A bruising defeat for an already embattled prime minister, damning accusations against a Sex and the City actor, and worries about Christmas as the spread of infections reaches record levels.
- The UK reported nearly 90,000 cases on Thursday. Of those, 1,691 are confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.
- In Ireland, more than a quarter (27%) of new cases are said to be of the new Omicron variant. The Cabinet are set to meet today to discuss NPHET's most recent recommendations - that hospitality close from 5pm next week, and that large events continue at either 50% capacity or 5,000 people at outdoor events.
- The Queen cancelled a traditional royal Christmas lunch as a precautionary measure for the second year in a row, amid the surge in cases.
- In football, at least five Premier League matches schedule for this weekend have been postponed amid a rise in infection rates.
We know it can all seem a bit negative and overwhelming at the moment, but the explainer below makes for a very helpful overview of the current situation - how we got here etc.
It has been a long couple of weeks for Prime Minister Johnson - the Christmas party saga, record rates of infections, and an embarrassing Tory rebellion in the House of Commons.
Yet, it gets worse. In a stunning outcome, the Liberal Democrats have won a seat that was comfortably Conservative for nearly 200 years.
Why was there a by-election? Remember MP Owen Paterson resigned weeks ago following a political storm which started with how he broke the rules on paid lobbying while serving as an MP. The governments backed calls for changes to how MPs were investigated, they got a lot of backlash, they did a u-turn, Paterson resigned.
Anwyay, back to this by-election: For context on how big of a win this is for the Lib Dems, Paterson held on to the seat in the 2019 election with a majority of nearly 23,000 votes. The Lib Dems won by 6,000 votes this morning.
CHRIS NOTH ALLEGATIONS
Chris Noth - the actor who recently reprised his role as 'Mr Big' from Sex and the City - has been accused by two women of sexual assault.
The accusations relate to 2004 and 2015. The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the story, said the two women approached the publication "separately, months apart" and do not know each other. Noth vehemently denies them, saying "the encounters were consensual", while also questioning the timing of the allegations.
What exactly is he accused of? One of the accusers claims Noth asked her to return a book to his apartment and then kissed her as soon as she answered the door. He then moved her over to the bed and "began to rape her from behind". The woman said a friend brought her to hospital where she required stitches.
Here is a link to the full article with the accusations.
KEEPING AN EYE...
There are two high-profile cases, involving truly polarising women, that we are keeping an eye on at the moment.
The first is the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, as the defence makes their case. The key update here is that a judge refused the defence's request to have three witnesses testify anonymously.
The second is the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, as the prosecution makes their closing arguments. Remember: Holmes could face 20 years in prison if convicted of the accusations she lied to both investors and the public on the efficacy of her blood tests. Her company, Theranos, was once considered a game changer in the health industry, until a series of explosive articles in The Wall Street Journal led to the unravelling of it all.
- BBC News: Search warrant issued for Alec Baldwin's phone
- The Guardian: North Shropshire by-election: Liberal Democrats win former safe Tory seat in blow to Boris Johnson
- The Financial Times: France to block entry to UK tourists as Omicron surges
- Al Jazeera: Kim Jong Un: 10 years of missiles, murder and economic misery
- The Irish Times: Cabinet to consider 5pm closing time for hospitality amid 'darkened mood'
In Thursday's NewsFix, we wrote about a UK campaigner's efforts to have gender neutral passports issued. We asked you guys on our Instagram page what you thought.
- The majority (59%) do not believe gender neutral passports should be issued.
- More than three-quarters (76%) do not believe having an 'X' option on your passport is a human right.
WATCHING OUT FOR...
The Murder of Gabby Petito - a new documentary - airs on Peacock today, including interviews with her parents.
Remember: Earlier this year, Gabby went missing while on a trip around the US with her long-term partner, Brian Laundrie. Weeks later, her body was found, but Laundrie - who was suspected of her murder - went missing. A huge manhunt followed. Weeks later, Laundrie's remains were found. He is believed to have taken his own life.
Ten years since the death of Kim Jong Il - the former North Korean leader, whose life remains shrouded in mystery and state propaganda. There are some reports the country has imposed an 11-day ban on laughing to mark the anniversary.
His son, Kim Jong Un, is the country’s current leader. Look out for tomorrow’s DeepDive into North Korea - it makes for a fascinating read!
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
A for effort.