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VOA News for Sunday, December 27th, 2020

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VOA News for Sunday, December 27th, 2020
Thanks to https://gandalf.ddo.jp/ for transcribing
This is VOA news. Via remote, I’m Diane Roberts.
Tough new coronavirus restrictions have begun in the U.K. with Scotland and Northern Ireland under tighter measures to try to slow a new variant of the virus that is believed to spread more quickly. AP correspondent Zaria Shaklee reports.
Measures that were relaxed for Christmas day in Wales have also been re-imposed.
The number of people under the country’s top level of restrictions, Tier 4, has increased by 6 million to 24 million people, around 43 percent of Britain’s population. No indoor mixing of households is allowed and only essential travel permitted. Gyms, pools, hairdressers and stores selling nonessential goods have been ordered to close.
Zaria Shaklee, London.
The first two cases of the particularly infectious coronavirus variant have been confirmed in Canada, health authorities said Saturday.
The couple has been placed in isolation. It comes the same day Ontario reimposed a lockdown for several weeks due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Swedish health authorities announced a first isolated case of the new virus, saying the sufferer had traveled from the United Kingdom but insisted the risk of spreading was low.
Four cases were confirmed in Madrid Saturday though the patients were not seriously ill, according to the Madrid regional government’s deputy health chief, who said, quote, “there is no need for alarm.” end quote The new strain which experts fear is more contagious, prompted more than 50 countries to impose travel restrictions on the U.K.
Meantime, in Asia, China’s Communist leadership issued a statement hailing the, quote, “extremely extraordinary glory,” end quote, of its handling of the virus that emerged in the country’s Hubei province last year, state news agency reported.
In the post-Soviet nation of Turkmenistan where the government claims no coronavirus cases, the president, a former dentist, claimed that licorice can stop coronavirus from developing.
This is VOA news.
Saturday, Britain and the European Union published the full text of the post-Brexit trade agreement aimed at governing their relationship when the U.K. definitively leaves the bloc’s single market in just five days.
The document is more than 1,200 pages long and lays out detail on trade, law enforcement and dispute settlement among other arrangements.
The document is complex and includes explanatory notes and side arrangements on nuclear cooperation and the exchange of classified information even though, the complexity both sides have indicated, they will rush through its adoption.
Law enforcement officials have told The Associated Press federal investigators have identified a person of interest in connection with the explosion that rocked downtown Nashville in the U.S. state of Tennessee Christmas Day. AP correspondent Julie Walker reports.
Investigators from multiple federal and local law enforcement agencies were at a home in Antioch in suburban Nashville after receiving information relevant to the investigation, according to FBI Special Agent Jason Pack. Another law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press investigators regard someone associated with the property as a person of interest in the bombing.
Earlier Saturday, investigators said they were looking at a number of individuals who may be connected to the bombing have also found no additional explosive devices.
The blast which rocked an AT&T building also knocked out some 911, cell and Wi-Fi communications across the state.
I’m Julie Walker.
U.S. President Donald Trump is spending the holiday weekend at his Florida resort as both Democrats and Republicans wait to see whether he will sign a critical pandemic relief and government funding package that he sharply criticized earlier this week.
The legislation which includes $892 billion for coronavirus relief was flown from Washington to the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida for him to sign into law, but the president surprised lawmakers in both parties by labeling the legislation a “disgrace.”
Mr. Trump said the package gave too much money to special interests and foreign aid, and said direct payments of $600 for most Americans should be increased to $2,000.
A partial federal government shutdown looms early Tuesday if Mr. Trump does not sign the bill. Congress is planning to return to work Monday and could take up a stopgap measure to extend government funding.
George Blake was the last in a line of British spies whose secret work for the Soviet Union humiliated the intelligence establishment when it was discovered at the height of the civil war (Cold War).
He died in Russia Saturday. He was 98.
From Washington, via remote, I’m Diane Roberts, VOA news.

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