It’s been a historic week in international news. As the world continues to battle COVID-19, all eyes looked to one elderly woman who got the first vaccine jab.
Meanwhile, American magazine Times have officially named their person of the year, Brexit sees no end and activists warned about freedom of speech crackdowns in Hong Kong.
Here are five notable stories from across the globe in Lovin Malta’s international news roundup in case you missed them.
1. This UK Grandma became the face of the fight against COVID-19.
A UK grandmother has made history as the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Margaret Keenan, who will turn 91 next week said the jab was the “best early birthday present.”
“If I can have it at 90, then you can too,” she said.
The Pfizer/Biotech vaccine was found to be 95% effective according to regulators. The U.S is set to approve it in the coming days, while EU states, including Malta, will be to receiving it early as January.
Her inoculation was watched by millions across the globe. Keenan was also wearing a charity t-shirt, which sold out shortly after the video went viral. Nearly £4,000 had been raised from t-shirt sales, according to the charity concerned, with the money being used to buy gifts for elderly patients in the hospital over Christmas and presents for those on children’s wards on Christmas Day.
2. U.S President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris are Time’s People of The Year.
U.S President-elect Joseph Biden joins his chosen Vice President Kamala Harris as Times’ persons for the year 2020.
Time editor-in-chief said the two won the title for “changing the American story, for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world.”
The two made history beating Donald Trump in this year’s historic U.S election, with the highest turnout of voters in a century, with 81 million votes and counting, the most in presidential history.
Times began granting the title to influential people in 1927, with notable figures like Adolf Hitler and climate activist Greta Thunberg recipients of the awards.
This year’s shortlisted candidates included frontline healthcare workers and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
3. A Hong Kong media mogul and pro-democracy activist has been arrested.
Hong Kong billionaire, media mogul and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai has been arrested and charged with foreign collusion and endangering national security, in a further crackdown on pro-democracy activists.
Lai, who owns Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily, is known to be one for the most prominent pro-democracy voices in Hong Kong and one of the only business leaders to openly criticise Beijing.
This comes after teenage activist Tony Chung was served a guilty verdict for defiling China’s flag, and dozens of others accused of violating Hong Kong draconian security law.
4. The Brexit deadlock continues.
It seems that Britain exiting the transition period without a trade and security deal in the next year.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hinted to EU leaders that there was a higher probability for no-deal than a deal for Brexit.
Weeks of intensive negotiations have failed to overcome hurdles in major areas, including competition rules and fishing rights.
Despite the unfruitful talks, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to “go the extra mile” to reach a deal.
If there is no agreed Brexit deal is reached by the end of the year, there will border checks and taxes will be for goods and travel between the UK and the EU. Deal or no deal, there will be changes and possible disruptions and delays from more bureaucracy.
5. Morocco is set to normalise ties with Israel.
Morocco is set to normalise its relations with Israel, in a move backed and brokered by the United States. It has sparked mixed reactions from the international community.
It is the fourth Arab country since August to strike a deal to normalise ties with Israel, together with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
As part of the agreement, the US will recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara, which has been a bitterly disputed territory with Algeria claiming ownership over the land.
Palestinians have criticised the deals, saying Arab countries are validating Israel’s occupation and set a major setback for peace talks.
Is there an international news piece you think we’ve missed? Comment below