The US has recorded its biggest daily death toll of the pandemic so far, on the same day it also reached a record number of COVID-19 patients in hospital. More than 2,670 coronavirus deaths were reported on Wednesday – the equivalent of nearly two deaths a minute – according to Johns Hopkins University. The widely-respected COVID Tracking Project also found the number of coronavirus patients in hospital had surpassed 100,000 for the first time.
Iran’s Guardian Council watchdog body approved a law on Wednesday that obliges the government to halt U.N. inspections of its nuclear sites and step up uranium enrichment beyond the limit set under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal if sanctions are not eased in two months. In retaliation for the killing last week of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Iran’s hardline-dominated parliament on Tuesday approved the bill with a strong majority that will harden Iran’s nuclear stance.
Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy activist whose Apple Daily newspaper was raided by police earlier this year, has been denied bail after being charged with fraud. Lai – the owner of Hong Kong tabloid and founder of Next Digital Media – will be held on remand until his next court date in April next year.
Hundreds of Ethiopian Jews have been airlifted to Israel – the first of several thousand waiting to emigrate there in a long-running saga. It comes weeks after Israel announced plans to do so, after failing to implement a previous pledge to take in the community. The immigrants are related to Ethiopian Jews brought to Israel decades ago in a series of secret operations.
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the president of France from 1974 to 1981 who became a champion of European integration, died on Wednesday. He was 94. Giscard d’Estaing’s office said he passed away in his family home in the Loir-et-Cher region, in central France, after contracting COVID-19. He wrote the article in the EU charter that allowed Brexit to happen — the brief measure that allows a member state to leave the bloc.