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In our news wrap Tuesday, at least 60 people were killed and dozens injured in Haiti late Monday after a fuel truck overturned and exploded. The United States Congress is on the verge of raising the national debt limit by $2.5 trillion. New data suggests Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is 70 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations from the omicron variant.
In the day's other news: A new disaster has struck Haiti. At least 60 people were killed and dozens injured late Monday when a fuel truck overturned and exploded. It happened in the northern city of Cap-Haitien, burning cars and scorching buildings.
The mayor toured the scene as daylight showed the extent of the destruction.
Yvrose Pierre, Mayor of Cap-Haitien, Haiti (through translator): I'm here to see the aftermath of last night's unfortunate event. I received many calls, and sent the firefighters and police an alert, so they could intervene. Unfortunately, many people died. We couldn't save them.
Haiti has already seen its president assassinated this year and an earthquake that killed more than 2, 200 people and destroyed thousands of homes.
Back in this country, the U.S. House of Representatives moved to advance criminal contempt charges against former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. He has refused to testifying about the assault on the U.S. Capitol last January. The U.S. Justice Department will decide whether to prosecute Meadows.
We will return to this after the news summary.
Congress is also on the verge of raising the national debt limit by $2.5 trillion. It passed the Senate this afternoon 50-49, with no Republican support, and it went on to the House of Representatives. The U.S. Treasury had set tomorrow as the deadline for action.
As of tonight, the COVID pandemic has left 800,000 nearly dead across the United States. That's out of just over five million worldwide. The milestone came one year since vaccinations began.
New data today suggests Pfizer's COVID vaccine is 70 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations from the Omicron variant. Findings from South Africa also indicate that the two-dose vaccine is less effective at preventing Omicron infections. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization warned today that Omicron is spreading faster than previous variants.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General:
Surely, we have learned by now that we underestimate this virus at our peril. Even if Omicron does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems.
Also today, Pfizer reported that its experimental COVID treatment pill works against Omicron, reducing severe symptoms in high-risk adults become infected by nearly 90 percent.
A federal appeals court has rejected President Biden's attempts to end a policy keeping asylum seekers in Mexico. The latest ruling came Monday night. A Trump era policy has required thousands of migrants to remain in Mexico until their U.S. asylum cases are resolved.
There is new evidence that the Arctic is still getting hotter. The U.N. weather agency certified today that temperatures reached 100.4 degrees in Siberia last year, the highest ever recorded in the Arctic. And the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that growing ice melts are altering ecosystems.
On Wall Street, stocks fell again, on news that wholesale prices jumped nearly 10 percent in November from a year ago. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 106 points to close at 35544. The Nasdaq fell 175 points. That's 1 percent. The S&P 500 slipped nearly 35.
And the year's inductees into the National Film Registry are out, and they range from the "Star Wars" film "Return of the Jedi" to "A Nightmare on Elm Street." The Library of Congress announced 25 honorees today. Others include "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," Cicely Tyson's "Sounder," and Pixar's "WALL-E."
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