United Kingdom

Friday evening UK news briefing: Alex Salmond takes aim at Nicola Sturgeon

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Sturgeon's government not fit to lead, claims Salmond

Chernobyl star Jared Harris tells Julia Llewellyn Smith about his father Richard, his late blooming and his acclaimed new drama

Read the full interview

Comment and analysis

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Business and money briefing

Budget 2021 | Wealthy savers are in the firing line of a Treasury tax grab with the Chancellor expected to freeze the threshold for the pensions "lifetime allowance". Read on for details of the reported stealth tax plan.

Sport briefing

England v India | While there is little doubt that India were the better side, the quality of the playing surface in Ahmedabad became the biggest controversy after the third Test became the shortest completed Test match since 1934. Read analysis of whether the pitch broke ICC rules and Scyld Berry asks how England's batsmen can sort themselves out. Meanwhile, a war of words erupted between England's men and women players after batsman Rory Burns took umbrage at a social media post.

Three things for tonight

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Why 'no-reason-necessary' flowers are blooming | Sending and receiving unexpected bouquets has become a tonic to the lockdown gloom, finds Helen Chandler-Wilde - and sales are soaring.

His appearance was hotly anticipated and his words were damning. Alex Salmond has claimed the leadership of Scotland has failed the country and suggested it is not fit to lead it to independence. In his opening statement to the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government's botched investigation into sexual misconduct claims against him, the former first minister said personnel rather than institutions were at fault. Mr Salmond criticised Nicola Sturgeon for using a Covid press conference to "effectively question the result of a jury". Read on for a summary of the evidence and our liveblog has a blow-by-blow account.

Single Pfizer dose may cut transmission risk by 75pc

A single dose of the Pfizer vaccine appears to cut the risk of Covid transmission by three quarters, research by Cambridge University suggests. Scientists said the findings were "dramatic" and showed that vaccines offered a way out of lockdown and "a much brighter future". At a Downing Street press conference, Matt Hancock said the number of cases is now down to one in every 145 people and that the rate of decline is continuing, although it is slowing. The Health Secretary added that 19m - 35pc - of all adults across the UK have received a vaccine but Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told people "do not wreck this now" as he issued a warning on rule breaking with one of his trademark metaphors.

However, teachers, police and ethnic groups will not be prioritised in the next round of vaccinations, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has confirmed. The programme will instead continue by age amid fears that stratifying by occupation or ethnicity would slow down the rollout. Police leaders have accused the Government of "a deep and damaging betrayal" over the rollout but Professor Anthony Harnden sets out the argument for continuing on the age-related path.

Prince Harry's tell-all interview with James Corden

Prince Harry has revealed he quit the Royal family because it was "destroying my mental health" in a tell-all interview with close friend James Corden. Asked by Corden how he sees his life after lockdown, Harry, 36, said: "My life is always going to be about public service and Meghan signed up to that." The pally segment, which aired on CBS's Late Late Show last night, is the culmination of a long, perhaps unlikely bromance between Harry and Corden. Read their history while Bethan Holt details how Meghan embraced the "nap dress" trend for her cameo on the show. Of course, the interview comes as the Queen makes a rare intervention in public life regarding vaccinations. Here's a timeline of other occasions when Her Majesty has seemingly "intervened".

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Isil bride | Shamima Begum, the London schoolgirl who fled to join Isil, has lost her legal bid to return to the UK to appeal against the removal of her British citizenship. The Supreme Court upheld a challenge against the Court of Appeal after it ruled the only way the jihadi bride could have a fair and effective appeal was if she was allowed to return to the UK.

Around the world: Troops 'killed hundreds' in Ethiopia

Hundreds of civilians in Ethiopia's war torn Tigray region were methodically hunted down and killed by soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea, a damning new report has revealed. Amnesty International claims Eritrean soldiers converged on residential areas of Axum, with orders to immediately gun down males of fighting age. Details here.

Friday interview

'If you could clone Daniel Day-Lewis, I'd be in trouble!'

Football news:

Zidane on the rumors about the exclusion of Real Madrid from European competitions: Absurd. We have the right to play in the Champions League
Sorokin on the transfer of Euro matches to St. Petersburg: This shows confidence in Russia. We are confident that we will manage, the pitch is in good condition
The Association of European Clubs helped win the Super League. The collapse of Agnelli took advantage of PSG and Bayern
The founding clubs of the Super League will not be penalized by UEFA
PSG wants to buy Varane. He would prefer to move to Manchester United, if it is not possible to extend the contract with Real Madrid
New details of the failure of the Super League: Laporta blabbed to Tebas, Ceferin talked to Agnelli on the way to Switzerland, City and Chelsea are not involved
Paulo Dybala: Ronaldo always wants to win, he's obsessed. If he loses in training, he becomes taciturn