Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 23 Nov 2020

1

Gyms and shops to re-open when lockdown ends

Boris Johnson is expected to announce later today that gyms and non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen when England’s lockdown ends next month. The 10pm closing time for pubs and restaurants will be relaxed and a ban on outdoor grassroots sport is also set to be lifted on 2 December, but other aspects of the three-tier system are expected to be tightened.

2

Ally tells Trump to drop his bid to reverse election results

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and a leading ally of Donald Trump has called on the US president to drop his efforts to overturn his loss to Joe Biden in the presidential election. Christie described Trump’s legal team as a “national embarrassment” and said that “elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn't happen”.

3

Oxford coronavirus vaccine is 70% effective

Results from the Phase 3 trials of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca have found that it prevents Covid-19 in 70% of people who receive it. The result “is both a triumph and a disappointment”, says the BBC, after two other vaccines, produced by Moderna and Pfizer, protected 95% of recipients. However, the Oxford vaccine is significantly cheaper and easier to distribute.

4

Sunak says Covid fallout ‘must be grappled with’

Chancellor Rishi Sinak has said that his planned public sector pay freeze does not signal a return of austerity, and argued that his spending plans will result in more money for health, education and the police. However, he has also warned that people will soon see an “economic shock laid bare,” telling the BBC that record government borrowing to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic must be “grappled with”.

5

Ethiopian PM gives Tigrayan leaders ultimatum

Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, has given forces in the northern region of Tigray 72 hours to surrender as government troops advance, warning them that they are “at a point of no return”. The Tigray People's Liberation Front, which controls the mountainous region, insists it will continue to fight. The conflict is thought to have killed hundreds and displaced thousands in recent weeks.

6

Mass testing to tackle post-lockdown outbreaks

The government has announced that mass testing is to be rolled out to areas of England with the highest infection rates after lockdown is lifted. The programme will include an exemption scheme for people who have come into close contact with someone who has Covid-19 but go on to test negative, so they won't have to isolate for 14 days.

7

Nicolas Sarkozy to face historic corruption trial

The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is to go on trial accused of corruption and influence-peddling, after allegedly trying to bribe a magistrate in return for information about an investigation into his party finances. The case is the first of several investigations into the man who led France between 2007 and 2012 - and the first former leader to appear in the dock in recent times.

8

Trump lets Israeli spy leave the US

An American navy intelligence figure, who served 30 years in prison for spying for Israel, is expected to leave the US after having his parole terms lifted. The release of Jonathan Pollard, 66, is said to be a gift from the Trump administration - and has caused anger in the intelligence community. “It’s going to be pretty damn annoying if this traitor gets a celebratory hero’s welcome in Tel Aviv,” said a former CIA officer.

9

Ice Bucket challenge founder dies at 37

One of the men behind the viral Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign has died at the age of 37. Patrick Quinn was diagnosed with the incurable neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as motor neurone disease) in 2013. “He was a blessing to us all in so many ways,” said his supporters on his official Facebook page. The campaign has raised more than £16om for ALS research.

10

Bob Dylan letters raise fortune at auction

A collection of Bob Dylan memorabilia including letters, unpublished writing and handwritten lyrics, have sold for nearly half a million dollars at auction. The items, including the lyrics to Blowin’ In The Wind, were put up for sale in a week-long auction run by RR Auction Company. The auction house said its client was “thrilled” with the prices fetched.

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