Tuesday morning news – December 8, 2020

Thousands of Britons receive vaccine on “V-Day” » Today is “V-Day” in the U.K. That’s what British officials are calling the first day of its vaccination program. And it marks the start of what will soon be a massive global effort to immunize most of the world’s population against the coronavirus. 

Thousands of at-risk U.K. residents and healthcare workers today will receive the first doses of the vaccine. 

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon…

STURGEON: It really is one of these moments where for the first time in a long time we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a massive logistical exercise, lots of people working really hard, but a moment to be optimistic. 

American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech jointly developed the vaccine. It could be available for emergency use in the United States within a week. 

And Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he expects his country to get up to roughly 250,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of this month. Canadian regulators could approve it for use as soon as Thursday. 

Giuliani hospitalized after COVID-19 diagnosis » President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has been hospitalized since Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19. 

The president told reporters…

TRUMP: Rudy’s doing well. I just spoke to him. He’s doing well. No temperature and he actually called me early this morning. He was the first call I got. He’s doing very well. 

The former New York City mayor was reportedly showing unspecified symptoms when he checked into Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington.

Giuliani has traveled extensively on behalf of the Trump campaign’s legal challenge to the November election results. He has often attended hearings without a mask where some other lawyers and lawmakers have also gone without a mask.

The Trump campaign said Giuliani twice tested negative before recent visits to Arizona, Michigan, and Georgia.

Biden taps hardline pro-abortion official for HHS secretary » President-elect Joe Biden has tapped an aggressively pro-abortion California official to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Biden has tapped California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for HHS secretary. 

In 2017, the Democrat worked to put pro-life activists behind bars. He filed 15 felony charges against two people for their undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood. 

He, along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, spearheaded the prosecution of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. They alleged the activists illegally recorded conversations about the sale of body parts from aborted babies. 

But Becerra chose not to investigate Planned Parenthood over the sales. 

The long-running court case against the pair of activists included raids on Daleiden’s home, possible jail time, and thousands of dollars in fines. 

Under Becerra, HHS could work to undo pro-life regulations the Trump administration instituted such as cutting off Title X family planning funding to facilities that provide or refer for abortion.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Lawmakers inch closer to coronavirus relief bill » Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill say they’re moving closer to a compromise on a new coronavirus relief bill. 

Republicans and Democrats remained deadlocked for months. But last week, Democrats agreed to negotiate a relief bill with a price tag of just under a trillion dollars. That more than six months after House Democrats passed a $3 trillion bill.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said Monday that a bipartisan group is working hard to find a compromise.

DURBIN: There are five Republican senators who have been working night and day. Five Democratic senators as well. And it really is a superhuman effort on our part to get this together in time to help the American people as quickly as possible. 

Senate Republicans recently proposed a highly targeted $500 million relief bill. Many GOP lawmakers say they’re willing to compromise on a $900 million bill. 

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not said whether he would back a bill in that price range. If the two sides can come together, President Trump has said he will sign it into law. 

Report finds microwave energy likely made US diplomats ill » Scientists may finally have an answer about what caused U.S. diplomats to mysteriously fall ill while in Cuba. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has that story. 

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: In 2016, U.S. diplomats stationed in Havana began reporting strange symptoms—including dizziness, headaches, and cognitive problems. 

U.S. officials initially believed that unknown attackers may have used some kind of sonic weapon against the diplomats. 

But a new report by a National Academy of Sciences committee has found that “directed” microwave radiation likely caused the illnesses. 

The study did not name a source for the energy and did not say it came as the result of an attack. But it did note that the former Soviet Union previously researched these types of injuries. 

About two dozen Americans affiliated with the U.S. Embassy in Cuba experienced symptoms. U.S. and Canadian personnel also developed symptoms while in Guanghzhou, China, in 2017 and 2018. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) In this Dec. 4, 2019, file photo, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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