Friday evening news briefing: Victory in Joe Biden’s grasp in US election

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House -  Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House – Evan Vucci/AP

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Joe Biden ahead in Pennsylvania and Georgia counts

A declaration seems to be imminent. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has taken the lead in both Pennsylvania and Georgia, two key states vital in the final push to win the US presidential election. Winning Pennsylvania would push Mr Biden beyond the 270 electoral votes needed in the race for the White House. But, the race is by no means over: votes still need to be counted in both states, and the advantages in Pennsylvania and Georgia are both razor thin. Yet Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, felt emboldened enough by the latest news from the vote counts to describe Mr Biden as the “president elect”. Our liveblog will have the latest throughout the night. Click here for a roundup of what is happening with lawsuits, postal votes and recounts.

It comes after several major US TV networks chose to cut away from a live speech made by President Donald Trump from the White House, as he claimed yet again – without evidence – that the election was being stolen from him. Watch as news anchors intervened to correct the President’s false statements. Patrick O’Flynn says Mr Trump’s tragic final act plays into the hands of his loathing liberal critics. With Arizona set to turn from Republican to Democrat, Laurence Dodds in Phoenix identifies the chilling effect that gave the red state a dose of the blues.

Coronavirus second peak has passed, says King’s study

The peak of the second wave is likely to have passed already, scientists have declared, further undermining the decision to enter a national lockdown. The most up-to-date infection survey estimates that the number of new symptomatic cases was decreasing last week. Read on for details of the King’s College London symptom study. This is supported by new data from the Office for National Statistics, which suggests the rate of coronavirus infections across England and Wales appears to be slowing down. Meanwhile, Downing Street has acknowledged it made “a mistake” in official forecasts predicting the second wave would be more deadly than the first, following The Telegraph’s exclusive story this morning. Read on for the potential exit strategies from Covid lockdown.

As Time Goes By star Geoffrey Palmer dies, aged 93

Geoffrey Palmer, the actor best know for his roles in As Time Goes By and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, has died aged 93. He died peacefully at home on Thursday, his agent said. Palmer’s acting credits include the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, Doctor Who and the sitcom Butterflies. He frequently acted alongside Dame Judi Dench, notably in the 1997 costume drama Mrs Brown. Read his Telegraph obituary.

At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Manchester bombing | The parents of suicide bomber Salman Abedi are among six people detectives want to question over the Manchester Arena bombing, a legal ruling has revealed. Abedi’s father is wanted for questioning after his fingerprints were found inside a Nissan Micra car which the brothers used to store explosives. Read on for details.

Around the world: Saudi Arabia vows labour reform

Saudi Arabia has announced it will allow foreign workers to leave the country and change jobs without their employer’s permission as part of significant reforms to its controversial “kafala” labour system. The oil-rich Kingdom, and other Gulf states, rely on the so-called kafala system to support the construction and hospitality industries, but have faced repeated accusations of mistreating workers. Read on for details.

Friday interview

Nigel Pearson’s year of hell: From sacking to contracting Covid

Nigel Pearson - Charlie Forgham-Bailey
Nigel Pearson – Charlie Forgham-Bailey

Having suffered a bout of coronavirus while at Watford, Nigel Pearson then had extreme secondary symptoms that meant he struggled to even move. He talks to John Percy

Read the full interview

Comment and analysis

You Are Not Alone: Getting you through lockdown

  1. ‘Everybody said I’d be fine’ | ‘I was 39 when I caught corona but now I have Long Covid’

  2. Professor Green | Rapper on class and the mental health time bomb of Covid

  3. The Midults | ‘I love the countryside, my husband prefers the city. Where do we live?’

Business and money briefing

Markets surge | London’s blue-chip index, the FTSE 100, is on track for its best weekly performance since June as Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election looks all but assured. Read on for details.

Sport briefing

Jason Ryles interview | Having worked under Craig Bellamy at NRL champions Melbourne Storm, Jason Ryles is prepared for the exacting standards Eddie Jones expects of his assistants. Read why the hottest property in rugby league coaching swapped codes to join England. 

Tonight’s TV  

Royal History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley, BBC Two, 9pm | The historian raids the dressing-up box for three more episodes of her documentary series sniffing out untruths and half-truths. Read on for more TV listings.

And finally… for this evening’s downtime

Farewell Shirley Bassey | As the Welsh singer releases her final album today, James Hall reflects on the triumphs and tragedies of Shirley Bassey’s extraordinary life, going from grit to glamour.