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Mask America safe again

Your daily digest for Friday 4 December

Joe Biden’s planning to ask all Americans to wear masks for 100 days after he becomes president, and he’s just designated Dr Antony Fauci as his chief medical adviser. But Fauci has landed himself in hot water by seemingly criticising Britain’s speedy approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, calling it “rushed” – though he’s since said “I did not mean to imply any sloppiness even though it came out that way”. 

Back on our home turf, NHS staff have been bumped down the vaccine pecking order. Now hospitals will start with immunising care home staff and hospital inpatients/outpatients older than 80 first. The first batch of 800,000 vaccines – heading over to us from Belgium – may be “the only batch we have for some time” according to NHS bosses, so they’re rethinking the strategy for where it’s allocated. 

Bad news for Brexit?

British officials are claiming that French president Emmanuel Macron has scuppered the potential Brexit deal this week after refusing to budge on last-minute demands about French fishermen’s access to British waters and safeguarding against British state aid. We’re reaching the last few days for a post-Brexit trade deal to be secured, with Monday looming as the potential cut off date. Sir Keir Starmer is likely to tell his MPs to vote in favour of a deal if one is put to them, partly to send a message to Brexit voters whose seats went blue in the last general election.

Dirtiest fossil fuel

The UK will aim to cut its carbon emissions by at least 68% of what they were in 1990 by the end of 2030, Boris Johnson has announced. He talked the talk at a virtual climate summit, saying that the “ambitious” target would see the UK reducing emissions faster than any other major economy so far and that other world leaders should follow his lead. But given the UK is currently slipping behind its existing targets, will he also walk the walk?

Warner Bros gets creative

Warner Bros has said it will make all its films for 2021 available on the HBO Max streaming service (where they will play for a month) on the very same day as they hit the big screen. That means film-lovers can watch epic new films like Dune and the Matrix sequel from the comfort of their own home as soon as it’s released, instead of having to fork out for a cinema ticket if they want to watch them in their first few months.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/Shutterstock (10663670b)

The pandemic has forced many cinemas to close and Warner Bros expects them to operate at reduced capacity throughout next year. But the move is already having a big effect – shares in AMC Entertainment, the world’s biggest cinema operator, fell.

Game changer

What were you doing aged 15? Homework, sneaking a bottle of cider into the park, or maybe having your first snog? Well, Gitanjali Rao from Denver, Colorado has been busy inventing tech that’s helping to solve the opioid crisis, unclean drinking water and cyberbullying. She’s now been named Time magazine’s first ‘kid of the year’, having been chosen from a field of 5,000 US-based nominees, and says she hopes to inspire others to dream up ideas to “solve the world’s problems”. Nice work, kid.