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December 18, 2020  (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:



For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


All 538 electors have voted, formalizing Biden's 306-232 win. Here's how the Electoral College works. (CBS)

All 538 electors voted Monday in the Electoral College, formalizing President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election. Their votes will next be sent to Washington to be counted by Congress on January 6.

FDA authorizes first coronavirus vaccine in U.S., a rare moment of hope in pandemic  (Washington Post)

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to be prepared to submit his resignation if the agency did not clear the vaccine by day’s end Friday.

We want them infected’: Trump appointee demanded ‘herd immunity’ strategy, emails reveal (Politico)

Then-HHS science adviser Paul Alexander called for millions of Americans to be infected as means of fighting Covid-19… according to internal emails obtained by a House watchdog and shared with POLITICO…. Public health experts have decried calls to deliberately infect younger, healthier Americans with Covid-19, saying that it would unnecessarily put millions of people at risk of long-term complications and even death.

With 300,000 COVID-19 Deaths And Counting, The U.S. Faces Unfathomable Loss (NPR) 

"There is no analogue in recent U.S history to the scale of death brought on by the coronavirus....It's equivalent to Sept. 11 happening nearly 100 times. One person now dies every 36 seconds from COVID-19."

Santa takes a back seat to COVID vaccine, UPS, FedEx officials say (Reuters)

United Parcel Service and FedEx Corp plan to deliver millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines before holiday gifts - giving them VIP handling that includes GPS tracking, special labels and first-loaded status on planes and trucks.

Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic (Washington Post)

Retailers, police departments and loss prevention researchers are reporting an uptick in theft of necessities like food and hygiene products

Trump administration officials passed when Pfizer offered in late summer to sell the U.S. more vaccine doses. (New York Times)

Trump administration officials passed when Pfizer offered in late summer to sell the U.S. government additional doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, according to people familiar with the matter. Now Pfizer may not be able provide more of its vaccine to the United States until next June because of its commitments to other countries, they said.

Report: White House security chief has leg amputated due to COVID (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

The director of White House security who has been hospitalized since September with COVID-19 needed his lower right leg amputated along with his left big toe due to complications from the virus, according to a report by Bloomberg News, citing confirmation by family friends. Crede Bailey, who tested positive prior to Sept. 26, remains in a rehabilitation center and will be fitted with a prosthetic leg in the coming months, the report said.

Court Rejects Trump's Arctic Drilling Proposal in 'Huge Victory for Polar Bears and Our Climate' (EcoWatch)

Climate action advocates and wildlife defenders celebrated Monday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the Trump administration's approval of Liberty, a proposed offshore oil-drilling project in federal Arctic waters that opponents warned would endanger local communities, animals, and the environment.

Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results (Washington Post)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a last-minute attempt by President Trump’s allies to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania..The court’s brief order denying a requested injunction provided no reasoning, nor did it note any dissenting votes. It was the first request to delay or overturn the results of last month’s presidential election to reach the court, and it appears that Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s latest nominee, took part in the case.


Coronavirus: China to vaccinate 50 million people for Lunar New Year (China Morning Post)

China is ramping up to vaccinate 50 million people against the coronavirus before the start of the peak Lunar New Year travel season early next year. Officials from centres of disease control and prevention across the country were summoned for a televised training meeting on Wednesday to prepare for mass inoculations of high-priority groups. Beijing is planning to distribute 100 million doses of the two-dose inactivated vaccines made by Chinese firms Sinopharm and Sinovac…

Morocco joins other Arab nations agreeing to normalize Israel ties (Reuters)

Israel and Morocco agreed on Thursday to normalize relations in a deal brokered with U.S. help, making Morocco the fourth Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past four months.

UK's Johnson says 'strong possibility' of no-deal split in EU trading ties  (Reuters)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday there was "a strong possibility" Britain and the EU would fail to strike a new trade deal, but vowed to do whatever he could to avoid a tumultuous split in three weeks.

Iran executes dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam - Nour news (Reuters)

Iranian dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam, who was convicted of fomenting violence during the 2017 anti-government protests, was executed on Saturday, Iran's semi-official Nour news agency reported.

Germany to enter hard lockdown as infections swell (Bloomberg)

Germany will enter a hard lockdown from Wednesday, with non-essential stores shuttered, employers urged to close workplaces and school children encouraged to remain at home.  The tighter restrictions -- including a ban on gatherings over the New Year -- will last until at least Jan. 10 after a looser shutdown failed to halt a surge in daily coronavirus infections and deaths. 



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