While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 30

Biden says Trump coronavirus vaccine plan falling ‘far behind’

US President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday vowed a relentless effort to fight Covid-19 the moment he takes office, as he warned that Donald Trump’s vaccination drive was falling dangerously short.

Speaking after a briefing by experts, Biden promised that as president he will undertake the “greatest operational challenge we’ve ever faced as a nation” to inoculate against the illness that has claimed more than 1.7 million lives globally.

The Trump administration had predicted that 20 million Americans would be vaccinated by the end of December.

With less than three days left, some 2.1 million have received the first shot of the vaccine, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.


Boeing 737 Max resumes flying US passengers after two-year halt

Boeing’s troubled 737 Max plane returned to American skies on Tuesday, carrying paying passengers in the United States for the first time in almost two years.

Those passengers were aboard American Airlines Flight 718, which left Miami around 10.30am. The plane was scheduled to land in New York at 1.30pm, before making the return trip on Tuesday afternoon.

The Max was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after 346 people were killed in a pair of crashes, separated by months, in Indonesia and Ethiopia.


Earthquake strikes Croatia, killing five and damaging buildings

An earthquake of magnitude 6.4 struck central Croatia on Tuesday, killing five people and injuring at least 20, and shook several neighbouring countries, officials and residents said.

Rescuers pulled people from the rubble of collapsed buildings in the town of Petrinja and army troops were sent to the area to help.

Tremors were also felt in Croatia’s capital Zagreb and as far away as Austria’s capital Vienna. Slovenia shut its only nuclear power plant as a precaution. It was the second quake to strike the area in two days.


Harry and Meghan’s son reveals ‘American accent’ on podcast

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s toddler son Archie was heard speaking for the first time on Tuesday, as the couple released their first podcast, with British media seizing on his “American” accent.

Archie, born in May 2019, giggles and wishes listeners “Happy New Year” at the end of the couple’s debut on the Spotify audio streaming platform.

The Daily Mail’s royal editor Rebecca English tweeted that “he very much has an American accent,” while The Sun tabloid wrote: “Baby Archie has an American accent.”


Record 18 coronavirus cases casts doubt on Premier League’s future

The Premier League confirmed on Tuesday that 18 players and staff have tested positive for coronavirus, plunging the continuation of the season amid a mass spike in infection rates across England into doubt.

That figure is the highest since weekly testing began, surpassing the previous high of 16 recorded for Nov 9-15.

Manchester City’s clash at Everton was postponed on Monday after an outbreak of multiple positive cases at City.


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