Johnson and EU chief to try to salvage Brexit deal
There will be direct negotiations between Boris Johnson and the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, as time runs out to get a deal through before the UK leaves EU trading rules on 31 December. Negotiators for the two sides called in the two leaders after saying “significant divergences” remained following a week of intensive talks. Although most of the deal has been completed, key sticking points remain, says the BBC.
Vaccine ‘won’t ease hospital pressure for months’
Chief medical officers have warned NHS staff that the Covid-19 vaccine will not reduce pressures on hospitals from Covid-19 patients for at least three months. Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, and his counterparts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, also warned about festive mingling. They said: “The social mixing which occurs around Christmas may well put additional pressure on hospitals and general practice in the new year.”
Liverpool mayor arrested by fraud investigators
The mayor of Liverpool has been arrested as part of a fraud investigation and suspended from the Labour party. Joe Anderson was one of five men arrested across Merseyside on Friday in an investigation into building and development contracts in the city. The father-of-four was the city’s first elected mayor in 2012. Liverpool City Council said it was co-operating with Merseyside Police.
Sikhs ‘feel forgotten’ as hate crimes rise
Anti-Sikh hate crimes reported across Britain have soared by 70% in the last two years, according to Home Office figures. Britain’s first female Sikh MP Preet Kaur Gill has told Sky News that there are “lots of concerns from the Sikh community that there is not enough being done to protect us” and that the community “feels forgotten”.
Trump orders US withdrawal from Somalia
Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of nearly all US troops from Somalia by 15 January, the Pentagon has announced. The US president, an opponent of military interventions, has long called for the nation’s troops to come home. The US has about 700 troops in the country helping local forces in their fight against militants from al-Shabab and Islamic State.
Demand for cars ‘in reverse’ during lockdown
Purchases of new cars in the UK fell by nearly 30% last month, as the second national lockdown hit sales. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said just 113,781 new registrations were recorded in the UK, nearly 43,000 or 27.4% fewer than during November 2019. James Fairclough, the chief executive of AA Cars, said: “England’s November lockdown knocked new car sales into reverse.”
Jamaican deportee tests positive for coronavirus
The Jamaican government has confirmed that one of the prisoners deported from the UK to Jamaica on Wednesday has tested positive for Covid-19. The man is being held in isolation at a hospital in the capital, Kingston. Meanwhile, Priti Patel has been accused of “deeply insulting and patronising” behaviour by victims of the Windrush scandal after she described those calling for deportation flights to be stopped as “do-gooding celebrities”.
RAF cameras track world’s biggest iceberg
An RAF aircraft has captured images of the world’s biggest iceberg as it drifts towards the island of South Georgia. The 4,200-sq-km block, known as A68a, is currently travelling through the Southern Antarctic Front. “I know I speak on behalf of all of the crew involved when I say this is certainly a unique and unforgettable task to be involved in,” said squadron leader Michael Wilkinson.
Warner streaming puts cinema’s future in doubt
The future of cinema chains was thrown into question after Warner Bros said that films including Dune and The Matrix 4 would be streamed as “a strategic response to the impact of the global pandemic”. Shares in Cineworld, which operates nearly 130 cinemas in Britain, fell more than 10 per cent and Everyman Media fell more than two per cent.
Jordan and Obama basketball vests break auction records
Basketball shirts worn by the NBA superstar Michael Jordan and former US president Barack Obama have sold for record sums at a Los Angeles auction on Friday. Jordan’s iconic number 23 vest, which he wore when he signed for the Chicago Bulls in 1984, went for $320,000 (£235,000). Meanwhile, Obama’s vest, worn with his Punahou School team, went for $192,000.