22 Nov Lazar Cartu Says: Coronavirus live: Gaza’s clinics could soon be overwhelmed;…
Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Maggie Smith are among some of the biggest names in British theatre who will join forces for a one-off Zoom performance in aid of the struggling arts industry.
Derek Jacobi and Kenneth Branagh will also take part in the performance, which will raise money for people who used to work in UK theatres closed by the pandemic.
“We can’t appear on the stage and we can’t be in a studio … but we can be on this extraordinary thing called Zoom,” Dame Judi told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
None of the cast will be told much about what they will be doing in advance of the show, she said, describing it as “an actor’s nightmare”.
The proceeds will go to the charity Acting for Others, of Dench is president, to provide emotional and financial support to onstage, backstage and front-of-house workers.
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As the United States recorded its 12th million Covid-19 case, the Trump administration’s vaccine program adviser predicted that life in America could be back to normal around May of 2021 as immunisation is set to begin.
The note of optimism came even as millions of Americans were expected to travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday this week and many appeared to be ignoring warnings from health officials about furthering the spread of the infectious disease.
Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser of the government’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine development and distribution program, which involves the military and the private sector as well as government health experts, said that pending regulatory approval for the first vaccine means the first Americans could be vaccinated outside of clinical trial by mid-December.
And Slaoui said that if the vaccination distribution and immunisation plan goes well, enough Americans should be vaccinated by “May or something like that” of 2021 to allow life to go back to normal.
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State-sponsored hackers from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are engaged in concerted attempts to steal coronavirus vaccine secrets in what security experts describe as “an intellectual property war”.
They accuse hostile-state hackers of trying to obtain trial results early and seize sensitive information about drug mass production, at a time when a range of vaccines are close to being approved for the public.
Previously the hackers’ primary intention was to steal the secrets behind the design of a vaccine, with hundreds of drug companies, research labs and health organisations from around the world targeted at any one time.
The cyber struggle involves western intelligence agencies, including Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, who say they are committed to protecting “our most critical assets”.
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Specialist Christmas tree sellers, farms and stalls were allowed to reopen for sales in England this weekend, after the government changed the lockdown rules to reclassify them as “essential” retailers.
While supermarkets and garden centres have been selling fresh cut trees because they were deemed to be essential businesses, smaller “farmgate” sellers were forced to close because of the month-long restrictions.
The British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association had been lobbying for the change to support the UK fresh tree sector, pointing out that sales tend to take place outdoors where social distancing is easier. Many of its members have been offering pre-booked appointments or even webcam facilities to allow shoppers to choose their own trees, with “click and collect” and other delivery services being rolled out in the run-up to Christmas. The organisation has more than 320 members who sell approximately 8m trees every year, along with fresh wreaths and holly, and with prices generally lower than in garden centres.
Last week turkey farmers received a similar pre-Christmas boost after being told by the government that thousands of seasonal workers coming to the UK from Europe to help slaughter and pluck birds for festive tables are being exempted from the 14-day quarantine.