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News Wrap: Pfizer doubles the number of COVID vaccine doses in the U.S.

In our news wrap Wednesday, Pfizer agrees to give the U.S. an additional 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, President-Elect Biden introduces Miguel Cardona as his nominee for Secretary of Education, the FBI says Iran was behind efforts to incite violence against director Christopher Wray and others, and more than 100 people in Ethiopia died in a new massacre over ethic tensions.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Pfizer agreed to give the U.S. an additional 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, doubling its current commitment. In return, the U.S. government promised to help the company get better access to manufacturing supplies.

    Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the U.S. has now vaccinated more than a million people since it first started 10 days ago.

    That news came as millions of Americans geared up for holiday travel and celebrations. State officials, like New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, advised caution.

  • Gov. Andre Cumo, N.Y.:

    Celebrate, but just be smart about the way you celebrate, right? Avoid the density. Open the windows. Take a walk outside. Just be smart about the way you celebrate. Celebrate smart, stop the shutdowns.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, said she will soon retire. This comes after backlash over her out-of-state travels during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But she promised to stay on long enough to help the incoming Biden administration.

    British cargo and travelers slowly made their way into France today, after a two-day blockade was lifted. It aimed to prevent the spread of a new, more contagious COVID-19 variant in the U.K. But a massive backlog of trucks remains near channel ports and highways in England. The gridlock is expected to take days to resolve.

    That comes as Britain's health secretary warned his country has detected yet another new COVID variant linked to South Africa.

  • Matt Hancock:

    This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible, and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the U.K.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will have more on COVID-19 in the U.K. and Brexit later in the show.

    President-elect Biden formally introduced Miguel Cardona as his nominee for secretary of education. That was today in Wilmington, Delaware. The Connecticut education commissioner is known as a strong advocate for public schools.

    If confirmed, Cardona said that one of his top priorities will be addressing inequities within the education system that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

  • Miguel Cardona:

    It's our responsibility, it's our privilege to take this moment and to do the most American thing imaginable, to forge opportunity out of crisis, to draw on our resolve, our ingenuity, and our tireless optimism as a people.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Cardona also supports reopening schools during the pandemic.

    Mr. Biden has pledged to reopen most of them by the end of his first 100 days in office.

    The FBI says that Iran was behind online efforts to incite violence against its director, Christopher Wray, and other top officials earlier this month. They targeted individuals who refuted President Trump's false claims of widespread election fraud. Ousted Homeland Security Department official Christopher Krebs was also among more than a dozen people threatened.

    Their home addresses and other personal information were posted on a Web site, with crosshairs over their photos.

    In Ethiopia, more than 100 people died in a new massacre over ethnic tensions today. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said the attack happened in the western part of the country, separate from the ongoing conflict in Tigray. It is not clear yet who the attackers were.

    A massive fire erupted today at a temporary migrant camp in Northwestern Bosnia. Thick black smoke billowed over tents, as residents jumped fences to escape the flames. Officials believe that some residents started the fire to protest the camp's planned closure for winter refurbishing. Bosnia has become a bottleneck for thousands of migrants hoping to reach the Europe.

    Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was granted bail today, after three weeks in custody. The prominent Beijing critic was charged under a national security law that punishes dissent in the semiautonomous Chinese territory. He walked out of court today after being placed under house arrest and barred from making public statements.

    Back in this country, consumer spending fell in November for the first time since April. The 0.4 percent drop came amid the normally bustling holiday shopping season.

    And stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 114 points to close at 30130. The Nasdaq fell 37 points, and the S&P 500 added three.

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