Daily News Briefing: UK vaccine start – NZ apologises over Christchurch – Trump gives Americans first access

Tuesday 8 December


Tuesday 8 December 2020 News Briefing –  of 6:30 am (GMT), these are the global active Covid-19 numbers.


Coronavirus Cases: 67,941,441

Deaths: 1,550,331

Recovered: 47,027,151

Today’s Outlook
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  • UK vaccine programme getting under way.
  • EU leaders run out of patience with Erdogan.
  • NZ’s PM, police and security services apologise after report into Christchurch terror attacks.
  • Eight Hong Kong activists arrested over security law protest.
  • Coronavirus test kits run out in Gaza as ‘collapse’ fears grow.
  • Pfizer and Moderna decline invitations to White House Vaccine Summit ‘stunt’.
  • Trump to sign Covid order preventing international access until Americans get vaccine

Johnson to go to Brussels in search of way out of Brexit stalemate – FT News

Lottery player age to rise amid gambling crackdown – BBC Business

 Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group in talks to buy collapsed Debenhams – Guardian

 HS2: First tunnelling equipment for railway project arrives in UK – Sky News

UK vaccine programme getting underway

BBC News says the first people in the UK are set to receive a coronavirus vaccine on what has been dubbed “V-Day”, as a mass vaccination programme begins.

About 70 hospital hubs across the UK are gearing up to give the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to the over-80s and some health and care staff.

The programme aims to protect the most vulnerable and return life to normal.

Read on


EU leaders run out of patience with Erdogan

Arab News says European leaders have run out of patience with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and are ready to impose sanctions on Turkey at the end of this week.

The Turkish president has angered the EU with what the bloc called a “cat and mouse” game over oil exploration in Greek waters, with Erdogan recalling the survey vessel Oruc Reis to port before EU meetings then redeploying it when the meetings are over.

Read on


NZ’s PM, police and security services apologise after report into Christchurch terror attacks

Sky News says New Zealand’s police chief has joined the country’s prime minister and security services in apologising to those affected by the Christchurch terror attacks, saying: “We could have done more”.

The words come on the publication of an 800-page Royal Commission report, which looked into whether the atrocity on 15 March last year could have been prevented.

Read on


Eight Hong Kong activists arrested over security law protest

France24 says eight Hong Kong democracy activists including three former lawmakers were arrested Tuesday for their part in a July protest, the latest in a broad crackdown by authorities under sweeping new security law.

Police said they are suspected of inciting, organising and joining an “unauthorised assembly” on July 1, for which they could face a maximum of five years in prison.

Read on


Coronavirus test kits run out in Gaza as ‘collapse’ fears grow

Aljazeera says health officials said that they could no longer carry out coronavirus tests in the Gaza Strip because of a lack of kits amid a spike in cases in the besieged Palestinian territory.

The health ministry called for urgent action “to provide the necessary equipment” to screen the population for the virus.

The only laboratory in the territory able to analyse coronavirus test samples had ceased its work “due to a lack of equipment”, the ministry said in a statement.

Read on


Pfizer and Moderna decline invitations to White House ‘Vaccine Summit’

STAT says Pfizer and Moderna, likely to receive emergency authorizations for a Covid-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, have rejected invitations from President Trump to appear at a White House “Vaccine Summit” on Tuesday.

The vaccine manufacturers’ absences will be conspicuous at a “Vaccine Summit,” an event that drug industry figures and one Trump administration official largely viewed as a public relations stunt when STAT first reported the event last week.

Read on


Trump to sign Covid order preventing international access until Americans get vaccine

The Independent says Donald Trump is set to sign a Covid executive order preventing international vaccine assistance until Americans have received the shots, a report says.

This comes just days before the FDA meets to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s application for emergency authorisation of their coronavirus vaccine – three weeks after they filed for it.

Read on



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In Review

With just three weeks to go until the UK leaves the EU, there’s rising concern on the continent about a no-deal becoming the reality.

The risk of a no-deal Brexit “exists” and “we must prepare for it”, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, said on Friday.

European negotiator Michel Barnier has been in London since the start of the week. He will stay there on Friday for final discussions in the hope of reaching an agreement before the end of the weekend – if not, the EU believes that a treaty cannot be ratified in time by the MEPs. – WTX News


What’s the media saying? 

Shadow cabinet MPs express Labour Brexit strategy doubts – The Guardian 

Former MEP hits out at EU for ‘bizarre’ Brexit demands as Boris Johnson heads to Brussels – Express

Macron’s Brexit veto is ‘dangerous game’ that could backfire, warns French farming official – Telegraph 

Brexit: ‘Significant progress’ in talks over fishing rights during trade negotiations – EU sources – Sky News

How would no-deal Brexit affect food, flights and trade? – Times

Brexit: Toyota says no-deal outcome will be ‘very negative’ – BBC


Biden Names Top Health Care Officials

Joe Biden named his top health care officials, tapping former Congressman Xavier Becerra as his Health and Human Services chief to lead the country’s fight to curb the surging pandemic and oversee millions of vaccinations against it in the coming months – VOA

Poland: Fears for press freedom as state oil refiner buys key private media company

Poland’s state-run oil company, PKN Orlen,said that it was buying Polska Press, a large private media group currently under German control that owns a wide swath of daily and weekly newspapers in the country. – Euronews

Somalia ends visas on arrival for Kenyans as diplomatic row deepens

Kenyan nationals travelling to Somalia will need to obtain visas before arriving in the country, Somalia’s immigration and citizenship authority said. Holders of diplomatic passports must obtain prior approval from Somalia’s foreign affairs ministry, the agency’s statement said. The directive takes effect on December 13. – Africanews

Turkey considers intercity travel restrictions to curb COVID-19 spread

Turkey may impose new intercity travel measures to help combat the coronavirus spread, Hurriyet Daily News reported citing experts. “The 25 percent decline in the number of virus cases in Istanbul is the result of restrictions, but the virus is spearing in other provinces,” Professor Mustafa Naci İlhan. – Arab News

South Korea to buy millions of vaccine doses as COVID-19 cases surge

South Korea said on Monday it has signed deals to provide coronavirus vaccines for 44 million people next year, as the country battles a wave of infections that authorities say could overwhelm its medical system. – CNA


sports news

arts & ent

Brighton victims of random penalty decision in loss to Saints

Brighton victims of “random” penalty decision in loss to Saints – Read on

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey: Will the star FINALLY get her UK Christmas number one after 26 years? – Read on

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