This week countries across Europe impose harsher lockdowns, four lions test positive for coronavirus, and farmers in India go on strike over new laws.
After Brexit discussions break up without agreement, the original deadline has been extended as the UK and the EU have agreed to keep talking. The three main sticking points are still open, with tentative progress being made:
- Fishing rights
- The governance of the overall deal: what actions could be sanctioned, and who decides.
- Competition regulations
Trials to combine Oxford and Sputnik vaccines have begun. The aim is to see whether mixing two vaccines could improve protection against coronavirus.
Writer John Le Carré, author of ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ has died age 89 following a short illness.
From Wednesday, Denmark will impose a partial lockdown in the main cities - Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense - and dozens of other areas. The government says the infection rate is rising exponentially. The country will close eating places, sports and entertainment facilities until 3 January.
The French cabinet has approved a bill aimed at tackling radical Islamists after a series of extremist attacks. The draft laws, part of a long-term drive by President Emmanuel Macron to uphold secular values, tightens rules on home-schooling and hate speech. Some critics, both in France and abroad, have accused his government of using it to target religion.
Germany announces a Christmas lockdown as virus spikes. The authorities have been struggling to control a growing number of infections and deaths.
Greece has extended its lockdown until 7th January: schools, restaurants and sports venues are among places shut. Travel between regions is also generally banned.
Moscow distributes the Sputnik V vaccine to 70 clinics, marking Russia’s first mass coronavirus immunisation. The vaccine has been made available to medical workers, teachers and social workers first, as they run the highest risk of exposure to the disease. However, as Sputnik V is still in the midst of trials to check that it’s safe and actually works, some Russians are wary of receiving it.
Four lions test positive for coronavirus. The animals at Barcelona Zoo are thought to have been in contact with an asymptomatic staff member.
Ethiopia has said its federal forces have freed 1,000 soldiers who were ‘kidnapped’ in the northern state of Tigray by fighters linked to the now-overthrown regional administration. The federal government had two weeks ago said the conflict was over, but the UN has warned of an ‘appalling impact on civilians’.
Nana Akufo Addo was declared winner of the presidential election: he won by a slim margin securing 51.59% of the votes, while opposition leader former President John Mahama secured 47.36%. However, the main opposition party has rejected the result claiming there are irregularities. Local and international election monitors have said that the elections were transparent, free and fair.
Around 30,000 nurses and other healthcare workers in Kenya’s public hospitals have gone on strike. Officials from the nurses and clinic officer’s unions say they will not go back to work until all their demands are met - which include more training, protective gear, and compensation for the families of healthcare workers who’ve died from coronavirus.
Gunmen are believed to be holding schoolchildren hostage in north-western Nigeria. It is not clear how many students were abducted from the all-boys school, and how many ran away during the attack and have not yet been found. Nigerian government troops have since surrounded the gunmen’s hideout in a forest. The attackers are thought to be seeking ransom, an aide to President Muhammadu Bihari has said.
South Africa’s health minister has said the country is experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The minister said there was spike in infections among teenagers ‘believed to be due to large number of parties involving young people drinking alcohol with no adherence to safety measures.’
EU powers boycott Iran forum over execution. A diplomatic row has blown up over Iran’s execution of pro-opposition journalist Ruhollah Zam. Zam ran a website that Iran accused of inciting violence.
Protestors have blocked roads in Beirut over reports that government subsidies for some basic goods will be cut.
Asia and Oceania
China bans 105 apps including TripAdvisor as the government embarks on an attempt to ‘clean up’ the internet.
A country-wide strike by farmers in India has begun amid a standoff with the government over new farm laws. Taken together, the contentious reforms will loosen rules around the sale, pricing and storage of farm produce - rules that have protected India’s farmers from an unfettered free market for decades. They also allow private buyers to hoard essential commodities for future sales, which only government-authorised agents could do previously. Farmers are mainly concerned that the reforms will eventually lead to the end of wholesale markets and assured prices, leaving them with no backup option.
Parliament’s lower house voted to legalise abortion, but the bill must pass the Senate to become law.
Donald Trump’s Lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for coronavirus and is in hospital. He has been leading the Trump campaign’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election results.
Elon Musk launches the latest prototype of his ‘Mars spaceship’, SpaceX.
Trump rushes to carry out federal executions in his final weeks as president. The executions put Mr Trump on track to be the most prolific execution president in modern history. This includes the first federal execution of a female inmate in 67 years.
A driver has been charged after crashing into BLM protest: six were injured when the car ploughed into a crowd of 50 protesters on Friday in New York City.
President Maduro’s party have won in Venezuela’s legislative elections, after being boycotted by the main opposition parties.