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We cover Europe’s defense relationship with the USA after Trump a temporary vacation relief of UK coronavirus restrictions and the forcible deletion of a protest migrant camp in Paris.
France and Germany are fighting for life after Trump
After years of hostility towards Europe, President Trump is leaving the country. But the prospect of his departure has reopened old rifts between key European allies over their relations with the United States, with serious doubts as to what looked like a decisive turn towards more European ambition and integration a few months ago.
France and Germany in particular are at odds over the future of European defense and strategic autonomy and show the different fears of two countries that are of central importance for the functioning of the European Union.
Analysis: NATO and the EU are fundamental to Germany, not France, which has its own nuclear arsenal, explained Jana Puglierin of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Take them from Germany and we will feel naked,” she said.
Transfer of President: President-elect Joe Biden introduced six members of his national security team and said that together they would reinstate the US as the world leader against terrorism, extremism, the climate crisis and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. “America is back,” he said.
Britain is planning a less restricted Christmas party
Brits from up to three households can get together and celebrate between December 23 and 27, as announced on Tuesday, to briefly relax the rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The normal restrictions still apply in pubs and restaurants.
The decision made by political leaders in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland means people will be able to move freely between these dates in the UK regardless of local restrictions. For those traveling to or from Northern Ireland there will be an extra day at either end.
Public health experts have warned that the lifting of restrictions could revive cases in January and February.
French restrictions: Three weeks after announcing a second lockdown, President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that France had managed to prevent a surge in new cases and put forward a plan to ease restrictions.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
New research has convinced many scientists that an early mutation in the coronavirus makes it difficult to contagion and contain. The mutation known as 614G was first discovered in east China in January and then spread to Europe and New York City, displacing other variants.
About 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will be shipped in the U.S. in mid-December after an expected emergency clearance was granted.
The manufacturers of a Russian vaccine said the preliminary results of a clinical study showed an efficacy rate of 95 percent. However, the figure was based on incomplete data.
With scientists studying Covid-19 worrying about the rise of the anti-vaccine movement, South Korea’s response to tackling misinformation surrounding the flu vaccine could provide a model for the world.
Outcry as the French police clear the migrant camp
The police forcefully cleared a temporary migrant camp in central Paris, forced people out of their tents, chased them onto the street and fired tear gas. While the police are evacuating such camps on a regular basis, the forcible evacuation of most Afghan migrants on Monday struck a nerve and increased outrage over the government’s security policies.
The makeshift camp, which included around 450 blue tents on Place de la République, was a protest against the authorities’ failure to house up to 1,000 migrants who were forced to roam the streets after the evacuation of 3,000 people last week Camp in Saint-Denis, a suburb north of Paris.
Official remarks: Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, expressed shock in a letter to the French interior minister, accusing the police of “brutal and disproportionate use of force”. It came as Parliament voted Tuesday on a bill that would make it difficult for reporters or bystanders to film cases of police brutality.
If you have 9 minutes, it’s worth it
South Korean adopters find a way back
The coronavirus pandemic has made a rite of passage difficult for Korean adopters who grew up overseas: reunification with their birth parents. Many adoptees have canceled long-planned pilgrimages to South Korea after government quarantine rules made travel costly and time-consuming for foreign visitors.
Some, like Mallory Guy, second from left in the photo above, still found a way to make the trip. The Times spoke to adoptees and birth parents about homecoming in the pandemic.
The following also happens
Shamima Begum: Lawyers representing the former London schoolgirl who went to Syria to join the Islamic State in 2015 asked the UK Supreme Court to allow her to return to her home country to defend herself. The court shouldn’t assume she poses a serious threat, they said Tuesday.
Curbing “period poverty”: In a world first, the Scottish Parliament voted unanimously to make sanitary products available to all who need them and introduced a legal right to free access to tampons and pads in schools, colleges, universities and all other public buildings.
Wall Street: Stocks rebounded and hit record highs. The S&P 500 rose 1.6 percent, breaking a high earlier this month. The Dow Jones industrial average passed the 30,000 mark for the first time.
Uighurs in China: Pope Francis calls the ethnic group a “persecuted” people in his upcoming book. Chinese officials were quick to deny this, despite abundant evidence of Beijing’s crackdown on the Muslim minority.
Snapshot: Above is a corridor on the third floor of the Vilina Vlas Hotel in Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Forest Health Resort promotes its therapeutic waters and fine dining, but the staff is full of anger at any mention of its gruesome past when it was a rape and murder camp run by a gang of Serb nationalists during the Balkan Wars in the early 1990s was conducted.
Lived life: Lady Elizabeth Anson, a tireless party planner for “the very rich, the very inactive, the very busy, and those who just have no idea what to do,” as she put it, including rock stars and royals, died at 79 earlier this month .
What we read: The Economist’s package of articles explaining the power competition between China and the US – and how the Biden administration should act. “It’s an excellent overview of one of the most important stories in the world,” says David Leonhardt, who writes The Morning.
Now a break from the news
Cook: It’s hard not to love these cheesy tomato sauce breadballs that combine tomato sauce, melted cheese, breadballs, and garlic. They’re like a pizza, deconstructed.
Do: Imagine you are in Hawaii. With a few easy-to-find items, you can discover the state’s stunning biodiversity everywhere.
Read: For most of human history, the night sky was the best show ever. These three new books invite you to stare at the stars.
Let us help you discover something new. At home, you have ideas for what to read, cook, see, and do while being safe at home.
And now for the background story about …
The AstraZeneca vaccine
Preliminary analysis of the vaccine, made by the British-Swedish drug maker and Oxford University, found that it was 90 percent effective when the first dose was cut in half. In contrast, the combination of two full-dose shots resulted in only 62 percent effectiveness. Our science reporters explain what is behind these results.
Why should this combination be more effective?
Nobody knows. The researchers speculated that the lower first dose better mimicked the experience of infection and promoted a stronger immune response. But other factors, such as the size and composition of the groups that received different doses, may also play a role.
Why did the researchers test two different doses?
It was a lucky mistake. Researchers in the UK had intended to give volunteers the starting dose at full strength, but they made a mistake and accidentally gave it at half strength, Reuters reported. After discovering the bug, the researchers gave each affected participant the full-strength booster shot as planned about a month later.
Of the more than 23,000 participants whose results were reported Monday, fewer than 2,800 volunteers received the half-strength starting dose. That’s a fairly small number of participants on which the spectacular efficacy results can be based – far fewer than in the Pfizer and Moderna studies.
That’s it for this briefing. Come to me tomorrow for more news.
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh took the break from the news. You can reach Natasha and the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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