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Thursday evening UK news briefing: Todays top headlines from The Telegraph

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PM to get Oxford jab as regulators give their backing

Boris Johnson said “what is not safe is catching Covid” as he urged Britons to get their jabs and hailed the backing given to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by British and European regulators. At a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister said he will be getting the Oxford jab tomorrow and said Britain will still receive more vaccines in April than it did in February despite an expected slowdown in supply. Mr Johnson’s comments came as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency confirmed a British man has died and four others have suffered a dangerous blood clotting condition after being given the AstraZeneca vaccine – out of 11 million who had received a dose. The European Medicines Agency concluded the jab is “safe and effective”, after more than a dozen EU countries, including France and Germany, suspended its use. The World Health Organisation has warned more people are dying of Covid now in Europe than during March 2020.

The backdrop to all this is an impending squeeze on the supply of vaccines, with a delay in deliveries from India and the need to retest a batch of 1.7 million doses behind an expected shortfall in April, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Emmanuel Macron called on Britain to send UK-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines to the EU and said he backed Ursula von der Leyen’s threat to impose an export ban on jabs to the UK. Yet Ambrose Evans-Pritchard warns the bloc’s antics could accelerate the eye-wateringly large flow of capital out of the eurozone. Europe Editor James Crisp analyses the risk of a vaccine trade war.

Depp libel appeal accuses Heard of ‘calculated lie’

Amber Heard has donated just $550,000 of her $7 million divorce settlement to charity, a court has heard. Johnny Depp, Ms Heard’s ex-husband, has launched his appeal against last year’s High Court judgment that he assaulted his ex-wife and that a 2018 article in The Sun calling Mr Depp a “wife beater” was “substantially true”. The Hollywood star is seeking a retrial of his libel claim against the newspaper and disputed Ms Heard’s claim that she had split her seven-figure settlement between the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union after the couple’s 2016 divorce. Read on for details.

Best cash-out ever? Punter earns £250k off £5 bet

It is a decision any person would agonise over. To cash out or not to cash out a betting slip that is one win away from half a million pounds. Horse racing fan Paul Dean had seen four out of five of his selections win their races, meaning he was one win away from a £511,225 payout from Betfair off a £5 accumulator. What is more, he needed only Envoi Allen, the 4/9 favourite, to be successful in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham today. Many betting fans accused him of bottling it when he revealed that after a night of thought, he was cashing out, guaranteeing himself £250,000. Yet as events played out, it turned out to be a masterstroke. Read on for more results from the Cheltenham Festival today.

At a glance: Coronavirus evening briefing

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Drayton Manor | A theme park’s operators have been fined £1 million after safety failings which led to the death of an 11-year-old girl on its water rapids ride. Evha Jannath was “propelled” from a vessel on the Splash Canyon ride at Drayton Manor in Staffordshire during an end-of-year school trip on May 9, 2017. Read on for details of the prosecution.

Around the world: The ultimate political survivor

The results of a Dutch general election were not a surprise to anyone: current caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte has won the most seats, according to the latest projections. His People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) looks to have increased its vote share. “Unbelievable: fourth time in a row!” he told reporters after seeing the exit polls. For outsiders, it could well be seen as unbelievable but Senay Boztas examines how Mr Rutte clung to power for a fourth term.

Thursday interview

‘I was heading for retirement until Miami move came out of the blue’

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