How Can India Pick A Team To Play England In Two Weeks?

Here’s the logic. If you win, you keep the same team and if you lose, you change it. Ain’t broke, don’t fix. Well, that was the case for the vast majority of the history of sports, and in cricket, probably more than in any other sport. Form trumped fatigue every time.

In the last decade or so, squad rotation has taken a hold at the top level of soccer and it’s highly unlikely that any player, even the best player, will feature in every game. (Since you’re asking, only 15 players played every minute of every game in the Premier League

last season, and 9 of them were goalkeepers.) As anyone who plays Fantasy Premier League will know, everyone from Pep Guardiola down is a fan.

England, uniquely it seems among cricketing nations, have very much taken rotation to heart. Broad and Anderson have been swapping one place, as have Archer and Wood, while Ben Stokes has also been given time off to rest. Given their preeminence in the 50-over format, their desire to win the upcoming 20-over World Cup and playing more Tests than anyone else in the last few years, it makes sense. But this isn’t a column about England.

The question of rotation, or even who constitutes is India’s best XI, is one that lies wide, wide open. India just pulled off one of the greatest victories in their long Test history, but with half a team. A host of new stars were made, but old faces will return and, of course, they have as tough a workload as England do, too. 

Only two of the players who began in Adelaide in December were on the field a week ago in Brisbane, Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Ajinkya Rahane. Injuries enforced a level of rotation that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would never have countenanced.

It’s hard to imagine Virat Kohli taking two Tests off, as Ben Stokes has done during England’s current tour to Sri Lanka. Including Kohli, India’s best batsman, two best spinners, two best all rounders and three best fast bowlers all failed to make it to Brisbane.

Of the stars that day at the Gabba, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Shubman Gill, Mohamad Siraj and Thangarasu Natarajan were either debutants or relative newbies. Now, they have as much a reason to expect a place in the team, or at least the squad, as anyone. How India fits them all in is the big issue. Of the new players, Sundar and Gill are 21 and could take a back seat knowing that their time may yet come, but the others are 26 or older. They need to play.

There is an obvious answer to all of this. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill have done enough to continue opening, Pujara and Rahane played every game, Rishabh Pant was the man of the match and Virat Kohli is back, so there’s your batters. Jasprit Bumrah is the attack leader, Ravi Ashwin should be back and Mohamed Siraj lead the attack with aplomb, so there’s three more. That leaves just two places. 

India’s squad, announced yesterday, posed more questions than it answers. Ishant Sharma is there, having not traveled to Australia. He’s closing in on 100 Tests for India and you can’t see a world where he doesn’t play a part. Hardik Pandya is one of the most destructive hitters on Earth, and adds a bowling option (like England’s Ben Stokes, he is listed solely as a batter, but expect that to change if things are going wrong). KH Rahul is back for the second Test at the earliest. Where he fits in remains to be seen. 

Kuldeep Yadav can’t be far away either, especially in home conditions that should suit spin. Axar Patel is waiting in the wings for a debut and Washington Sundar more than impressed in Brisbane. While India’s traditional turning pitches might be a thing of the past, and fast bowling now a strength rather than a weakness, it would play heavily into England’s strengths if spin took a back seat.

Dom Bess and Jack Leach are nowhere near the standard of Yadav or Ashwin and England would love it if India prepared pitches that allowed them to play one spinner and chuck in an extra seam option, especially if that got the old guard of Stuart Broad and James Anderson on at the same time.

What all this amounts to is an incredibly harsh reality. Some established Indian stars will have to sit at least some of the series out, some of the new names will find themselves miles away from the team again, and some of the not-established, but still well-known figures will miss out without really doing anything wrong. Hanuma Vihari and Mayunk Agarwal in particular did exactly what was asked of them for the team. We’ve not even mentioned Mohammed Shami, Bhuvi Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, who are all still injured.

It’s a good problem to have, for sure, but one that India must manage skilfully. After four Tests in Australia and four at home to England, they will play 5 T20s, 3 One Day Internationals, followed by another edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that will see their players decamp to a bubble for another six weeks. There’s also a four Test series in England and then a home T20 World Cup in the late summer and autumn. It’s a lot of bubbles, a lot of cricket and a lot of stress on their players. 

England’s approach to rotation is designed to have all their players at top capacity, even if that means some of them sitting out from time to time. India might have to look into it to make the most of their undoubtedly huge resources.

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GP claims delaying second dose of Pfizer vaccine beyond three weeks is an ‘unlicensed trial’ 

A GP has claimed delaying second doses of the Pfizer jab beyond three weeks is an ‘unregulated and unlicensed trial’ – but a Government vaccine expert says the move could save ‘thousands of lives’. 

Dr Rosie Shire, a member of the Doctors’ Association UK, raised concerns that studies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine only show two doses three weeks apart to deliver 90 per cent immunity.

But Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there is ‘no real evidence’ that a quicker follow-up dose was more effective.

To accelerate the rollout of the vaccine, the Government has opted to extend the gap between the first and second jab to 12 weeks to allow it to be administered to a greater number of people.

But the moved has proved controversial, with Matt Hancock forced to defend the delay, calling it ‘essential’ to save more lives more quickly. 

Dr Shire said: ‘What really concerns us is we don’t know what happens if you don’t give that second dose of vaccination after three weeks.

‘The fact is that people are being vaccinated now and being put into what is effectively an unregulated unlicensed trial, whereby they’re receiving this vaccination on the understanding that they don’t know what’s going on.’ 

The GP said that it was ‘really hard’ to explain to people they were vaccinating with the Pfizer vaccination that they would get ‘some immunity’ but that after three weeks it was unclear how much.

She added that it was difficult to obtain ‘informed consent’ from patients when doctors did not have the full information to give to them. 

But Professor Harnden said the extended gap may provide better protection in the long run.

He said: ‘We do believe you should have a second dose but we do believe that that can be delayed.’

Dr Rosie Shire, of the Doctors’ Association UK, raised concerns studies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine only show two doses three weeks apart to deliver 90 per cent immunity

Prof Harden cited data from a study of the Moderna vaccine – which uses a similar technology to the Pfizer vaccine – which showed 1,000 people had 90 per cent immunity two months after receiving one dose.

‘If you look at the AstraZeneca data – which I accept is a different technology – it may be that the longer you leave the second dose the better protection you have,’ he said.

‘Hopefully not only will this strategy get more people immunised and protect the vulnerable elderly and save thousands and thousands of lives, it may in the end give protection to the population as a whole.’ 

But Professor Anthony Harnden (pictured), deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there is 'no real evidence' that a quicker follow-up dose was more effective

But Professor Anthony Harnden (pictured), deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there is ‘no real evidence’ that a quicker follow-up dose was more effective

Earlier today, when asked about the gap between doses, Mr Hancock told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: ‘We do know this policy is going to save lives.

‘So long as there is decent efficacy after the first dose, and we have a high degree of confidence that that’s the case, then in a situation where there is a limited supply… you want to get as many people to have as much protection as possible as quickly as possible.

‘If you have grandparents who are both in their 70s or 80s you obviously would want each of them to have one dose when you know that one dose is effective, rather than one to have the full two doses and one to have no protection at all.’ 

Yesterday Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told colleagues The Guardian’s report that only a third of people who have received one injection were protected was ‘total nonsense’ which could threaten the uptake of the jab.

The newspaper quoted ‘Israeli experts’ but No 10’s vaccine advisers say the real figure is 89 per cent, starting 14 days after the first jab.

It was reported yesterday that a single shot of the Pfizer vaccine had led to a ‘major presence’ of antibodies in 91 per cent of doctors and nurses who received it in Israel within 21 days. 

Professor Harnden (pictured) said the extended gap may provide better protection in the long run

Professor Harnden (pictured) said the extended gap may provide better protection in the long run 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the Government's decision to delay the time between vaccine doses

Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the Government’s decision to delay the time between vaccine doses

The report quoted Israeli Covid commissioner Professor Nachman Ash as saying that a single dose of Pfizer appeared ‘less effective than we had thought’, once cases of asymptomatic infection were included, although those who had received their second dose had a six- to 12-fold increase in antibodies.

Later in the week, the paper reported that Israel’s health ministry had ‘moved to row back on comments’ by Professor Ash’s suggestion that single doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine had not given as much protection against the disease as had been hoped.

It quoted the Israeli Ministry of Health as saying that the ‘full protective impact of the vaccine’ had not yet been seen.

The Guardian said last night that it had reported both Professor Ash’s ‘initial comments’ and subsequent comments from Israel’s health ministry: ‘The Guardian’s independent readers’ editor has not received any complaints about either article.’

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Queensland man Robert Weber found ALIVE after going missing for three weeks

A Queensland man who has been missing since January 6 has been found alive by a property owner near Kilkivan after drinking dam water and eating mushrooms for the last three weeks while lost in the bush.

Police believe Narangba man Robert Weber’s car had become bogged on a road he was unfamiliar with after last being seen leaving a Kilkivan hotel in a white 2000 model Ford Falcon on January 6.

The 58-year-old is believed to have stayed at his car with his dog for three days before running out of water.

In search of water, Weber became lost and separated from his dog.

“He left on foot and became lost and remained at a dam where he survived by sleeping on the ground, drinking dam water and eating mushrooms,” Queensland Police said on Sunday.

Police believe Narangba man Robert Weber’s car had become bogged on a road he was unfamiliar with after last being seen leaving a Kilkivan hotel in a white 2000 model Ford Falcon on January 6. Credit: Queensland Police

Queensland Police reported that Weber is safe and well while now recovering in hospital.

He is currently being treated for exposure to the elements while being lost over the past weeks.

Search for Robert Weber

Police had on Thursday suspended the air and land search for the 58-year-old.

“After a week of searching dense bushland, rivers, dams and steep terrain during wet conditions … the decision was made to discontinue the search for the Nerangba man, who has not been seen in that period,” Queensland Police said on Thursday.

“A search of the immediate surrounds led by police with the assistance of State Emergency Services personnel and aerial assets concluded yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.”

Police were encouraging locals to “continue to keep an eye out” for Weber and his dog, with particular concern for Weber, who family said suffered from a medical condition.

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Coronavirus latest: US cases and hospitalisations at lowest in weeks as UK sets daily death record

Peter Wells in New York

The US continues to experience easing trends in cases and hospitalisations, with trends for both metrics dropping to their lowest levels in weeks.

States reported an additional 144,047 infections, according to Tuesday data from Covid Tracking Project, which marked the smallest daily increase in cases since December 25.

Over the past week, the US has averaged 197,930 cases a day. That is the first time the rate has been below 200,000 — and the lowest it has been — since figures reported on January 1 that were up to and including December 31. About a week ago, the US averaged a record 244,707 cases a day.

Infection rates appear to have eased in a majority of states. Just four states — Virginia, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Maine — had seven-day-average case rates that were higher on Tuesday compared with a week ago, according to a Financial Times analysis of CTP data.

That is the fewest number of states with rising infections since early March 2020.

A preschooler attends class behind a Plexiglas shield in Chicago

The trend in hospital admissions is similar, data show. North Dakota, Idaho, Utah, New York and Kansas are the only states with more patients in hospital than they had seven days ago. That is the fewest number of states with rising hospitalisations since March 23.

Overall, the number of people currently in US hospitals being treated for coronavirus fell to a 17-day low of 123,820 from 123,848 on Monday. That tally is down 6.5 per cent from a January 6 peak.

Authorities attributed a further 2,141 fatalities to coronavirus, up from a five-week low on Monday of 1,395. The US has averaged 2,997 deaths a day over the past week, the first time in 11 days the rate has been below 3,000.

Since the start of the pandemic, the US has confirmed 392,428 fatalities, according to CTP, although Johns Hopkins University, which uses a different methodology, on Tuesday revealed its tally had topped 400,000.

In addition to nascent signs of the pandemic easing in the US, the latest figures are probably lower than might be expected on a typical Tuesday due to delays in reporting over the public holiday weekend.

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Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff suspended for three weeks

Marinoff argued that she had no alternative but to contest the ball which tumbled across the ground after a ruck contest and that she stopped in her tracks as soon as she realised that Stack was in a vulnerable position with her head over the loose ball.

When AFL counsel Andrew Woods asked the 23-year-old had she realised that Stack was in a vulnerable position when she approached the contest Marinoff said “That’s why I stopped.”

The star Crow also said circumstances outside her control led to the incident as her Giants’ opponent Alyce Parker had made contact with her as she stopped and that Stack’s head had therefore hit the side of her body rather than front on.

However the AFL Tribunal did not accept Marinoff’s evidence that refuted the suggestion she had made front on contact and upheld the charge of front on contact that was careless, high and severe. They also decided Marinoff had a realistic alternative.

The AFL argued that the tribunal should impose a minimum suspension of three games while Marinoff’s counsel argued that such a penalty would be excessive given the AFLW season runs for nine home and away matches.

The decision is a blow for Adelaide who have won two of the three premierships decided, with Marinoff a key player throughout the team’s history.

Adelaide are scheduled to play Melbourne in the opening round of the season with games against Gold Coast and the Western Bulldogs scheduled for rounds two and three although there is a chance the fixture could be amended due to border restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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Canberra’s rental crisis is forcing many to spend weeks searching for a home as prices go beyond ‘affordable’

Finding a rental property in Canberra at this time of year is almost always a battle, as hordes of people flock to the national capital to start university and take up new jobs.

But as the country remains in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, there was hope among prospective tenants that this year would be less brutal.

It’s not. In fact, it’s worse.

“The market is crazy,” real estate agent Mel Brill said.

“It just has a mind of its own at the moment.”

While COVID-19 has halted the usual influx of international arrivals, more Australians are relocating to Canberra from interstate than agents expected.

And the mass exodus from the territory that usually happens at this time of year is not occurring, with most Canberrans seemingly happy to stay put.

From northside to southside, inspections have been drawing record crowds and more applications than agents can handle.

And, because demand for rental properties is so high, house hunters have even been offering well above the asking price to increase their chances of success.

“I had 30 groups through a house in Ainslie that was advertised for $620 and I was getting offers at $750 — it was ridiculous,” Ms Brill said.

Low supply + high demand = $$$

Demand for property in Canberra is high.(ABC News: Toby Hunt)

According to data from CoreLogic, Canberra is currently the most expensive city for renters in the country.

The median weekly rent for a house in the capital is $657 — up 3.6 per cent since 2019.

Apartment rents are also increasing but not as quickly, with the average now $473 per week.

Hannah Gill, president of the Real Estate Institute of the ACT (REIACT), said the housing and rental markets live by a simple equation of supply and demand.

When supply is low, demand becomes high, causing prices to skyrocket.

“Data released this week showed a 1.1 per cent vacancy rate, which is just not a sustainable vacancy rate,” Ms Gill, said.

House hunters at breaking point

Kellee looks down at a box she is packing.
Kellee Roberts finally secured a rental property after weeks of searching.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Single mother Kellee Roberts had not rented in more than a decade and was not prepared for the angst that finding a new home in Canberra would bring.

“I’ve been to inspections where there are 40 and 50 people at them,” Ms Roberts said.

Ms Roberts has been looking for a rental property since selling her home in Gowrie last November.

She applied for more than 10 properties in two weeks and was rejected from every one.

“I’d like to think being a single parent doesn’t work against me, but it probably does,” Ms Roberts said.

“Only having one income in a family, people have that concern that you’re not as financially secure and I do feel like it does go against me.”

It shouldn’t, RIEACT’s Ms Gill said.

“When we’re looking for a tenant, all we should be looking for is their capacity to care for the property and pay the rent,” Ms Gill said.

“So, how many kids they have, how many pets they have, what they do for a living, none of that should actually come into play.”

It got to the point where Ms Roberts had less than a week to find somewhere to live.

She wasn’t sleeping and was overwhelmed with stress.

Then she finally got the news she had been waiting for — she was approved for a home in Rivett and is scheduled to move in this week.

“I’m very, very relieved,” she said.

Battle of the uni students

Hannah smiles, standing at a Canberra bus stop.
ANU student Hannah Young says the rental market is competitive.(ABC News: Greg Nelson)

For two months, ANU student Hannah Young has spent every spare moment looking for a house to move into with three friends.

“We have all come from living on campus and it’s just been so hard because there are so many students doing the same thing,” Ms Young said.

“We’ve just been staring at the apps and real estate websites, waiting for houses to come on the market.”

The group has been to more than 30 inspections and submitted at least 15 applications.

“Because, if you’re offering what they’re asking for, you’ve got no shot, especially if you’re a student group, because that’s the only way you’re going to seem more attractive than families and professionals.”

In the past week, Hannah and her friends finally had some luck — they were approved for a four-bedroom house in Ainslie.

“I still feel such disbelief — I can’t believe we have a house, and it’s such a relief to delete the real estate apps,” Ms Young said.

The good news didn’t come cheaply, though.

The house was advertised for $800 per week but the group had to offer $200 more to secure it.

And the only reason they are able to afford that is because their parents are chipping in.

“This whole time I’ve been thinking, ‘Oh, woe is me’ but most student groups wouldn’t be getting parental support,” she said.

“And they’re having to compete with groups who have parents throwing money at the situation.”

Everything, everywhere being snapped up quickly

Grace Hooper smiles in front of a sign that says 'Independent'.
Independent Property Group general manager of property management Grace Hooper.(ABC News: Greg Nelson)

It is not only houses that are hot property in Canberra, with demand for units also soaring.

“Honestly, nothing is hard to move at the moment,” Grace Hooper, Independent Property Group’s general manager of property management, said.

“We’ve had a few large developments in Canberra — one in Braddon and one in Kingston — and they have rented extremely quickly.

“Usually with developments we do see, because there’s a large volume, they do take a little longer. But at the moment, that’s just not the case.”

But while competition is fierce, agents want would-be tenants to know that it is not always the highest bid that wins.

“Sometimes there’s a better fit or something else an owner is looking for, and most landlords will forgo $10 or $20 dollars for a tenant they feel really happy with in their property.”

Border-hopping investors

While interest in Canberra as a place to live may be high, investors are starting to look elsewhere, according to experts.

Ms Gill said there were for a number of reasons for that.

Hannah stands in a stylish kitchen, smiling.
President of the Real Estate Institute of the ACT (REIACT) Hannah Gill.(ABC News: Greg Nelson)

“If you’re looking at rents alone, Canberra’s a great place to invest and it always has been,” Ms Gill said.

“But if you’re looking at running costs and some of the other elements that tie into holding property in Canberra — land taxes and the balance of tenant and landlord rights, for example — that’s where it becomes a little bit murky.”

Ms Gill said those concerns meant investors were increasingly looking at areas beyond the the ACT border.

She said that was a huge concern because supply was already so strained and rental stress had become increasingly common.

“Housing needs to be a right, not a privilege,” she said.

“That creates a significant flow-on effect for rental stress and the way people can live in Canberra.”

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Albury court hears extradition of co-accused might happen within 2 weeks | The Border Mail

news, court-and-crime,

A defence lawyer for a man accused of committing murder at Gerogery a decade ago has spoken out against further delays in his client’s case going to trial. Phillip Gibson said it was wrong for his client to be disadvantaged simply because police had not yet been able to arrest a co-accused. The man, now 26, has been held in Sydney’s Long Bay jail ever since his extradition from Queensland in September, 2019. IN OTHER NEWS: He cannot be named as he was aged 16 at the time he allegedly murdered William Chaplin, whose remains were found a week before his arrest. “My client’s been ready to be committed for trial for months,” Mr Gibson told Albury Local Court magistrate Richard Funston on Tuesday, via a video link to Sydney. MORE COURT STORIES This latest delay has resulted from frustrated efforts by NSW authorities to have a second man accused of murdering Mr Chaplin, Paul Anthony Watson, extradited from Victoria, where he is serving full-time jail. Watson and Mr Gibson’s client are accused of killing Mr Chaplin between March and May of 2010. Mr Gibson said what had made the delay even more unpalatable was the fact that Watson hadn’t yet been charged by NSW police. But Director of Public Prosecutions representative Sam Baumgarten said there was “a possibility” Watson’s extradition would happen “in the next two weeks”. Mr Baumgarten said the problem in securing the extradition was not because of any inherent weakness in the prosecution case. “That’s not because of a lack of evidence,” he said. “That’s because the police can’t get down to Victoria to charge him.” Mr Funston, who said he “understands Mr Gibson’s frustration”, adjourned the matter for a further mention on February 2.


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Opinion | Less Than Two Weeks To Go

The most pressing issue facing the nation right now is how to grind out the closing days of the Trump era without further irreparable harm to the Republic. No more Americans should have to lose their lives to a transition of presidential power.

Starting Wednesday evening and on into Thursday, teams of workers were cleaning the broken glass and the leftover film of tear gas from the floor of the U.S. Capitol. Graffiti was being scoured from walls. Discarded Trump flags and plastic water bottles and broken furniture were being collected. With impressive efficiency, the visible wreckage from Wednesday’s assault on the heart of American democracy is being cleared away.

But the wounds to the nation remain, as does the specter of further unrest. America is in uncharted, unsettling territory. What happens when a sitting president incites thousands of his followers to attack the government that he ostensibly leads? There is deep division even about what to call the events that unfolded: A failed coup? An insurrection? Domestic terrorism?

The country is in for much soul-searching and fact-finding about precisely how the attack was allowed to happen. The failures of the Capitol Police, for starters, demand scrutiny. There also will be many long-term, big-picture challenges to tackle, including how to begin reabsorbing back into a reality-based civil society the millions of Trump supporters who have been radicalized by the president’s campaign of lies and truly believe that an overwhelming win for Joe Biden was a victory stolen from Donald Trump.

The storming of the people’s house by extremists — some of them armed, all of them spurred on by the wild ravings of a defeated man who cannot face reality — stunned the world. For a few hours, it seemed as though the whole country might go mad. Reports were rolling in of pro-Trump protesters descending on government buildings in Washington, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Minnesota, Colorado and beyond. That many of the seditionists wore ridiculous costumes and seemed more like hooligans than committed revolutionaries does not make what happened any less horrifying.

For all its horror — including the fatal shooting of one woman who broke into the Capitol and the death Thursday of a police officer who was at the scene — the chaos was short-lived. But the underlying rage continues to percolate.

In the wake of the attack, major social media platforms suspended Mr. Trump’s accounts — some more temporarily than others. This was the responsible thing to do. Lowering the temperature is an admirable goal, even after years of these companies profiting from raising it. But it obviously does not solve the problem.

Mr. Trump is still the president, even if not for long. The potential for him to wreak additional havoc is enormous. Just ask the 10 former secretaries of defense who felt moved to issue a statement this week warning the president not to drag the military into his election dispute.

There’s no doubt that Mr. Trump is responsible for the riot at the Capitol. But the blame rests as well with the Republican officials who humored him — specifically, the 139 House members and eight senators who gave his voter-fraud fantasies substance by voting to overturn the results of an election that was as free as it was fair. Their assault on democracy should be not be forgotten.

The bigger issue, however, is whether they, and other Americans in positions of power, are willing to finally take a stand against the president’s perfidy. His lies won’t stop. Yet the violence must end.

There are growing calls for Mr. Trump to be removed from office, if not by impeachment then perhaps by invocation of the 25th Amendment. Vice President Mike Pence is said to oppose this effort. But he and the president’s cabinet members have the responsibility to give it serious consideration. If those closest to Mr. Trump believe that he is in crisis and unable to fulfill the duties of his office — that he perhaps has become an acute threat to the nation — they have a duty to take action. The events of this week have shown all too vividly what can happen when public leaders do not put the public good ahead of politics.

Alternatively, it may be determined that criminal indictment is the more appropriate recourse. Mr. Trump’s actions in recent days may well run afoul of laws against insurrection or incitement. One top federal prosecutor hasn’t ruled out the idea. Such a remedy would extend beyond his time in office.

In less than two weeks, America will officially scrape the mud of the Trump presidency from its shoe. But the president and his supporters have shown themselves willing to burn down the house on his way out. Preventing this should be the chief focus of the nation’s leaders — most especially those who have coddled and enabled him to push the nation to the brink.

A safe and peaceful transition of power should be the top priority of every American.

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UK lockdowns could ease in weeks with AstraZeneca vaccine

Lockdowns in the UK could be eased at the end of February as the imminent approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, produced by AstraZeneca, will permit the vaccination of as many as 15 million people, the Mail on Sunday reported.

The country’s health service would no longer be at risk of being overwhelmed by virus cases once that threshold is met, the newspaper said. The vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca will be approved shortly and rolled out across the UK from January 4, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The UK became the first country in Western Europe to begin vaccinations, when it started using the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE shot on December 9. More than 600,000 people have been vaccinated. The government is hoping 2 million people will get a first dose of one of the vaccines within two weeks of the January roll-out of the new shot, the Telegraph said.

The country has been one of the hardest hit in Europe with more than 70,000 deaths, the most in the region after Italy. Much of the UK has been moved into the harshest Tier 4 restrictions, which prohibit household mixing and forced the closing of pubs, restaurants and many businesses, after the discovery earlier this month of a more contagious strain of the virus.


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England defender Trippier banned for 10 weeks for betting breaches

Atletico Madrid defender Kieran Trippier was banned from football for 10 weeks on Wednesday for breaching betting rules, a punishment from the English Football Association that applies worldwide.

The misconduct, denied by Trippier, happened in July 2019 – the month the England international left Tottenham for Atletico – and was linked to information about his transfer being used for betting.

Kieran Trippier has been banned by the English FA.Credit:Getty Images

The FA said an independent regulatory commission proved four of the breaches, which also saw Trippier fined £70,000 (about $125,000), but dismissed three allegations during a personal hearing.

“I want to make it clear that, while a professional footballer, I have at no stage placed any football-related bets or received any financial benefit from others betting,” Trippier said after being charged in May.

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