Wednesday morning news – December 2, 2020

Biden introduces economic team » President-elect Joe Biden introduced his top economic advisers on Tuesday, telling Americans “help is on the way.”

BIDEN: The team I’m announcing today will play a critical role in our plan for action starting on day one. 

Biden picked a team of liberal advisers that he said is “tested and experienced” to tackle the economic fallout from the pandemic. 

His pick for Treasury Secretary is former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. She said the Biden administration will build the economy back “better than before.” 

YELLEN: To rebuild our infrastructure and create better jobs, to invest in our workforce, to advance racial equity and make sure the economic recovery includes everyone.

Biden noted that many members of his newly formed economic team worked with him in the Obama administration. 

Among them, Wally Adeyemo. He would be the number two official in the Treasury Department. 

Biden also named Heather Boushey and Jared Bernstein to his Council of Economic Advisers. And he’s tapped Cecilia Rouse to chair the council. 

He picked Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Tanden is president of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

Most of Biden’s choices will require confirmation from the deeply divided Senate. Top Republicans are already pushing back against some of his picks.

Barr: No evidence of widespread voter fraud » One month after the general election, the Department of Justice has not found evidence of widespread voter fraud. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday the Justice Department has not found anything would change the outcome of the presidential election.

Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities. 

Barr said U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been following up on specific complaints, but they’ve uncovered nothing that suggests widespread voter fraud. 

His remarks contradict President Trump’s repeated claims that the election was stolen.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani quickly fired back. He said—quoting here—”with all due respect to the attorney general, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

CDC panel: healthcare workers, long term care residents should receive first vaccine doses » Healthcare workers and people living in long term care facilities should be first in line to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

That was the recommendation from a CDC advisory panel on Tuesday. The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices voted 13-1 to approve the plan to prioritize limited vaccine supplies. 

The CDC reports that long term care residents account for 40 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in the United States. 

But top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci explains that states don’t have to follow the panel’s recommendation. 

FAUCI: You can either do exactly as they say, tweak it a little, tweat it a lot, or say, you know, for our state it’s a bit different. We want to do it this way. The option is at the local, state level. 

The first vaccine shots will likely be available before Christmas. 

Over the next two weeks, the FDA will consider applications from drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna … for emergency use authorization of their vaccines. 

But vaccines may not be widely available to the public until the spring.

Iran’s parliament approves bill to stop nuclear inspections » Iran’s parliament on Tuesday approved a bill that would suspend UN nuclear inspections and speed up its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The lawmakers say if European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal don’t cave to Iran’s demands, the country should kick out UN inspectors and cast off all restraint. 

Many lawmakers in the 290-seat chamber chanted “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”

The bill says European powers must provide relief from oil and banking sanctions. And if they don’t, Iran should crank up its uranium enrichment.

The vote was a show of defiance after the killing of a top nuclear scientist.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has the final say on all nuclear policies.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

UN: Food has run out for refugees in Ethiopia » The United Nations says almost 100,000 weakened and emaciated refugees are in danger of starving to death in Ethiopia. 

The migrants from Eritrea are sheltering in camps in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. 

BALOCH: Our concerns are growing by the hour. 

UN spokesman Babar Baloch said the refugees have run out of food. And he said that’s not the only concern.

BALOCH: We are also alarmed at unconfirmed reports of attacks, abductions, and forced recruitment at the refugee camps. 

One month ago, fighting erupted in the Tigray region between government and regional forces. Each government now regards the other as illegitimate.

Communications and transport links to the Tigray region of 6 million people have been severed. And the UN and others are pleading for access to deliver badly needed food, medicines, and other supplies.

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) Oct. 15, 2020, file photo Attorney General William Barr.

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