Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 8 Dec 2020
Covid-19 vaccinations begin on UK’s ‘V-Day’
At risk patients in the UK will begin receiving the coronavirus jab today, on what has been dubbed “V-Day” by newspapers. About 70 hospital hubs across the UK are preparing to give the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to over-80s, as well as some health and care staff. Among the first to receive the jab wil be Hari and Ranjan Shukla from Newcastle, both in their 80s. Hari said he was “excited” to get the vaccination.
Johnson heads to Brussels as negotiations get ‘tricky’
Boris Johnson will travel to Brussels for a face-to-face summit with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a final push to break the deadlock in the Brexit negotiations. A UK government source said “things are looking very tricky”, while MPs last night voted to reinstate contentious sections of the Internal Markets Bill, overriding sections of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Afghan civilians killed by US soar by 330%
The number of Afghan civilians killed in airstrikes carried out by the US and its allies has soared by 330% since 2017, researchers have revealed. The Costs of War Project, based at Brown University, says that in 2019 alone, around 700 civilians were killed. The figure marks the highest number of deaths since the first years of the US invasion after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Government to raise age limit for National Lottery
The age limit for playing the National Lottery will be raised from 16 to 18 from next October. The move is part of the government’s “major and wide-ranging review” of the gambling sector, which could see betting firms face limits on online stakes, restrictions on advertising and a ban on football sponsorship. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the review will tackle “problem gambling in all its forms”.
Taxman warns Brexit will create £7.5bn ‘admin burden’
British businesses will face an annual “administrative burden” of £7.5bn after the Brexit transition period, the chief executive of HMRC has warned. Thousands of businesses trading with the EU after the transition period ends on 31 December will be required to fill in customs declarations for the first time. Jim Harra said he expected 265 million declarations in the UK each year, an increase of 211 million.
Breakdancing ‘makes mockery’ of Olympic Games
Including breakdancing in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games will make a “mockery” of the event, a sporting legend has warned. Breakdancing will be called “breaking” when competitors take to the floor and was proposed two years ago after trials at the 2018 Youth Olympics. “Yes they’re trying to move with the times but it’s creating a mockery of the thing,” said Australian squash great Michelle Martin.
First man to break sound barrier dies at 97
Chuck Yeager, the American test pilot who became the first person to break the sound barrier in 1947, has died at the age of 97. “It is [with] profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET,” his wife Victoria said in a tweet. Yeager, who was immortalised through a cameo in The Right Stuff, was widely considered one of America’s greatest ever fighter pilots.
Millwall will not ‘take the knee’ at future matches
Millwall FC players will not take a knee before this evening’s fixture against QPR, instead standing arm-in-arm in a “show of solidarity for football’s fight against discrimination”. Millwall’s regular shirt sponsor will also be replaced with the logo of anti-discrimination body Kick It Out. The decision comes after some Millwall fans booed the players taking a knee before Saturday’s defeat by Derby County.
Ikea to scrap famous catalogue
Ikea is phasing out its iconic annual catalogue after 70 years. The Swedish retailer said in a statement that it has “taken the emotional but rational decision to respectfully end the successful career” of the print and digital versions of the catalogue. Coming just four months after Argos announced it was scrapping its catalogue, the plan follows an increasing shift to online browsing and shopping.
Bob Dylan sells copyright to his back catalogue
Bob Dylan has sold the copyright for his entire back catalogue of music to a global media conglomerate. Although financial terms weren’t revealed for the “landmark agreement” with Universal Music Publishing Group, The New York Times says the deal is estimated to be worth more than $300m (£224.7m). Last week, former Fleetwood Mac songstress Stevie Nicks sold her catalogue in a $100m (£74.9m) deal.