While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 23

France to reopen border with England for Covid-clear travellers

France will reopen its borders to passengers from England on Wednesday, ending a blockade intended to stop the spread of a new coronavirus variant, but which has held up thousands of lorries before Christmas.

Much of the world shut its borders to Britain after a significantly more transmissible mutated coronavirus variant was discovered spreading swiftly across southern England.

With queues of trucks snaking to the horizon in England and some supermarket shelves stripped just days before Christmas, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrambled to get French President Emmanuel Macron to lift a ban on freight from Britain.

Late on Tuesday, a deal was reached with Paris to allow French and other EU residents to return home, providing they have a negative Covid-19 test that is less than 72 hours old.


Biden’s @POTUS Twitter account will start from zero

Twitter has told President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team that President Donald Trump’s followers will not carry over to the official Twitter accounts assigned to the new president and White House in January, a reversal from 2017.

That means the Biden administration will start with zero followers and would cut off a way for Biden to instantly reach millions of people that Trump enjoyed.

The Twitter accounts of the first lady, @FLOTUS, and of the White House press secretary, @PressSec, which have millions of followers each, will also be reset to zero.


Belgium found 4 cases of British virus strain in ‘early December’

Belgium recorded four cases of the mutant coronavirus variant sweeping Britain at the start of December, health officials told AFP on Tuesday.

The four cases were uncovered at the start of the month in the country’s northern Flemish regions that border the Netherlands, said Jan Eyckmans, spokesman for Belgium’s health minister.

A spokesman for the national virus crisis centre said the figure was conservative and that other infections by the strain could have gone undetected as Belgium screens for new mutations far less than Britain does.


US military school West Point rocked by major cheating scandal

America’s prestigious military school West Point has been shaken by its biggest cheating scandal in decades, with dozens of cadets accused of breaking the academy’s honour code in the spring.

“A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do,” reads the code of the elite school, situated 95km north of New York City on the banks of the Hudson River.

But in May, more than 70 students were accused of cheating on their final calculus exam while learning remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic after teachers found irregularities in their answers, officials said.


Football: More misery for Arsenal in 4-1 League Cup exit to Man City

Arsenal’s miserable season continued as they slumped to a 4-1 home defeat by holders Manchester City in the League Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

City, who have won the trophy for the last three seasons, went in front in the third minute with a header from Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus.

Mikel Arteta’s struggling Arsenal side drew level in the 31st minute through a fine diving header from Alexandre Lacazette but City took charge after the break.


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