News Briefing VIDEO
- Covid: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine rollout to begin
- Reading murder: five teenagers held over stabbing of boy, 13
- WikiLeaks founder Julien Assange faces ruling on extradition to US
- Pro-lockdown Pope gets political on Covid-19 again, condemns those who travelled over the holidays despite pandemic
- Flight rush to Saudi Arabia as travel ban lifted
- India’s approval of its own COVID vaccine criticised for lack of data
- Democrat Pelosi narrowly re-elected as US House speaker
- Trump, in phone call, pleaded with Georgia officials to overturn his election loss
- Tesla sets vehicle delivery record but falls just short of Musk’s target
- UK economy set to be one of the last to recover from pandemic
- Fiat Chrysler and PSA merger faces final hurdle
- Venezuela’s oil exports sink to 1940’s level under tighter U.S. sanctions -data
- Frank Lampard: How much pressure is the Chelsea boss under after latest defeat?
- Robin Williams and the real story of the undiagnosed dementia he never knew he had
Tesla sets vehicle delivery record but falls just short of Musk’s target – City Am
UK economy set to be one of the last to recover from pandemic – FT
Fiat Chrysler and PSA merger faces final hurdle – BBC Business
Venezuela’s oil exports sink to 1940’s level under tighter U.S. sanctions -data – Reuters
Covid: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine rollout to begin
BBC News says first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine are to be given as the UK accelerates its vaccine programme to tackle a rise in cases.
More than half a million doses of the vaccine are ready for use on Monday.
The health secretary described it as a “pivotal moment” in the UK’s fight against the virus, as vaccines will help curb infections and ultimately allow restrictions to be lifted.
Reading murder: five teenagers held over stabbing of boy, 13
The Guardian says four boys and a girl have been arrested by police investigating the murder of a 13-year-old boy in Reading.
Police said the five teenagers aged between 13 and 14 were being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.
Officers were called just before 4pm on Sunday following reports of a stabbing in Bugs Bottom fields, Emmer Green. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
WikiLeaks founder Julien Assange faces ruling on extradition to US
France24 says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will learn on Monday whether a British judge has approved his extradition to the United States to face charges including espionage over the release of secret U.S. military documents.
U.S. authorities accused Assange of 18 counts of conspiring to hack government computers and of breaching a secrecy law by releasing vast troves of confidential military records over a decade ago.
If extradited and then found guilty of espionage, Assange could go to prison for 30 to 40 years, his lawyers say, though prosecutors say he would face no more than 63 months in jail.
Pro-lockdown Pope gets political on Covid-19 again, condemns those who traveled over the holidays despite pandemic
RT News says Pope Francis has weighed in again on Covid-19 politics, this time scolding people who traveled abroad during the holiday season to avoid lockdowns – saying he was “pained” and “saddened” by their selfish desire for “having fun.”
“They are good people, but they didn’t think about those who were staying at home, of the economic problems of many people who have been hit hard by the lockdown, of the sick people,” the Pope said on Sunday in his weekly address at the Vatican. He added that travelers thought “only about going on holiday and having fun. This pained me a lot.”
Flight rush to Saudi Arabia as travel ban lifted
Arab News says Saudis and ex-pats stranded abroad bombarded travel agents and booking sites with flight requests on Sunday after the Kingdom lifted its latest travel ban.
Entry by air, land and sea had been suspended for two weeks after the discovery in the UK and elsewhere of a new mutant strain of the coronavirus that is 70 per cent more infectious than the original.
Travel resumed at 11 a.m. on Sunday, but non-Saudis coming from countries where new variants of the virus had been detected have been asked to stay at least 14 days outside these countries and take a PCR test before entering the Kingdom.
India’s approval of its own COVID vaccine criticised for lack of data
Aljazeera says India has granted emergency approval to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin but faced questions after taking the step without publishing efficacy data for the homegrown coronavirus vaccine.
The news, announced by the DCGI who did not take questions, was hailed by PM Modi and his ministers as a success in India’s self-reliance push.
The government also approved the use of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University which will be the lead vaccine in India’s immunisation programme until other shots are approved.
Democrat Pelosi narrowly re-elected as US House speaker
TRT World says Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking woman in the history of US politics, has been narrowly re-elected, as House speaker in a deeply divided new Congress that convened in the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Pelosi, an 80-year-old lawmaker from California, faced a scare when a handful of fellow Democrats defected and voted “present” during the floor vote.
But the woman who has led the Democratic caucus for several years secured her fourth non-consecutive term as House speaker with a vote of 216 for her against 209 for the Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.
Trump, in Phone Call, Pleaded with Georgia Officials to Overturn His Election Loss
“So, look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump told the state’s top elections official, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in a recording obtained by The Washington Post and published Sunday afternoon.
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Covid-19 restrictions likely to get tougher
Regional restrictions in England are “probably about to get tougher” to curb rising Covid infections, the prime minister has warned.
Boris Johnson told the BBC tougher measures may be required in parts of the country in the coming weeks.
He said this included the possibility of keeping schools closed, although this is not “something we want to do”.
But he added ministers had to be “realistic” about the spread of the new variant of the virus. – BBC News
Several publications lead with the calls for a new national lockdown whilst the Guardian says the public started breaking the rules as soon as they saw the privileged do so.
The prime minister insists schools are safe despite the report that the new strain of Covid-19 tripled infections despite the lockdowns. Several publications warn of the ‘catastrophe’ that lies ahead if there is no new lockdown.
Covid-19: Twenty million in England added to toughest tier of restrictions – BBC News
New strain of Covid-19 tripled infections despite UK lockdown, report says – France24
COVID-19: Liverpool leaders call for national lockdown, saying the country is ‘facing a catastrophe’ – Sky News
People started breaking Covid rules when they saw those with privilege ignore them – The Guardian
Coronavirus LIVE updates as Boris Johnson insists schools are safe and swerves Liverpool call for a national lockdown – Liverpool Echo
Third UK lockdown needed to prevent ‘catastrophe’ over new Covid-19 strain, says council – The Mirror
BrewDog ‘in talks with UK government’ to use bars as COVID-19 vaccination centres – Yahoo!
A Texas church shooting leaves a pastor dead and 2 others injured
A man charged with killing the pastor of a Texas church Sunday had been hiding from police in the church bathroom after a high-speed chase the night before, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said. – CNN
Brussels allocates €3.5 million to Bosnia over ‘unacceptable’ conditions for migrants
The European Commission announced on Sunday that it is giving €3.5 million in humanitarian aid to Bosnia and Herzegovina to help migrants living in “unacceptable” conditions following a camp fire. – Euronews
Nile dam talks to resume Sunday
Another fresh round of the Ethiopian dam talks resumed Sunday with Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt hoping to get solution to the water crisis that has rocked the mega dam project in the past few years. – Africanews
Up to 7,600 receive COVID-19 vaccines in Oman, no side-effects reported: health minister
Oman has inoculated up to 7,600 people with COVID-19 vaccines, and has not received any report of side effects from those who received them, health secretary Ahmed Mohammed said. – Arab News
Singapore economy shrinks a record 5.8% in a pandemic-hit 2020
Singapore’s economy shrank a record 5.8 per cent in a pandemic-hit 2020, preliminary data showed on Monday (Jan 4), although most industries saw some improvement in the fourth quarter of the year as COVID-19 restrictions were eased. – CNA