Politico – Cristina Gallardo / 8 reasons the UK leads Europe’s coronavirus vaccination race
- The U.K.’s first advantage was in getting going early. The country’s drugs regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), was the first in Europe to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, back on December 2 — weeks ahead of the European Medicines Agency.
- Suspicion lingers that the U.K. was quicker than the EU in securing deals for some, though not all, of the vaccines because Brussels fought much harder to shift liability clauses in the contracts from taxpayers to the companies. On price, too, the U.K., as a much smaller market, will have struggled to secure as favorable a deal.
- The British government made a decision in late December to prioritize the administration of the first dose of the vaccine, upon the recommendation of the JCVI. In contrast to the EU’s more cautious approach, the plan is to give as many people in the at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible.
- The U.K. military has been working hand in glove with the NHS. One example: The Armed Forces are contributing to the vaccination campaign by transporting doses around the country and identifying areas not covered by the vaccination network. There are also 21 quick reaction forces on standby that could be deployed to hospitals.
- Haaretz – Ido Efrati / Israelis getting their second vaccine shot experience more side effects. Here’s why
The New York Times – Jim Tankersley and Michael Crowley / Biden outlines $1.9 trillion spending package to combat virus and downturn
- President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday proposed a $1.9 trillion rescue package to combat the economic downturn and the Covid-19 crisis, outlining the type of sweeping aid that Democrats have demanded for months.
- The package includes more than $400 billion to combat the pandemic directly, including money to accelerate vaccine deployment and to safely reopen most schools within 100 days.
- Another $350 billion would help state and local governments bridge budget shortfalls, while the plan would also include $1,400 direct payments to individuals, more generous unemployment benefits, federally mandated paid leave for workers and large subsidies for child care costs.
- He acknowledged the high price tag but said the nation could not afford to do anything less. “The very health of our nation is at stake,” Mr. Biden said, adding that it “does not come cheaply, but failure to do so will cost us dearly.”
- The Washington Post – Erica Werner and Jeff Stein / Biden unveils $1.9 trillion economic and health-care relief package
South China Morning Post / China possibly committed ‘genocide’ against Xinjiang Uygurs, says US commission
- China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uygurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, a bipartisan commission of the US Congress said in a report released on Thursday.
- The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said new evidence had emerged in the past year that “crimes against humanity – and possibly genocide – are occurring”. The CECC also accused China of harassing Uygurs in the United States.
- China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centres” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills and which others have called concentration camps.
- The United Nations says at least 1 million Uygurs and other Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang. Faith leaders, activist groups and others have said crimes against humanity, including genocide, are taking place there.
- BBC – John Sudworth / China’s pressure and propaganda – the reality of reporting Xinjiang
Foreign Policy – Michael R. Pompeo and Francis R. Fannon / Time for a responsible clean energy supply chain
- The world will require 50 percent more energy in 2050 than we produce today, and much of that growth will come from renewables and clean energy technologies.
- The transition to clean energy technologies will require an exponential growth in demand for minerals. For example, certain minerals have cross-cutting applications, such as copper.
- To keep pace with clean energy demand, the world will need to produce the same amount of copper in the next 25 years as human beings produced in the last 5,000.
- Clean energy technology companies underscore that they are mission-driven beyond profit. However, companies face considerable challenges in making good on these commitments, particularly given the scaled-up demand for clean energy technologies.
- Euractiv / Biden presidency sets stage for wider global advances on climate policy
Further reading for the weekend:
- Financial Times – Philip Stephens / From Suez to Brexit and back again
- Euractiv – Frédéric Simon / Portugal on track to become coal-free by year end
- Harvard Business Review – Joan Donovan / How social media’s obsession with scale supercharged disinformation
- Foreign Affairs – Nikita Lalwani / Regulating the art market is good foreign policy