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The World

The White House made a $916bn stimulus offer to break the logjam, as Sec. Mnuchin revealed the proposal amid fresh uncertainty about the fate of talks. Meanwhile, House Minority Leader McCarthy said he and Senate Majority Leader McConnell told the White House they would support including $600 stimulus checks in a relief deal. Separately, World Bank President David Malpass said it will take two to three years for global output to return to pre-pandemic levels as many developing nations slowly climb out the slump with the help of vaccines, as tourism declined and remittances from their workers based in rich countries dried up. (Financial TimesAxiosWall Street Journal)

As thousands of Britons became the first people in the world to be inoculated against the disease outside of a trial, it emerged that two more consignments of the injection — some 1 million doses — would be delivered next week and the week after, following the initial 800,000 doses. (The Times)

FDA scientists endorsed the efficacy and safety of the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, setting the stage for an emergency authorization as early as this week. (Stat News)

  • In split-screen assessments of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump focused on the “medical miracle” of vaccines and President-elect Biden warned of a “very dark winter.” Trump said he would invoke the Defense Production Act if needed to ensure Americans are first in line for domestically produced coronavirus vaccines. Biden pledged “100 million shots in 100 days,” and said he will sign an executive order the day he is sworn in to require Americans to wear masks on buses and trains crossing state lines, as well as in federal buildings. (New York TimesReutersWashington Post)

  • In Ireland, young people will get the vaccine before the middle aged because of their active social lives. In Texas, at least three state Board of Education members test positive for the coronavirus after in-person meeting. (The TimesTexas Tribune)

The Chinese tech giant Huawei has tested facial recognition software that could send automated “Uighur alarms” to government authorities when its camera systems identify members of the oppressed minority group, according to an internal document that provides further details about China’s artificial-intelligence surveillance regime. A document signed by Huawei representatives shows that the telecommunications firm worked in 2018 with the facial recognition start-up Megvii to test an artificial-intelligence camera system that could scan faces in a crowd and estimate each person’s age, sex and ethnicity — potentially flagging Uighurs for police in China, where members of the group have been detained en masse as part of a brutal government crackdown. (Washington Post)

Chinese trade officials are unlikely to reassess their bilateral free-trade agreement with Australia this month at the five-year review point. Neither Beijing nor Canberra has shown the enthusiasm to upgrade their trade relations when China is restricting Australian imports from wine to timber after Canberra offended Beijing on multiple issues. (South China Morning Review)

  • Separately, China will improve its green finance standards to support carbon neutrality objectives, central bank governor said. In Asia, a major tech supply chain is squeezed as demand for devices booms and companies scramble to secure capacity amid shortages of key chip components. Singapore’s economy is expected to contract 6% in 2020. (ReutersNikkei Asian ReviewMarketWatch)

Talk of a 'no deal' Brexit grows as deadline looms: A trade agreement with the European Union will be possible only if Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen can find a new political will to break the deadlock in talks tonight, Downing Street has warned. The prime minister is to meet the president of the European Commission for dinner in Brussels in an attempt to salvage trade negotiations before an EU summit tomorrow. (The Times, Reuters)

The French army has been given the go-ahead to develop bionic soldiers resistant to pain and stress and endowed with extra brain power thanks to microchip implants. Research includes pills to keep troops awake for long periods and surgery to improve hearing. Other areas in the “field of study” involve implants which release anti-stress substances or “improve cerebral capacity.” Research is also under way into implants that enable headquarters to read soldiers’ “physiological parameters” from a distance, or locate them on the battlefield. (The Times)

Urban-Rural Divide: While 37% of adults say their daily lives have gotten worse during the pandemic, people living in urban areas were three times as likely as those in rural America to say their lives have gotten better, 30% to 10%.

  • Urban adults were also more likely to say their relationships with romantic partners, friends and children have improved during the pandemic, as well as their physical and mental health, personal finances and career and work lives. 27% of adults in urban areas said their careers had improved, for example, compared with 11% of people in rural communities. (Morning Consult)

79% of Germans say current relations with the U.S. are in bad shape. Meanwhile, Americans view Germany as a partner on key issues, but Germans do not see the U.S. in the same light. (Pew Research Center)


San Francisco's rent plunge shows the effects of tech fleeing the city, as the rise of remote work is remaking one of America’s priciest places to live. The median rent for a studio apartment dropped 35% last month from a year earlier, to $2,100, while costs for one-bedrooms were down 27% to $2,716. Offices sit empty as work-from-home policies stretch indefinitely. (Bloomberg)

DoorDash priced its IPO at $102 a share, considerably higher than the San Francisco company’s most recent expected target range of $90 to $95 a share, which DoorDash had already increased. DoorDash is expected to raise at least $3.36 billion at a valuation of $32.4 billion. Its stock is expected to begin trading Wednesday on the NYSE under the ticker “DASH.” (MarketWatch)

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said he has moved to Texas, taking aim at Silicon Valley and becoming one of the highest-profile executives yet to leave California during the coronavirus pandemic. He said relocating made sense with Tesla’s new factory being built in Texas. He lamented that California, in his view, had become complacent with its innovators. (Wall Street Journal)

High-profile executives and rank-and-file staff have faced increased physical threats this year from inside and outside their companies, leading corporate security teams to search for ways to better protect employees—particularly those working from home. Meanwhile, a new report from One Fair Wage finds that more than 80% of workers are seeing a decline in tips and over 40% say they're facing an increase in sexual harassment from customers. (Wall Street Journal, NPR)


Cybersecurity firm FireEye, whose research unit often warns of sophisticated, state-sponsored cyberattacks on companies and government agencies and one of the world’s largest cybersecurity firms, was hacked in what it said was a highly sophisticated foreign-government attack that compromised its software tools used to test the defenses of its thousands of customers. Meanwhile, a hacker used a cyber-attack to force-open the doors of 2,732 package delivery lockers across Moscow. The attack targeted the network of PickPoint, a local delivery service that maintains a network of more than 8,000 package lockers across Moscow and Saint Petersburg. (The Information, FireEye, ZDNet)

Amazon launched HealthLake, a service that enables health care organizations to store, transform, and analyze up to petabytes of life science data in Amazon Web Services. Amazon says that the HIPAA-eligible HealthLake, which is available in preview starting today, can automatically understand and extract medical information including rules, procedures, and diagnoses in real time. (VentureBeat)

Lots of people are gunning for Google: Meet the man who might have the best shot. A coalition of states is about to file suit against the search giant. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has spent his life preparing for this moment. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg threatened to end Facebook’s UK investment in private 2018 meeting with digital chief, warning over ‘anti-tech’ tone. (Protocol, TechCrunch)

Nielsen is updating its TV ratings to reflect a world which audiences are watching TV both live and on-demand, across a variety of different streaming services and devices. The company aims to start rolling out the new setup, called Nielsen ONE, by the end of 2022 and then make it the dominant currency by fall 2024. While the firm has long provided the standard measure for TV audiences, things are more fragmented when it comes to digital viewing. (TechCrunch, Deadline)

Apple announces $549 AirPods Max noise-canceling headphones. (The Verge)

Smart Links

Mayor Pete may get China post. (Axios)

Long-awaited 5G auction expected to stretch carriers’ balance sheets. (Wall Street Journal)

The world’s first mobile DNA genome sequence analyzer. (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)

McKinsey issues a rare apology for its role in OxyContin sales. (New York Times)

Plastic surgeons say business is up, partly because clients don’t like how they look on Zoom. (Washington Post)

Gut microbiome funding hits $1B. (Crunchbase)

Michigan-Ohio State game canceled for first time in more than 100 years. (Michigan Daily)

Learn More (Today, 3 pm ET): COVID-19: Chasing Science to Save Lives, featuring Anthony Fauci, moderated by Sanjay Gupta of CNN. (Harvard Chan School of Public Health)

Highest point on Earth got higher: Mount Everest grows by 86cm to now measure 8848.86m. (Nepali Times)