Tuesday 5 January
Daily News Briefing Video
- Covid: England and Scotland begin new lockdowns as cases rise
- COVID-19: Inequalities exacerbated by pandemic must be addressed as vaccines offer way out, review warns
- NHS needs to deliver at least 2m jabs a week to fulfil government target
- Mexico offers political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
- Thailand’s PM urges people to ‘stay home’ to contain COVID surge
- Speculation over whereabouts of Chinese tech tycoon Jack Ma
- Egypt urges GERD agreement ahead of reservoir filling
- Trump to ‘fight like hell’ as Biden promises ‘new day’ in Georgia runoffs
- EU share trading flees London on first day after full Brexit
- Supermarket websites feel the strain of new lockdown
- Asian stocks grind lower as focus shifts to Georgia Senate runoff
- Buoyant housing market sees mortgage approvals top 100,000 in a month
- Tanya Roberts: Bond girl and Charlie’s Angels star is still alive – despite agent earlier saying she had died
- Liverpool’s Premier League title defence suffered a setback as they fell to defeat at Southampton on Monday
Covid: England and Scotland begin new lockdowns as cases rise
BBC News says people in all of England and most of Scotland must now stay at home except for a handful of permitted reasons, as new lockdowns begin in both nations.
Schools have closed to most pupils in England, Scotland and Wales, while Northern Ireland will have an “extended period of remote learning”.
England’s rules are due to last until at least mid-February; Scotland’s will be reviewed at the end of January.
PM Boris Johnson warned the coming weeks would be the “hardest yet”.
COVID-19: Inequalities exacerbated by pandemic must be addressed as vaccines offer way out, review warns
Sky News says inequalities in society exacerbated by the pandemic must not be forgotten once vaccines start to offer a way out of the crisis, a review has warned.
The UK has a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to tackle racial, educational and health inequalities exposed by the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Deaton Review of Inequalities.
NHS needs to deliver at least 2m jabs a week to fulfil government target
The Guardian says the NHS will have to start delivering at least 2m jabs a week from next week if it is to fulfil the government’s plan to vaccinate everyone in the four highest-priority groups by mid-February.
The four groups the prime minister said will have a first dose amount to 13.9 million people in England, according to Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister.
Mexico offers political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
France24 says Mexico said that it was ready to offer political asylum to Julian Assange after a British judge blocked his extradition to the US to face espionage charges.
“I’m going to ask the foreign minister to carry out the relevant procedures to request that the UK government releases Mr Assange and that Mexico offers him political asylum,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters.
The leftist leader welcomed the British court’s rejection of the US request to extradite the 49-year-old Australian publisher due to the risk of suicide, calling it a “triumph of justice.”
Thailand’s PM urges people to ‘stay home’ to contain COVID surge
Aljazeera says Thailand’s PM has urged people to stay at home to help contain a surging coronavirus outbreak that began in a seafood market and to avoid a strict lockdown.
Prayuth Chan-Ocha, speaking after the health authorities confirmed a daily record of 745 new cases, said the government was mindful of the potential economic damage from tough containment measures.
Speculation over whereabouts of Chinese tech tycoon Jack Ma
France24 says Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s absence from public view in the past two months, including missing the final episode of a TV show on which he was to appear as a judge, has fueled social media speculation over his whereabouts amid a Chinese regulatory clampdown on his sprawling business empire.
China’s highest-profile entrepreneur has not appeared in a public setting since a late October forum in Shanghai where he blasted China’s regulatory system in a speech that put him on a collision course with officials, resulting in the suspension of a $37 billion IPO of Alibaba’s Ant Group fintech arm.
Egypt urges GERD agreement ahead of reservoir filling
Arab News says Egypt has urged the need for an agreement “at the earliest possible time” with Sudan and Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) ahead of the second phase of its operation.
The three countries have agreed to bilateral meetings with experts to negotiate the filling of the dam’s reservoir.
Egypt said that the agreement should “achieve the common interests of the three countries,” but at the same time “secure Egypt’s rights and water interests.”
Trump to ‘fight like hell’ as Biden promises ‘new day’ in Georgia runoffs
TRT World says Joe Biden has told Georgia Democrats they had the power to “chart the course” for a generation as Donald Trump urged Republican voters to “swamp” the polls ahead of runoff elections that will determine control of the US Senate.
Trump, who lost the November presidential election, has not conceded to Biden, and he spent part of his rally remarks in Dalton, a city in Georgia’s heavily Republican northwest, suggesting that he would try to hold on to power.
“They’re not taking this White House. We’re going to fight like hell,” Trump said to cheers from the crowd, which chanted “Fight for Trump!”
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The US Senate Runoff
All eyes are on the southern state of Georgia, where the future of the US Senate will be decided this week.
There are two races and voting has been going on since mid-December.
The outcome will be crucial to how much the incoming Democratic president, Joe Biden, will be able to achieve in his first term. – BBC News
With control of the US Senate at stake, all eyes are on Tuesday’s run-off elections in Georgia – France24
Georgia Elections Chief Says Trump ‘Just Plain Wrong’ About Vote Fraud
Donald Trump is “just plain wrong” about election irregularities in Georgia, the state’s top elections official said Monday after he rebuffed Trump’s plea over the weekend to find enough ballots to upend his pivotal 11,000-vote loss in the state to President-elect Joe Biden. – VOA
French government heavily criticised over slow COVID-19 vaccination rollout
France has been heavily criticised for its slow approach to COVID-19 vaccinations, inoculating just 516 people in the first week since the vaccine was delivered. In the same amount of time, Germany vaccinated more than 200,000 people and Italy inoculated more than 100,000 citizens. – Euronews
Central African Republic President Touadéra wins re-election
Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadéra has been reelected in the first round of the presidential vote on December 27 by securing more than 53% of votes in the first round, according to provisional results announced by the electoral commission on Monday. – Africanews
Israel’s defense minister favors buying one more F-35 squadron for now
Israel’s defense minister said on Monday that he wants the country to buy a third squadron of stealth F-35 warplanes from the US, and that he hoped a deal could be clinched before President Donald Trump steps down on Jan. 20. – Arab News
Malaysia expects compensation for HSR project’s termination to be below S$270 million: Mustapa Mohamed
Malaysia holds the view that the amount of compensation needed to be paid to Singapore for the termination of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project is much lower than S$270 million, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Mustapa Mohamed. – CNA