The world this week
Britain began the world’s first vaccination programme for covid-19 using a fully tested vaccine. Thousands of people, mostly the very elderly and frontline health workers, received the Pfizer/BioNTech jab in hospitals. Family doctors will also administer the injections, as will care homes by Christmas. Canada became the second country to approve the Pfizer vaccine and will start distribution soon. In America regulators were on the verge of approving it.
General Lloyd Austin was tapped by Joe Biden to be his defence secretary. If confirmed, General Austin, who has led America’s command in Afghanistan and Iraq, will be the first black person to hold the job. He will also be a former military man in a position that by tradition goes to a civilian. Donald Trump’s first defence secretary, James Mattis, also came from the armed forces.
The House of Representatives passed a defence bill, with 140 Republican votes, that would, among other things, remove the names of Confederate generals that adorn some military bases. Mr Trump says he will reject the bill, but it has been approved by a two-thirds majority, enough support to override a presidential veto. It now goes to the Senate.
The House also passed a bill that would decriminalise marijuana and overturn the sentences of those who have been convicted of non-violent cannabis crimes. Its purpose is to redress the racial disparities in marijuana convictions (black people are more likely to be jailed for possession). It is unlikely to pass the Senate.
The Supreme Court made its first foray into the jumble of lawsuits from Republicans still trying to overturn the election result. In a one-line response with no dissents, it refused to hear a case from Pennsylvania. Joe Biden’s victory will be officially confirmed on December 14th, when the electoral college meets to cast its vote.
As Brexit trade talks went down to the wire, the British government announced an “agreement in principle” with the European Union over border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Britain also agreed to scotch legislation that would allow it to break international law. Boris Johnson, the prime minister, went to Brussels for a dinner with Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, but their meeting left a bad taste in the mouth for those hoping for a breakthrough.
France published details of a proposed new law designed to combat the spread of radical Islam. The law, which will go to parliament next year, follows the beheading of a French schoolteacher for showing children cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Venezuela’s dictatorial regime, led by Nicolás Maduro, reclaimed control of the legislature, the one branch of government it did not command. The ruling PSUV and its allies won more than two-thirds of the votes in a legislative election that was boycotted by most of the opposition. The psuv’s victory means that the opposition’s leader, Juan Guaidó, recognised as Venezuela’s interim president by more than 50 countries, will lose his role as head of the assembly.
由尼古拉斯·马杜罗领导的委内瑞拉独裁政权重新控制了议会，而议会是政府的分支机构，但并未被控制。执政的统一社会主义联盟(psuv)及其盟友在立法选举中赢得超过三分之二的选票，这次选举遭到大多数反对派的抵制 。统一社会主义联盟的胜利意味着反对派领袖胡安·瓜伊多(Juan Guaido)将失去议会主席的职位，瓜伊多被50多个国家承认为委内瑞拉临时总统 。
He cites control strategies such as culling and vaccination of birds.
I closed my eyes at his command.
We pulverized the opposition.
The team hung on for victory.