Your morning briefing: What you should know for Friday, December 4

Sean Morrison
·3 min read

First batch of coronavirus vaccines to be distributed after arriving in UK

The first batch of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is set to be distributed after arriving in the UK.

It been taken to a central hub at an undisclosed location in unmarked lorries before it is moved to hospitals and vaccination centres across the country.

Britain is fighting back against global criticism of its rapid approval of the vaccine, as the government tries to prevent damage to public confidence in the jab.

Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, claimed the fast decision could make people reluctant to get vaccinated.

Health officials have dismissed the criticism and Dr Fauci later apologised, saying he had “a great deal of confidence” in the work of British regulators.

Prospect of Brexit trade deal breakthrough ‘receding’

Talks on a post-Brexit trade deal have suffered a blow, with the UK accusing the European Union of making fresh demands at the 11th hour.

Hopes of an imminent deal appear to be fading after last night’s negotiations in London between the teams led by Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier.

The UK’s current trading arrangements with the bloc expire at the end of the month.

This leaves little time to get a deal agreed by negotiators and approved by the EU’s leaders, Westminster and the European Parliament.

PM announces new climate target to cut emissions by 68%

Boris Johnson has announced a new target to cut the UK’s emissions by more than two-thirds by 2030.

The Prime Minister said the “ambitious” target would see Britain cutting greenhouse gases at the fastest rate of any major economy so far.

The new climate plan – or nationally determined contribution – under the Paris Agreement is part of global efforts to curb climate change.

The 2030 target to cut emissions by at least 68 per cent on 1990 levels goes further than previous targets under domestic climate law, which required a 61 per cent reduction.

Biden to call for 100 days of mask-wearing in US

Joe Biden will ask Americans to commit to 100 days of wearing masks as one of his first acts as US president.

The move marks a notable shift from President Donald Trump, whose own scepticism of mask-wearing has contributed to a politicisation of the issue.

Public health experts say wearing a face covering is one of the easiest ways to manage the pandemic, which has killed more than 275,000 Americans.

President-elect Mr Biden has frequently emphasised mask-wearing as a “patriotic duty” and during the campaign floated the idea of instituting a nationwide mask mandate.

Largest ever EuroMillions jackpot up for grab in today’s draw

The biggest ever EuroMillions jackpot is up for grabs in today’s draw - with a total sum of £175 million available to win.

If one UK player takes home the entire jackpot, they will set a new National Lottery record and become Britain’s biggest ever winner.

The total would surpass that of the previous, anonymous, top winner by £5 million.

The EuroMillions jackpot is capped once it reaches €200 million - and once that total is reached it stays in place for another four days until a special “must be won” draw.

On this day…

1154: Nicholas Breakspear became the only English Pope - as Adrian IV.

1791: The Observer, the oldest Sunday newspaper in the United Kingdom, was first published.

1865: Edith Cavell, the nurse shot by the Germans in 1915 for helping refugees, was born in Norfolk.

1921: Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, silent film comedian, was found not guilty by 10-2 of rape and manslaughter. He was retried twice and found not guilty both times - but his career was ruined.

1935: The game of Monopoly was born - the brainchild of unemployed engineer Charles Darrow.

1937: The Dandy comic was first published by DC Thomson, featuring Desperate Dan.

1947: Tennessee Williams's play A Streetcar Named Desire was premiered on Broadway with Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy in the leading roles.