News Briefing Video
- UK can still be gateway to Europe for car giants after Brexit, says auto boss
- China blocks entry to WHO team studying Covid’s origins
- Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy figures arrested under national security law
- Israeli firm in Gaza extracts drinking water from air
- No charges against police officer who shot Jacob Blake
- Iran asks Interpol to arrest Trump, 47 others over Soleimani’s killing
- Outcomes Uncertain in Key US Senate Runoff Elections in Georgia
- Washington braced for violence as Congress meets to certify Biden victory
- Pan-EU food supply chains hit by Brexit trade deal
- FTSE 100 chief executives ‘earn average salary within 3 days’
- Stocks fall as investors brace for possible ‘blue sweep’ in Georgia
Grammy Awards postponed until March
Covid: England’s third national lockdown legally comes into force
BBC News says England’s third national lockdown has legally come into force, with MPs set to vote retrospectively on it later.
The measures, which include a stay-at-home order and the closure of schools to most pupils, were announced by Boris on Monday.
All of the UK is now under strict virus curbs, with Wales, Northern Ireland and most of Scotland also in lockdown.
It comes after the number of new daily confirmed cases of Covid in the UK topped 60,000 for the first time.
UK can still be gateway to Europe for car giants after Brexit, says auto boss
CityAM says the UK can still be the gateway to Europe for foreign carmakers despite the challenges of leaving the EU, the head of the country’s biggest auto trade body has said.
Mike Hawes said that the UK would still be able to compete with rivals in the trading bloc after Brexit.
“The fundamentals of the industry are still strong. We still have a highly flexible, highly skilled workforce. We still have access to that massive European market tariff-free.”
China blocks entry to WHO team studying Covid’s origins
The Guardian says China has blocked the arrival of a team from the WHO investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that their visas had not yet been approved even as some members of the group were on their way.
The WHO’s director general expressed his dismay and said he had called on China to allow the team in. “I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members have already begun their journeys, and others were not able to travel at the last minute,” he said.
“But I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials. And I have once again made it clear that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team.”
Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy figures arrested under national security law
France24 says China’s crackdown in Hong Kong escalated dramatically on Wednesday with police arresting as many as 50 opposition figures in their largest operation since a draconian security law was imposed on the financial hub.
The sweep is the latest salvo in Beijing’s battle to stamp out opposition in the semi-autonomous business hub after millions hit the streets in 2019 with huge and sometimes violent democracy protests.
Two senior police sources who both requested anonymity told AFP “around 50” had been arrested by the city’s new national security unit on Wednesday morning.
Israeli firm in Gaza extracts drinking water from air
Arab News says the Gaza Strip has long lacked sufficient drinking water, but a new project helps ease the shortage with a solar-powered process to extract potable water straight from the air.
Unusually, the project operating in the Islamist-run Palestinian enclave, which has been blockaded by Israel since 2007, is the brainchild of a Russian-Israeli billionaire, Michael Mirilashvili.
His company, Watergen, has developed the atmospheric water generators that can produce 5,000 to 6,000 liters (1,300 to more than 1,500 gallons) of drinking water per day, depending on the air’s humidity.
No charges against police officer who shot Jacob Blake
Aljazeera says a Wisconsin prosecutor announced that he will not file criminal charges against a white police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha last year, leaving him paralysed and sparking protests in the city and across the United States.
Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times on August 23 as Blake was about to get into a 4X4 during a domestic dispute.
The police union has said Blake resisted arrest and was armed with a knife, although state investigators have said only that a knife was found on the floor of the vehicle. Blake’s three children were in the back seat of the 4X4 when he was shot.
Iran asks Interpol to arrest Trump, 47 others over Soleimani’s killing
TRT World says Iran has issued a second arrest warrant for Donald Trump and 47 other US officials over the killing of its top general Qasem Soleimani last year and requested Interpol to issue a red notice for their arrest.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is very seriously following up on pursuing and punishing those who ordered and executed this crime,” Iranian judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili said on Tuesday.
The red notice request coincides with the anniversary of Soleimani’s killing in a US air strike in Baghdad.
Outcomes Uncertain in Key US Senate Runoff Elections in Georgia
VOA says two pivotal U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia were too close to call Tuesday night.
The outcomes of the closely watched contests will determine political control in the Senate during the first two years of Joe Biden’s term in the White House.
But with roughly 98% of the vote counted in the two contests, no one was claiming victory or conceding defeat, although the votes left to be counted appeared to be in regions of the state with a heavy Democratic voter turnout.
Washington braced for violence as Congress meets to certify Biden victory
Irish Times says residents of Washington, DC have been urged to stay away from downtown on Wednesday, as the city braces itself for protests to coincide with a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol.
With Congress due to certify Joe Biden’s victory in November’s presidential election, thousands of supporters of Donald Trump are expected to descend on the capital, with many already gathering on Tuesday night.
Washington mayor Muriel Bowser has deployed about 340 of the city’s 2,700-strong National Guard to reinforce local police amid fears that violence could flare.
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Covid: 12 life tasks in lockdown – What has changed?
When the first national coronavirus lockdown was announced last Spring, some of life’s most basic household tasks suddenly got a lot harder.
We listed 12 of them. Now, with the various parts of the UK back under the strictest of restrictions, it is time to revisit those practical questions.
A lot has changed since the start of the pandemic, but most things are still far from straightforward. – BBC News
Scotland won’t allow golf trip for Trump on Biden’s inauguration
Scotland’s leader Nicola Sturgeon says US President Donald Trump will not be allowed to visit Scotland to play golf during Joe Biden’s inauguration, arguing Trump is subject to coronavirus travel curbs. – TRT World
Women can drive the Moscow Metro for the first time in years as Russia overturns job ban
Moscow has hired women to drive its metro trains for the first time in years, the transport service has revealed. The new roster consists of 12 women from an initial training group that have since passed the necessary tests – and are now operating on the Filyovskaya line, connecting western Moscow. – Euronews
Central Africa’s Touadera embarks on second mandate as peace deal falters
Faustin Archange Touadera, whose re-election as Central African Republic president was announced on Monday, casts himself as a unifier and man of peace in one of the world’s most divided and turbulent countries. – Euronews
Benjamin Netanyahu hinges on Israel’s coronavirus vaccination for re-election
For media-obsessed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the coronavirus vaccine has arrived just in time. With elections approaching in March, Netanyahu has placed his world-leading vaccination drive at the center of his reelection campaign — launching an aggressive media blitz portraying him as almost singlehandedly leading the country out of the pandemic. – Arab News