Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary are taking over the Friday slot from Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes.
SIR – I smiled at some of the suggestions from our eminent scientists in Sage on how to have a safe Christmas. Three pieces of advice caught my eye: have drinks or Christmas dinner outside by a fire pit; have two tables so you can socially distance; and, if you are a visitor, take your own plates and put them in the dishwasher yourself. These guidelines certainly tell us something about the lifestyles of Sage members – and their understanding of how most people live. Dr John Mitchell Potters Bar, Hertfordshire SIR – The Bank of England recently said that paper money does not carry a high risk of Covid contamination. Yet we have now been told to avoid boardgames at Christmas in order to prevent infection. Monopoly money can be deadly. It’s difficult to keep up. Cameron Morice Reading, Berkshire
Comparisons are being made to an adverse event in UK which saw trials suspended globally
US President Donald Trump has admitted he faces an uphill struggle to persuade the Supreme Court to overturn his defeat by Joe Biden in the recent election. In his first full interview since the November 3 vote, Mr Trump said it was "very hard" to get to the Supreme Court, even though "that's what everyone is fighting for". "I've got the best Supreme Court advocate that wants to argue the case if it gets there,” he told Fox News' Maria Bartiromo in an hour-long interview littered with unsubstantiated claims about the election. Nearly every case brought by the Trump campaign in a blizzard of legal action has been thrown out by federal and state judges - many appointed by Republican presidents - who have given his allegations of irregularities short shrift. The US president still hopes to reverse the result by persuading the Supreme Court to consider cases brought by his legal team, which has challenged the results in several battleground states. But despite the Supreme Court now having a 6-3 conservative majority, legal experts believe that it will be reluctant to become embroiled in the election. With several important states due to certify their results shortly, the president refused to say when he would give up fighting his legal battles. "I'm not going to set a date," he said. Mr Trump could scarcely contain his anger at the judiciary in the wake of more than 30 defeats in the courts. “We are trying to put the evidence in, but the judges won't allow us to do it.” For the sake of simplicity, Mr Trump added, he would like his campaign to file what he described as “one big beautiful lawsuit.” Despite having just over seven weeks left in office, the president added that he would consider appointing a special prosecutor to investigate what he repeatedly described as a “rigged election.” Even the FBI and the Department of Justice could have been involved in the attempts to “rig” the election, Mr Trump claimed. “This is total fraud and how – the FBI and Department of Justice, I don't know, maybe they're involved – but how people are allowed to get away from this with this stuff is unbelievable,” he continued. The latest legal blow to the Trump campaign was in Pennsylvania on Friday, when the state's Supreme Court overturned a ruling which put the certification of the election results on hold. Republicans had argued that the use of mail-in ballots was unconstitutional and should therefore be discounted, which would have flipped Pennsylvania's 20 electoral college votes from Mr Biden to Mr Trump. The court said the case was filed months after the deadline for challenging the rules, adding that the Republicans had failed to provide evidence of a single vote being cast illegally. It was not only the courts which attracted Mr Trump's ire, but also Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia who along with the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, had approved the rules for the election which Mr Biden won. “The governor’s done nothing. He’s done absolutely nothing. I’m ashamed that I endorsed him. But I look what’s going on. It's so terrible.” Mr Trump was similarly dismissive of the media and big tech companies for failing to give his allegations of electoral fraud the attention he felt they deserved. “The media doesn't even want to cover it,” he added. “We don't have freedom of the press in this country, it is suppression by the press. “You can't have a scandal if nobody reports about it.” Republican senator Roy Blunt, who leads the committee for the presidential inauguration, yesterday said he did not believe the election was rigged in an interview on CNN. Most of the Republican leadership has yet to acknowledge Mr Biden's victory. According to the Washington Post one White House insider has likened Mr Trump's behaviour in the aftermath of his defeat to "mad King George", repeatedly muttering: 'I won. I won. I won.’”
Leslie Van Houten has spent nearly five decades in prison since she was arrested for 1969 killing spree.
The Moderna coronavirus vaccine may offer very high levels of protection against Covid-19 and there appears to be no evidence efficacy is worse at older ages, primary analysis for the final phase of the study suggests. The UK has secured seven million doses of the jab from the US firm - enough for around 3.5 million people in the UK. Moderna said the analysis of the phase three COVE study of the vaccine candidate, called mRNA-1273, involving 30,000 participants included 196 cases of Covid-19, of which 30 cases were severe. Vaccine efficacy against the disease was 94.1 per cent, and vaccine efficacy against severe Covid-19 was 100 per cent, the company reported. It added that the jab is generally well tolerated with no serious safety concerns identified to date. The study has exceeded two months of median follow-up post-vaccination. Announcing the results on Monday, Moderna said it plans to request emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to apply for a conditional marketing authorisation with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and to progress with the rolling reviews, which have already been initiated with international regulatory agencies.
Jamaicans who came to the UK as children will be exempt from a deportation flight after the Home Office reached an agreement with the country’s High Commissioner. Up to 50 Jamaican criminals will be sent back to the Caribbean country on a charter flight on Wednesday amid an ongoing high-profile political row. Seth Ramocan, who became Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the UK in 2016, told the Guardian that people who came to Britain under the age of 12 will no longer be on the flight. While there has been no public announcement, the Home Office previously revealed that several passengers would no longer be on the flight after a number of appeals were lodged by specialist lawyers. It comes after 82 black public figures, including Naomi Campbell and historian David Olusoga, wrote to airlines to urge them not to carry the passengers, claiming it risked unlawful removal of people with a right to remain in the UK. This was rebuked by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, who said that those scheduled for deportation are “dangerous foreign criminals [who] have no place in our society”. “These people have violated our laws and values, and I am unapologetic in my determination to remove these convicted foreign rapists, murders, and child sex offenders from our country,” Ms Patel said. A breakdown of the 50 Jamaicans’ criminal records included two life sentences, counted at 20 years each, and totalled 294 years of prison sentences. The Home Office has said that it intends to make deportation flights “more regular” as a means of “sending a clear message” regarding law and order. It has so far run more than 30 such enforced return and deportation charter flights since April, to countries including France, Nigeria and Spain. Of all enforced returns that took place in 2019, one per cent were to Jamaica. Controversy has surrounded flights to Jamaica following a number of deportations in connection to the Windrush scandal. In February, the Court of Appeal ordered the Home Office to stop the deportation of 50 criminals after it ruled they did not have sufficient access to legal advice. Campaigners had argued that they should be allowed to remain in the UK pending a full review into the Windrush scandal, which saw at least 83 wrongful deportations. A Home Office spokesperson said: “We make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals to keep the public safe.”
These amazing images show the sheer majesty of the world’s most beautiful birds.But the winner of the Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers Bird Photographer of the Year 2020 took their picture in Britain.The competition, in aid of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), received entries from across the globe.However, the winner, Ravi Parvatharaju, 58, from Woodford Green, London, took his photo of a kingfisher feeding its two chicks at RSPB Rye Meads nature reserve in Hertfordshire.Parvatharaju, a consultant Neonatologist at Homerton Hospital in East London, said: "The kingfisher chicks had fledged that morning and were mostly hidden in the bushes and their parents were taking fish to them.Read more: Couple reunited with dog who was stolen six years ago"Suddenly, two came out of the bushes and landed on a perch in front of me. I had started taking pictures when to my surprise and joy, the adult male, their father, landed on the same perch between his babies with a fish."Both the chicks started opening their mouths wanting to be fed. I got this picture as he was passing the fish into the mouth of one of the babies and the other chick had its mouth still open."It was, and remains to this day, truly a moment of magic for me and an unforgettable wildlife experience which I cherish."The other photos to be recognised in the competition included a lone penguin in the Falklands surrounded by chicks and two camouflaged nightjars on the forest floor in Madagascar.The Judge’s Choice award was won by British photographer Kevin Nash, 55, a company director from Warrington, Cheshire, who took a picture of a vulture with wings outstretched being chased by a jackal at the Zimanga Game Reserve in South Africa.The competition raised more than £2,000 for the RSPB.
Britain said Sunday it has secured 2 million more doses of a promising coronavirus vaccine as it gears up to launch within days the country's most ambitious inoculation program in decades. The U.K. has had Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with more than 58,000 confirmed virus-related deaths. It now hopes to hit a more positive milestone by becoming one of the first countries in the world to start vaccinating its population against COVID-19.The U.K. government has agreed to buy more than 350 million doses of vaccines from seven different producers, should they prove effective, as it prepares to vaccinate as many of the country’s 67 million people as possible.The Department of Health said Sunday it had increased its order for a vaccine developed by U.S. firm Moderna from 5 million to 7 million doses, enough for 3.5 million people.The Moderna vaccine is expected to be referred soon to the U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, to see if it is safe and effective. Two other vaccines — one developed by Pfizer and German firm BioNTech, the other by Oxford University and AstraZeneca — are already being assessed by the regulator, the final stage before being rolled out. Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.Hospitals in England have been told they could receive the first doses of the Pfizer shot as early as the week of Dec. 7 if it receives approval, the Guardian and Financial Times reported. The U.S. vaccination program also hopes to begin inoculating some Americans in December.The government says frontline health care workers and nursing home residents will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by older people, starting with those over 80. The plan is to work down the age and risk groups until everyone 18 and over has been inoculated.Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said he “wouldn’t be too surprised if an announcement would be made within the next two weeks, possibly even as early as next week.”Non-medical staff including volunteer first-aiders are already being trained to give the shots, which will be administered at around 1,000 community vaccination centers and 40 to 50 large-scale facilities in stadiums and conference venues, according to a government planning document.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said officials hope to vaccinate “the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter.”Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Johnson said the roll-out of a vaccine could be “just days away.” But he said there would not be a quick end to the onerous restrictions on business and everyday life that have been imposed to curb the spread of the virus. “There are still long weeks and months ahead before we can be completely confident that we can vaccinate enough people in the country, and thereby remove enough targets for the virus, in order to beat the disease,” he wrote. A four-week national lockdown in England is due to end Wednesday, and will be replaced by a three-tiered system of regional measures. The vast majority of the country is being put into the upper two tiers, meaning most people will be barred from meeting up with friends indoors, pubs and restaurants still face restrictions and everything from large weddings to choir practices are being banned.Pfizer and BioNTech say their vaccine is 95% effective, according to preliminary data. It must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit). The Moderna vaccine, which also needs to be stored at freezer temperatures, was also about 95% effective in clinical trials, the company said.The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at conventional refrigerator temperatures, making its distribution much simpler, and is also cheaper than its main rivals. But some scientists have questioned gaps in its reported results.Oxford and AstraZeneca reported this week that their vaccine appeared to be 62% effective in people who received two doses, and 90% effective when volunteers were given a half dose followed by a full dose. They said the half dose was administered because of a manufacturing error, and they plan a new clinical trial to investigate the most effective dosing regimen.Full data from the Oxford-AstraZeneca trial is expected to be published soon, and may answer some of the questions about the vaccine.Openshaw said he’d be happy to get any vaccine that is approved.“If my GP rings me and says ‘I’ve got an approved vaccine,’ I really don’t care which one it is," he told the BBC.(AP)
President ‘scrambled for an escape hatch from reality’ according to The Washington Post
Classic car specialist uncovers the cars that increase in value the most when restored.
The dancer asked not to hear any sad family news until after leaving the reality TV series.
Party’s deputy leader threatens mass suspensions
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier did not say how Brexit negotiations went after the second day of weekend discussions. When asked if negotiators had got any closer to reaching an agreement on fishing rights while leaving for the night just before 10pm, Mr Barnier simply said: “Poisson.”
The BBC confirmed the episode will air on BBC One on New Year’s Day.
President says he would ‘use 125 per cent of my energy’ to prove he did not lose election
There has been a 30% fall in coronavirus cases across England during the second lockdown.
Highly-anticipated match-up between British heavyweights could take place twice next year
Female soldiers are set to call out "unpunished abuses of power" in the military after the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace lifted a gagging order so they can give testimony to MPs. Sarah Atherton, Conservative MP and the only female former regular member of the Armed Forces in the House of Commons, will on Monday launch a sub-group of the Defence Select Committee to take evidence from women serving in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. It will provide a forum for the personnel to talk, with the assurance of anonymity, about their experiences of bullying, harassment and sexual abuse in the forces. It comes amid concerns the conviction rate for rape in the military justice system is up to six times worse than in civilian courts. Women are also significantly overrepresented, compared with men, in the proportion of complaints submitted annually within the Armed Forces. Female personnel comprise 12 per cent of the military, but submitted 23 per cent of complaints in 2019. Almost four in 10 complaints made by women were about bullying, harassment and discrimination. The Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, stepped in to lift the gagging order on personnel that ordinarily prevents them talking to parliamentarians without authorisation.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge may not be included in the Queen’s “Christmas bubble” as their three young children will be considered a risk to their elderly great-grandparents, The Telegraph understands. The Queen, 94, and Duke of Edinburgh, 99, will be limited to spending the festive period with two other households, just like the rest of the nation, meaning that the traditional mass gathering at Sandringham is off the table. A final decision about who will join Her Majesty is not expected to be made for another few days but royal sources have acknowledged that factors such as the monarch’s age and relative frailty will be taken into account. The elderly couple are in the most at-risk bracket for coronavirus and have thus far been carefully shielded by what has become known as “HMS bubble,” comprising a vastly reduced staff. Buckingham Palace doctors will advise the Queen about the most sensible way forward and will be particularly mindful of the Duke’s frailty after he was hospitalised just before Christmas last year with a pre-existing condition.