It can be hard to keep up with the news. That’s why we do the hard work for you, making sure everything is written up each Sunday ‘For The Record’.
The biggest story for students this week was the news from the Scottish Government, followed up by an email from Principal Sally Mapstone, that Covid testing will be provided from 30th November for students who wish to return home over the holidays. Details of timings and distribution are still TBC, but the news provides comfort for those of us intending to go back over the break. This news came after similar measures (with greater detail) were announced for students in England.
Also at the University, the Covid tally rose to 96 since September, and a new website was launched to report concerns about sexual assault, harassment, abuse, discrimination and more. Report + Support allows students and staff to make anonymous reports, or leave contact details with their report, to university bosses.
Also this week, Scotland qualified for the Euro’s for the first time since 1996.
Despite everything, the biggest news in the UK this week was not that a 90% effective Covid vaccine was recently announced. It was not the news that we are out of recession, but unemployment is still surging. It wasn’t the news of a train derailing, Remembrance Day, an extra bank holiday for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, or the death of the Yorkshire Ripper.
It wasn’t even the return of I’m A Celebrity.
Instead, the biggest news in the UK this week was the collapse of the Vote Leave faction in Number 10. After weeks of press leaks and infighting, two of the Prime Minister’s senior aides, Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings, resigned. You might remember Dominic Cummings from the time he broke Covid regulations to drive cross-country, ending with his epic journey to Barnard Castle.
At that time, Boris Johnson refused to sack him, even as his actions directly undermined government policy and public health.
Now he’s gone.
Competing versions of events have made their way into the news, but the long and short of the story seems to be that Johnson asked Cain and Cummings to resign. A less than elegant departure for the men behind both Brexit and the Tories’ election campaign.
Despite the sacking of the ‘superforecasters’ (who didn’t see it coming), Brexit is still ongoing. The government suffered a defeat in the Lords on their Internal Markets Bill, but have pledged to continue with the legislation as planned. Now, all eyes are on the PM and his team as the EU summit of 19th November is mooted as the deadline for a draft deal.
The fallout from the US election was the dominant force in international headlines this week. Joe Biden began to establish a transition team, even as the agency responsible for releasing funds to the President-Elect refused to recognise his win. As a result, Biden was forced to seek out national security experts himself, as he was barred from daily briefings typically given to an incoming administration. He also named his chief of staff, Ron Klain.
Soon to be former President Trump continued to attack the result of the election and the democratic institutions of the US, claiming fraud with little-to-no evidence over a week after Election Day. US election officials resisted this claim, with a coalition of federal and state officials describing the election as the ‘most secure ever’.
As the Trump campaign continues to file lawsuits in an attempt to subvert the will of the American people, they appear to be making little progress. Multiple cases across battleground states were dismissed this week, and analysts suggest that with Biden’s current margins of victory, the legal challenges and calls for vote recounts will struggle to make a difference to the result overall. Despite his attempts, Trump has lost the election.
A few other international stories made waves:
In the Caucasus, the peace deal brokered by Russia between Armenia and Azerbaijan was met with anger in parts of Armenia. Footage of Armenians saying goodbye to heritage sites went viral.
In Hong Kong, pro-democracy lawmakers resigned en-masse after the removal of four members by China. On Wednesday, Beijing passed a resolution allowing the Hong Kong government to dismiss politicians deemed a threat to national security. Opposition lawmakers then left in solidarity.
Finally, in Ethiopia, conflict has widened in the Tigray region. Tensions between The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the government of Ethiopia recently turned to full-scale violence, spilling over to nearby Sudan. At least 17,000 people have crossed the border, according to the UN.