The Kremlin said on Thursday that the probability of a new conflict in eastern Ukraine remained high and that Moscow was concerned by "aggressive" rhetoric from Kyiv and an increase in what it called provocative actions. Moscow denies planning an invasion and accuses Ukraine of building up its own forces in the east of the country.
The Council of Europe said Friday it will launch disciplinary action against Turkey for refusing to free prominent activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala, triggering a procedure used only once before in the organisation's history.
TfL has warned the next round of Night Tube strikes will affect services on the Victoria and Central lines from 7pm on both Friday and Saturday, with the possibility of “severe disruption”. The strike action – over the rosters used to staff the Night Tube – are due to continue on the two lines for each weekend until December 18, when a 24-hour walkout is planned on five lines. Almost 30,000 passengers used the Night Tube when it resumed for the first time in 20 months last weekend.
As reports of Christmas party cancellations mount due to Covid concerns, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour are not planning to cancel their celebrations but will "look at them event by event". He added the public needs "clarity" from the government on coronavirus guidelines this Christmas and said he would "like to see the government actually obeying the rules this year which they didn't do last year".
For the 35th year, kids in areas surrounding Shepherdsville, Kentucky, are being visited by Santa traveling in a fire truck transformed by Christmas lights and decorations.Known locally as the “Santa Truck”, the vehicle was three weeks in the making at Zoneton Fire Protection District, and was unveiled on December 1.“We take our truck and turn it into Santa’s sleigh and we go out through the district and put smiles on people’s faces,” said Fire Captain Steven Corbin, as reported by WHAS11.Drone footage by Doug Cohron shows the first glimpse of the finished truck.“The first things were to remove a compartment door, empty the water tank, remove the hose and ladders along with other equipment,” Cohron told Storyful. “Then the time-consuming part – all the lights, electrical and data cables, sound system, lights to illuminate Santa and the elves, figures and most importantly Rudolph with his nose so bright.”The truck made its first stop on December 2 at the grave of Fire Chief Rob Orkies, who died from COVID-19, WDRB reported. Credit: Doug Cohron/Kentucky Drone via Storyful
Part inspired by his own life, actor Aml Ameen says his directorial debut "Boxing Day" is different from other festive films: it is the first British Christmas rom-com led by a majority Black cast. As well as directing and co-writing the movie, Ameen plays Los Angeles-based British author Melvin, who returns to his London home for Christmas to introduce his American fiancee Lisa to his British-Caribbean family. The film provides plenty of laughs as well as typically festive London scenes.
Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds says "if there is one thing" known about Boris Johnson, it is that he "doesn't believe" rules apply to him. He concedes that expanding the booster campaign "is the right thing to do" but thinks the government needs to back the Test and Trace system to stop disruption to people's lives.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid announces the government have purchased an additional 114 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna. He says these will be for 2022 and 2023, and will be the companies' "latest" vaccines at that time.
David Dalaithngu, better known as David Gulpilil, who has died probably aged 68, became Australia’s most famous Aboriginal actor after being cast by the British director Nicolas Roeg in his classic 1971 Outback drama, Walkabout.