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Britain rolls out AstraZeneca vaccine.

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JANUARY 4, 2021

Reuters News Now

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS TODAY

UK first to roll out AstraZeneca shots
Britain began vaccinating its population with Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot on Monday in a world first, as a new surge of cases threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

Britain touted a scientific “triumph” that puts it at the vanguard of the West as dialysis patient Brian Pinker, 82, became the first person to get the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot outside of a trial.

As major powers eye the benefits of being first out of the pandemic, Britain is rushing to vaccinate its population faster than the United States and the rest of Europe, though Russia and China have been inoculating their citizens for months.

COVID-19 infections are still rising in 47 countries. Track daily COVID-19 infections and deaths data for 240 countries and territories around the world.

France tries to speed up vaccinations
France sought to accelerate inoculations on Monday after an initial roll-out slowed by bureaucracy and government wariness in one of the most vaccine-skeptical countries in the world. It began vaccinating medical staff over the age of 50 after delivering just 516 COVID shots developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech during the first week of a campaign that focused on the elderly in nursing homes.

U.S. may cut some Moderna vaccine doses in half
The U.S. government is considering giving some people half the dose of Moderna’s vaccine in order to speed vaccinations, a federal official said. Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccine program, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that officials were in talks with Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration about the idea. Moderna’s vaccine requires two injections.

Singapore may relax curbs for vaccinated travelers
Singapore said it will consider relaxing travel restrictions for people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, including for those planning to visit the city-state for the World Economic Forum in May. The Southeast Asian business and tourism hub has largely banned leisure travel because of the pandemic, and has limited business and official travel agreements with certain countries. Most returning residents have to isolate in designated hotels or at home for up to two weeks.

From Breakingviews - Corona Capital: Nelson Peltz, Vaccine data, Turkey.
Veteran activist investor Nelson Peltz gets his way as plumber Ferguson sells its UK business, and Chinese and Indian vaccine makers offer patchy disclosures. Catch up with the latest pandemic-related financial insights.

Reuters reporters and editors around the world are investigating the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We need your help to tell these stories. Our news organization wants to capture the full scope of what’s happening and how we got here by drawing on a wide variety of sources.

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U.S.

Control of the U.S. Senate – and with it, the likely fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda – will be on the ballot on Tuesday when voters in Georgia decide twin runoff elections.

Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, cemented his status as an unlikely hero for Democrats following a fresh clash in which he rejected Donald Trump’s claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.

Trump pressured Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in the southern state, according to a recording of the call released by the Washington Post.

Investors have been weighing a major political unknown since the November election that could ripple through asset prices: control of the Senate.

The city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is making preparations for demonstrations when a charging decision comes over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, authorities said. Kenosha saw civil unrest and large demonstrations against racism and police brutality in August after police shot Blake, an African-American man, who was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Nancy Pelosi was narrowly re-elected speaker of the House of Representatives, as a new Congress took office amid political uncertainty, with Senate control undecided and a Republican fight looming over presidential election results.

A federal appeals court on Saturday rejected a Republican congressman’s bid to allow Vice President Mike Pence to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory in favor of Donald Trump.

MIDDLE EAST

Tens of thousands of supporters of Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups chanted anti-American slogans in central Baghdad on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and an Iraqi militia commander.

Afghan government representatives and Taliban officials are due to resume their power-sharing talks, officials said, although battlefield clashes and targeted killings risk undermining efforts to end the war.

BUSINESS

A 2021 vision: what every fund manager is buying (or selling)

Dump the dollar! Buy emerging markets! Stay sustainable! These are among the consensus trades investment banks and asset managers reckon will dominate financial markets in 2021. Here are five trades the world’s biggest investment houses seem to agree on.

6 MIN READ

Hedge funds bet on recovery in 2021

Some global hedge fund investors are going into 2021 optimistic about a speedy snap-back from the economic challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. Hedge funds, which use leverage and employ more aggressive, often riskier strategies than other investors, believe many previously undesirable sectors, ranging from energy to retail, will rebound in 2021.

4 MIN READ

Jack Ma's disappearing act fuels speculation about billionaire's whereabouts

Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s absence from public view in the past two months, including missing the final episode of a TV show on which he was to appear as a judge, has fueled social media speculation over his whereabouts amid a Chinese regulatory clampdown on his sprawling business empire.

2 MIN READ

Google employees form workers' union in United States

More than 200 Google employees in the United States have formed a workers’ union, the elected leaders of the union wrote in a New York Times opinion piece. The "Alphabet Workers Union" aims to ensure that employees work at a fair wage, without fear of abuse, retaliation or discrimination, the union heads wrote.

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