United Kingdom

Tuesday morning news briefing: 'Tis the season to be jolly careful'

Comment and analysis

You Are Not Alone: Getting you through lockdown

  1. Pets in the palace | The long history of dogs in the royal household
  2. The future of work | How to pandemic-proof your career in a changing market
  3. Mind the lockdown gap | 'When we met, I was a success - now she picks up the bills'

Business and money briefing

Takeover bid | JD Sports inched closer to winning control of Debenhams after it entered exclusive talks with advisers. The sportswear retailer is understood to be interested in the struggling department store chain's shop estate despite the retailer's historically onerous leases.  

Sport briefing

Rugby Union | Maro Itoje was awarded man of the match in England's win over Ireland on Saturday for his tireless work around the pitch throughout the 80 minutes. To truly appreciate his output, Jake Goodwill chronicles every one of Itoje's involvements in the match - illustrating the elements of his game that make him so effective.  

​Tonight's dinner  

Roasted pumpkin, feta and rye galette | A tasty tart by Ravneet Gill with an easy rough puff pastry. View the recipe. For more ideas, try our Cookbook newsletter.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

Only plane hijacker to get away with it | A new documentary examines the 1971 hijacking by a mystery man in a black suit who parachuted into the night. Tom Fordy investigates how he did it.

PM warns of no festive 'truce' from coronavirus

Britain is entering "the season to be jolly careful", Boris Johnson warned. As he announced new coronavirus restrictions that will last until the end of March, the Prime Minister confirmed there would be a relaxation of the rules over Christmas - but no festive "truce" from the virus. Talks continue between devolved leaders about how people across the UK will be able to spend the festive period. More than half of England is set to be placed in the highest tiers of the revised regional system that will come into force on December 2. This is how rules will differ at each level. While details of which areas will be in which tiers will not be announced until Thursday, use our tool to check the Covid rate in your area. This is what the restrictions mean for each sector of the economy. And Matt finds humour in the hard Christmas choices for today's cartoon.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that a dosing error during clinical trials led to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine reaching 90 per cent efficacy by accident. Trial results show the "correct" dose achieved just 62 per cent efficacy, while the "accidental" level was significantly higher. Six years ago, AstraZeneca rejected a £65bn bid from Pfizer. Now it is worth more than £100bn. Read how it went from takeover target to FTSE winner.

Trump agrees transition to Biden presidency

Donald Trump has directed his team to cooperate with an incoming President-elect Joe Biden administration after the General Services Administration declared the Democrat the "apparent election winner". The US president made his closest statement yet to conceding he lost. It clears the way for the start of an official transition and allows Mr Biden to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on January 20. Washington Correspondent Nick Allen says this is a watershed moment - and a clear sign that Mr Trump has finally accepted his electoral fate. Read what to expect from Mr Biden's first 100 days in office.

Queen to build huge adventure playground

It will be a place where children truly can be king (or queen) of the castle. The Queen's Sandringham estate is to play host to a sprawling adventure playground, featuring tree houses modelled on famous royal buildings. The playground - at the heart of the 20,000-acre Norfolk estate, which welcomes 500,000 visitors a year - will include swings, slides, a zip wire and raised walkways. View designs for the play area.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Pension reforms | The Chancellor is set to squeeze millions of retirees' incomes in his spending review tomorrow by pressing ahead with a shake-up that will cost investors more than £100billion. It is believed Rishi Sunak will switch the measure of inflation for pension increases. It will cut increases in incomes from about 10 million pension pots. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson suggested MPs should not receive a pay rise amid mounting speculation the Chancellor will freeze public sector pay.  

Around the world: After the bombs, the knives

Experts say the civil war in Ethiopia could tear the country apart, cause catastrophic ethnic bloodshed and destabilise the Horn of Africa. Read Will Brown's dispatch from a refugee camp in neighbouring Sudan.

Football news:

Atletico President: We always knew that Suarez is the best center forward in Europe
Mourinho on Bale: Playing time is not given, it must be earned
Until recently, Leo posed with Bartomeu and accepted millions, but then Barcelona broke down. Why?
West Ham have offered 33 million euros for En-Nasiriyah. Sevilla refused
Gattuso on 1:3 with Verona: You can't play like this if Napoli want to return to the Champions League
Sobolev on Tedesco in Spartak: Perhaps we will finish the season well, and he will want to stay
Liverpool are close to the transfer of England U16 striker Gordon for 1+ million pounds