort to block the Trump administration’s sale of $23bn in advanced fighter jets and drones to the UAE.
President Trump had issued a formal threat to veto congressional efforts to block the planned weapons transfer, which is tied to the UAE’s normalisation of ties with Israel under the “Abraham Accords”.
Hunter Biden tax probe focuses on business dealings in China
TRT World says the Justice Department is investigating the finances of President-elect Joe Biden’s son, including scrutinising some of his Chinese business dealings and other transactions.
The revelation about the probe includes no details, but it promises to rekindle Republican rage about the Biden family, including Hunter Biden’s business dealings and the elder Biden’s anti-corruption push in Ukraine when he was US vice president.
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Trump Vows to Carry On Election Fight
Donald Trump vowed to carry on his fight to upend Joe Biden’s victory in last month’s nationwide election in a new Supreme Court case after the high court rejected an attempt to overturn Biden’s key win in the eastern battleground state of Pennsylvania. – VOA
Portugal’s immigration chief resigns months after Ukrainian man dies at Lisbon airport
The head of Portugal’s immigration service has resigned after months of backlash, following the death of a Ukrainian man in Lisbon airport. Ihor Homeniuk had tried to enter Portugal without a valid visa last March and was detained by immigration authorities after refusing to board a flight out of the country. – Euronews
Ethiopia and Kenya inaugurate new border post to boost trade
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his Kenyan counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated a new border post on Wednesday in the Kenyan town of Mayale to bolster trade. – Africanews
Arab Coalition destroys two booby-trapped boats launched by Houthis south of Red Sea
The Arab Coalition said it has destroyed and intercepted two booby-trapped boats south of the Red Sea that were launched by the Houthi militia. – Arab News
South Korea scrambles to build container hospital beds to combat third COVID-19 wave
South Korean authorities scrambled on Thursday to build shipping container hospital beds to alleviate medical facilities stretched by the latest coronavirus wave, which shows little sign of abating with 682 new cases. – CNA