9 Dec 2020
BIDEN PROMISES 100M VACCINES FOR US IN FIRST 100 DAYS
US President-elect Joe Biden has set a goal of 100 million Covid
vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.
He said his first months in office would not end the outbreak and gave few
details on rollout strategy but he said he would change the course of
Introducing his health team for when he takes office on 20 January, he urged
Americans to "mask up for 100 days".
On Tuesday, a report paved the way for a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be
approved and rolled out for Americans.
President Donald Trump meanwhile attended a summit at the White House of his
Covid vaccination programme called Operation Warp Speed and hailed the
expected approval of vaccines.
The president-elect was attending a press conference in Delaware during
which he introduced California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his
nomination for health secretary and his choice of Rochelle Walensky as head
of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Mr Biden said: "My first 100 days won't end the Covid-19 virus. I can't
promise that. But we did not get into this mess quickly. We're not going to
get out of it quickly."
He said in the first "100 days we can change the course of the disease and
change life in America for the better".
But he warned that the coronavirus efforts could "slow and stall" if
Congress did not conclude bipartisan talks and urgently come up with
Getting children back to school would also be a priority, he said.
UK- EU STRIKE DEAL ON IRELAND BORDER
Britain said on Tuesday it would drop clauses in draft domestic legislation
that breached the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement after it clinched a deal with
the European Union over how to manage the Ireland-Northern Ireland border.
Michael Gove, one of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's most senior Ministers,
announced an "agreement in principle on all issues, in particular with
regard to the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland".
The deal is separate to wider trade talks, which have yet to find a solution
on how to manage nearly $1 trillion of annual trade between Britain and the
EU, despite having just weeks until temporary arrangements expire.
But the agreement removes what was a major point of contention between
Britain and the EU, with Brussels warning that no wider trade deal would be
possible if London went through with its threat to unpick the exit treaty.
"I hope this may also provide some of the positive momentum necessary to
instil confidence and trust and allow progress in the wider context of the
future relationship negotiations," Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney
AUSTRALIA TO MAKE FACEBOOK, GOOGLE PAY NEWS OUTLETS FOR CONTENT
Australia on Tuesday finalised plans to make Facebook Inc and Google pay its
media outlets for news content, a world-first move aimed at protecting
independent journalism that has been strongly opposed by the internet
Under laws to go to Parliament this week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the
Big Tech firms must negotiate payments for content that appears on their
platforms with local publishers and broadcasters. If they can't strike a
deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide for them.
"This is a huge reform, this is a world first, and the world is watching
what happens here in Australia," Frydenberg told reporters in the capital
Canberra. He added: "Our legislation will help ensure that the rules of the
digital world mirror the rules of the physical world ... and ultimately
sustain our media landscape."
The law amounts to the strongest check of the tech giants' market power
globally and follows three years of inquiry and consultation, ultimately
spilling into a public row in August when the US companies warned it may
stop them offering their services in Australia.
Facebook Australia managing director Will Easton said the company would
review the legislation and "engage through the upcoming parliamentary
process with the goal of landing on a workable framework to support
Australia's news ecosystem".
A representative for Google declined to comment, saying the company had yet
to see the final version of the proposed law.
NEPAL, CHINA ANNOUNCE REVISED HEIGHT OF MOUNT EVEREST AS 8,848.86 METRES
8,848 metres - the answer to one of the most widely popular quiz questions,
and a number drilled into the minds of school students around the world for
decades, is set for a revision, with the world's tallest mountain getting a
new official height on Tuesday that adds a few centimetres to its already
Nepal and China jointly announced the new height of Mount Everest as
8,848.86 meters in a high-profile virtual ceremony, with their Presidents
exchanging letters and their foreign ministers in attendance, all aimed at
showcasing both a deepening strategic relationship and the amicable
resolution of a long-running debate.
Everest - also known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and Mount Qomolangma in China -
was "an important symbol of the China-Nepal friendship", China's President
Xi Jinping said, calling it a "peak of China-Nepal friendship".
The mountain lies on the border between Nepal and Tibet and the summit can
be accessed from both sides, although the Nepal route is more popular.
Mr. Xi said survey teams from both countries had spent more than a year on
the project and had "overcome all kinds of difficulties, solidly carried out
their work, and finally reached a conclusion on the snow-covered height
based on the International Height Reference System".
US SUPREME COURT REJECTS REPUBLICAN CHALLENGE TO BIDEN'S PENNSYLVANIA WIN
The US Supreme Court dealt a sharp blow to President Donald Trump's efforts
to overturn the election results, rejecting a request by some of his
Republican allies to nullify President-elect Joe Biden's victory in
The one-sentence rebuff Tuesday came without explanation and with no noted
dissents. It marks the first time the full high court has weighed in on
efforts by Trump and his supporters to reverse Biden's victory.
The order is a symbolic as well as substantive setback for Trump, who has
claimed without foundation that he lost the election because of widespread
fraud. Trump has predicted he would be vindicated at the Supreme Court,
which has a 6-3 conservative majority and three justices he appointed. He
and his supporters have suffered repeated losses at lower courts.
"Dozens of courts have rejected Trump and his allies' debunked and meritless
claims, and now the highest court in the land has joined them - without a
single dissent - in repudiating this assault on the electoral process,"
Biden campaign spokesman Michael Gwin said. "This election is over. Joe
Biden won and he will be sworn in as President in January."
The newest justice, Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett, took part in the
court's consideration of the case. During her confirmation hearing in
October, Democrats had called on Barrett to say whether she would disqualify
herself from any Trump-related election litigation.
PAKISTAN LAWMAKER RESIGNS AFTER PDM ASKS OPPOSITION LAWMAKERS TO 'HAND IN
A lawmaker from Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) on Tuesday sent his
resignation to party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari after the opposition
alliance - Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) asked opposition lawmakers to
hand in resignations to party heads to use them at an appropriate time.
Daily Pakistan reported that Ali Haider Gilani, who was elected MPA from
Punjab's PP-211 constituency, wrote in his resignation letter: "Today, to
further the democratic struggle in Pakistan, I hereby tender my resignation
to you, to be used at your will".
The son of former Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that he
was submitting his resignation as a token of his unconditional loyalty to
The resignation was made after PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman asked all
opposition parliamentarians to send their resignations to their party heads
by December 31
Earlier today, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif
reportedly convinced PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari to resign from the
parliament at an 'appropriate time', reported Daily Pakistan.
Meanwhile, PML-N lawmaker Hamid Hameed resigned from the lower house of the
country's Parliament in a bid to overthrow Prime Minister Imran Khan-led
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed the opposition for the spread of
coronavirus saying they are holding rallies.
Blaming opposition parties, Khan said: "They are spreading the coronavirus
by holding rallies".
FRANCE TO BUILD NEW NUCLEAR-POWERED AIRCRAFT CARRIER, SAYS MACRON
France will build a new, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to replace its
Charles de Gaulle carrier by 2038, French President Emmanuel Macron
Macron framed the decision to use nuclear reactors to propel the future
warship as part of France's climate strategy, stressing its lower emissions
compared to diesel fuel.
Speaking at a nuclear facility in the Burgundy town of Le Creusot, he called
France's nuclear weapons and atomic energy industry "the cornerstone of our
strategic autonomy," and said the nuclear sector plays a role in France's
"status as a great power."
One of his advisers noted that having an aircraft carrier also helps France
project its global influence. Only a few countries in the world maintain the
huge, costly vessels.
The new French aircraft carrier will be about 70,000 tons and 300 meters
long, roughly 1.5 times the size of the Charles de Gaulle, which has been
deployed for international military operations in Iraq and Syria in recent
years, according to French presidential advisers.
Its catapults will be electro-magnetic, and American-made, and the ship will
be designed to accommodate next-generation warplanes and serve until around
2080, the advisers said.
They didn't provide a price tag but French media estimate it will cost
around 7 billion euros ($8.5 billion).