This week, authorities in Paris have been penalised for hiring too many women, the first coronavirus vaccine has been administered in the US, and more than 300 Nigerian boys return home after being kidnapped from their school last week.
Europe tightens Covid restrictions ahead of Christmas. The Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, among others, will be in lockdown over the festive period after Covid-19 cases spike.
Brexit talks ‘may go on after Christmas’ as an agreement is yet to be finalised with the EU.
Northern Ireland is to get extra £200m in peace funding post-Brexit. It’s on top of £300m announced by the government las year and £105 already pledged by the EU.
Official figures show that Scotland is edging closer to the goal of having 100% of its electricity need generated by renewables.
Paris authorities have been fined for hiring too many women. City mayor Anne Hidalgo mocks the ‘absurd’ penalty for breaking equal employment rules.
One of Epstein's ex-associate is detained over sex case: the modelling agent Jean-Luc Brunel faces accusations of rape and human trafficking, French media say.
The Humboldt Forum in Berlin opens amid debate over looted art. One of the exhibits set for the museum next year will be sculptures looted from Nigeria in 1897.
Hungary bans same-sex couples from adopting. A new law says only married couples can adopt, with some exceptions for single relatives.
Italy overtakes UK for worse coronavirus death toll in Europe. It has recorded 65,857 deaths, according to John Hopkins University in the US. Officials from the national statistics bureau ISTAT said total deaths for the year could top 700,000 - something that the organisation’s head, Gian Carlo Blangiardo, said had not happened since the height of the second World War. Travel between regions has been banned but there are calls for stricter measures.
Prime minister Ambrose Dlamini, 52, dies after contracting coronavirus.
The European Union has postponed nearly €90m in budget support payments to Ethiopia due to concerns over the crisis in the Tigray region. The United Nations, however, has announced a $35m emergency aid package for civilians caught up in the fighting. Nevertheless, it has been reported that two million children are cut off from this aid reach.
Malawi has been named country of the year for ‘reviving democracy in an authoritarian region’ by the Economist newspaper. The newspaper cites the nullification of the 2019 presidential election results that were marred by irregularites. The country held a presidential election re-run in June and President Peter Mutharika was beaten by President Lazarus Chakwera.
The number of civilians forced from their homes by conflict in northern Mozambique has quadrupled this year - to 420,000 - according to the United Nations. It links the crisis in Cabo Delgado province not just to attacks by Islamist militants, but to a perceived failure to distribute vast mineral and off-shore gas revenues to the local population.
Boko Haram has said it was behind the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolboys in Nigeria’s north-western Katsina State, hinting at the group’s continued expansive and deadly reach in recent weeks, the private Daily Nigerian website has reported.
Hundreds of the boys kidnapped from the school have been ‘freed’: the authorities say more than 300 are on their way home but it is unclear if all have been freed.
South Africa has announced new restrictions to try to contain a second wave of coronavirus. President Ramaphosa said nearly 1,000 young people had tested positive for the virus after just one day-long beach party. In response, he said, beaches in several provinces, but not those around Cape Town, would be shut during the holidays. A longer curfew will also come into force, and numbers at social gatherings will be capped.
A missing 5,000-year-old piece of the Great Pyramid puzzle has found in a cigar box in Aberdeen. The discover of small wood fragments was made by a staff member at the University of Aberdeen during a collection review.
Libyan forces free 18 fishermen based in Sicily who have been detained since September.
Asia and Oceania
Byron Bay beach ‘all but gone’ in Australia storms. Heavy rain and huge ocean swells batter popular tourist spots, prompting hundreds of calls for help.
New restrictions have been put in place in Sydney as coronavirus outbreak grows. Curbs on gatherings have been announced as authorities urge people to stay at home.
‘Sticky bomb’ kills Kabul’s deputy governor. Mahboobullsh Mohebi is the latest of several officials, journalists and activities to be targeted.
Heavy snow has been falling across Japan, and several snowfall records have been broken including Fujiwara which saw 176cm of snow in 46 hours. On the expressway connecting Tokto with Niigata, more than 1000 people were forced to spend the night in their cars due to road blockages.
New anti-rape law comes int force in Pakistan. The measure aims to speed up convictions and includes chemical castration for rapists.
The first coronavirus vaccine in America has been given to an ICU nurse in New York City.
US imposes sanctions on Turkey over the acquisition of a Russian-made missile defence system.
Biden’s victory is formalised after electors cast votes. The process formally acknowledges the election win, ending Donald Trump’s hope of overturning the result.
Biden’s Cabinet selection include some firsts: Pete Buttigieg would be the first openly LGBT cabinet member, and Deb Haaland would be the first Native American in a cabinet secretary role, overseeing public lands.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Russia for what is being described as the worst-ever cyber espionage attack on the US government. The hack, targeting software made by US firm SolarWinds, was found last week.