Our apologies for the delay in publication.
We’ve summarised the 15 key stories of the last week into an easily digestible briefing so that you can stay up to date on what’s happening around the world. You can subscribe to receive the briefing in your inbox each week.
- Britain has become the first country in the world to approve Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency reviewed the trial data. However, while vaccinations are due to begin within the next week, the bulk will take place in 2021 after manufacturing issues slowed down the production of the vaccine.
- Brexit talks are still stalling on a number of key issues, despite the transition period ending in less than a month. Both sides are unwilling to back down on fishing, regulation and governance. The cabinet has made clear it will support Johnson in pursuing a no-deal Brexit.
- Trump has started campaigning in Georgia ahead of two crucial Senate runoff votes that will decide who controls the Senate. Trump is supporting the two Republican candidates, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, but if the two Democrats win, the Senate will be split 50-50, leaving Vice-President Kamala Harris with the deciding vote.
- Lockdown ended on December 2nd a month after it started. It has now been replaced by the tier system that allows for stricter measures in Covid hotspots. Yet despite the lockdown, the number of new cases per day are still significantly higher than they were during the peak of the first wave.
- Israel has started moving towards another election, after its parliament passed a preliminary motion to dissolve itself. It will be the fourth election in Israel in less than two years, as Benny Gantz, the former head of the opposition, tries to force through his proposed budget.
- South Korea has changed its law requiring all able-bodied South Korean men to perform mandatory military service for two years between the ages of 18 and 28 after an outcry from fans of the K-Pop group BTS. Now ‘entertainers’ with a recommendation from the culture minister will be able to postpone their service until they are 30.
- Joe Biden has announced that he won’t immediately remove tariffs imposed on China by Donald Trump. Instead, he plans to consult with US allies in Asia and Europe and develop a ‘coherent strategy’. He also announced his desire to build a bipartisan consensus for investing in American industry.
- After two violent terrorist attacks in the last few months, the French Interior Minister has announced the inspection of numerous mosques and prayer halls across the country suspected of radical preaching. Meanwhile, a ‘charter of republican values’ is being drawn up for imams to sign.
Business & Economics
- S&P Global has announced plans to purchase the financial analytics company IHS Markit for $44 billion. The company aims to be able to compete with Bloomberg, the market leader, and estimates over $480 million of annual cost savings. However, the move will likely attract regulatory scrutiny.
- Salesforce has announced the latest in a long line of acquisitions with the purchase of Slack, the workplace messaging app, for $27.7 billion. The move is one of the biggest tech mergers in recent years and poses a serious threat to Microsoft, who also sell enterprise software.
- The hopes of a rescue for Debenhams and its 12,000 employees looked weak this week, after the last remaining bidder, JD Sport, pulled out after the news of Arcadia’s administration. However, Mike Ashley of Frasers Group has now announced a last-ditch to buy out the company.
- Joe Biden has announced further members of his economic team. Janet Yellen will be Treasury Secretary, Adewale Adeyemo will be Deputy Treasury Secretary, and both Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey will be on the White House Council of Economic Advisers
- China has hit Australian wine producers with harsh tariffs of over 200% as tensions between the two countries increase. The move will cause problems for Australia’s wine producers, who export over 40% of their produce to China, as the tariffs will triple the prices of their wines in China.
- The Chief Executive of Glencore, the commodity trading and mining company, is to retire. Ivan Glasenberg will step down after almost two decades at the helm, to be replaced by Gary Nagle, the head of Glencore’s coal mining division.
- Warner Brothers has announced that it will release all of its movies in 2021 on streaming platforms at the same time as the cinematic release. This includes big blockbusters such as Dune and the Matrix 4, posing a severe threat to cinema chains. Shares in Cineworld fell by more than 10%.
Written by Milo Dennison and Ed Hilditch