While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 22

G-20 leaders pledge to fund fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines

Leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies on Sunday will pledge to pay for a fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, drugs and tests around the world so that poorer countries are not left out, and to extend debt relief to them, a draft G-20 communique showed.

“We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members’ commitments to incentivise innovation,” the leaders said in the draft G-20 statement.

“We recognise the role of extensive immunisation as a global public good.”

The leaders said the global economy was starting to pick up but the recovery remained “uneven, highly uncertain and subject to elevated downside risks.”


Battered by setbacks in push to reverse Biden win, Trump persists with fraud claims

Battered by setbacks in a desperate bid to overturn the US presidential election, President Donald Trump persisted with claims of voter fraud on Saturday and his allies called for an audit of results from a Michigan county that voted overwhelmingly for Democrat Joe Biden.

Two weeks after Biden was declared president-elect, Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede and is seeking to invalidate or change the results through lawsuits and recounts in several battleground states.

His campaign has not provided evidence for its claims of widespread and coordinated electoral fraud.


US air travellers surge over 1 million in holiday-season uptick despite Covid-19 warnings

More than 1 million people flew through US domestic airports on Friday, the second-highest daily total since the coronavirus pandemic hit last spring, even as officials warn against travel around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Airline passengers still lag substantially behind normal levels, but data posted by the Transportation Security Administration show that at least some people are bucking suggestions they stay home in light of the rapid growth in Covid-19 infections.

A total of 1,019,836 people passed through US airport security screening portals on Friday, 40 per cent of the nearly 2.6 million who flew on the equivalent day last year, according to TSA data.


Britain, Canada reach post-Brexit rollover trade deal in boost for PM Johnson

Britain and Canada struck a rollover trade deal on Saturday to protect the flow of US$27 billion-worth (S$36 billion) of goods and services between them after Brexit, and vowed to start talks on a bespoke agreement next year.

As Britain prepares to end its transition out of the European Union on Dec 31, it has negotiated multiple rollover bilateral deals to maintain trade, with many simply replacing the terms the bloc had already agreed.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined Canada’s Justin Trudeau and their respective trade ministers on an online call to mark the deal.


Pompeo meets Taleban, Afghan officials in Qatar as violence continues

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo met officials from the Taleban and Afghan government in Qatar on Saturday as the US seeks to keep peace negotiations on track amid renewed violence and a surprise move by the White House to accelerate the withdrawal of US troops.

The Trump administration will “sit on the side and help where we can,” Pompeo said at a meeting with Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, Afghanistan’s state minister for peace and a member of the negotiating team.

“I would be most interested in getting your thoughts on how we can increase the probability of successful outcome that I know we share.”


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