Gef’s Daily Roundup

New Years’ Dip

A dip in the freezing sea is a great way to start 2021 and in Douglas, dippers can help raise money for two Manx charities as well. With the dip being started by Health Minister Ashy, who may or may not be going in himself. This year’s dip is raising money for Breast Cancer Now and Beach Buddies. The Douglas Dip gets underway at 12pm on January 1.

And while dippers can support Beach Buddies, founder Bill Dale will be showing the vital work his charity does as Beach Buddies is looking for volunteers to help clear the beach. Starting at 11am, they will be clearing the beach of seaweed and rubbish. Mr Dale said: ‘If you bring a rake or a garden fork that would be useful. If you can help please let us know by email at beachbuddiesisleofman@gmail.com.’

The cleanup and dip takes place opposite the Queen’s Hotel, Queen’s Promenade.

Walking in a winter wonderland

Several of the island’s roads have been closed today as a result of snow and ice on higher ground. The Mountain Road was shut from the Hairpin in Ramsey through to the Creg ny Baa while other parts of the TT course were also forced to shut due to the conditions. The cold snap also led to some bus services being suspended including around parts of Douglas.

Oxford vaccine is a go

Another major step in the fightback against Covid was announced today as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was granted approval for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given in the coming days. The UK has ordered 100 million doses – enough to vaccinate 50 million people. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, which needs to be stored at -70c, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored in a standard fridge so will be easier to deliver to care homes and GP surgeries.

South American nation legalises abortion

Argentina has legalised abortion, up to 14 weeks, in what is being seen as a major step forward for reproductive rights in a part of the world which has some of the most restrictive termination laws. Until now, abortions were only permitted in cases of rape or when the mother’s health was at risk.

Comedian prevented Conservative coup

My personal highlight from today’s news comes from Impressionist Rory Bremner who inadvertently thwarted a Tory revolt against former Prime Minister John Major. Sir John, who was PM from 1990 to 1997, was under pressure from Eurosceptic MPs in 1993 who planned a coup at the party conference that year. Bremner was trying out his impression of Sir John for his new show and rang some of the MPs who, believing they were talking to the PM, abandoned the revolt.