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US government ascertains Biden victory; IATA announces 'digital passport' app; Tensions rise in Syria's Daraa

The General Services Administration has formally alerted the winner of the Nov. 3 election that outgoing President Donald Trump is handing over the reins. The International Air Transport Association is developing a mobile app containing a “digital passport” to show vaccination certificates and COVID-19 test results. And, the southwestern Syrian city of Daraa faces increased clashes.

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Biden picks top diplomatic advisers; AstraZeneca vaccine is 90% effective; Saudi and Israeli leaders meet in Neom

US President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate a slate of career diplomats and foreign policy experts to key posts in his administration. British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has said its vaccine, developed with Oxford University, is up to 90% effective. And, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew Sunday to the Red Sea future city of Neom for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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Dozens killed in Uganda political violence; WHO chief accused of supporting Tigray rebels; Mexico passes 100,000 COVID-19 deaths

At least 37 people have been killed in Uganda’s worst election-related violence in decades. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus denied accusations made by his own Ethiopian government that he is working with neighboring countries to provide weapons and other assistance for Tigray rebels. And, Mexico has surpassed 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, the fourth nation to do so after the US, Brazil and India.

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Coronavirus pandemic worsens with onset of cold weather; Report suggests unlawful killings of Afghans by Australian troops; Activists stage mock COP26 after coronavirus postponement

The United States has surpassed 250,000 deaths from the coronavirus — the highest death toll by far in the world — and is turning the corner into what public health experts say will be the worst phase yet of the pandemic. And, a new report shows that elite Australian soldiers unlawfully killed 39 people during the war in Afghanistan. Also, young climate activists around the world have staged a mock COP26 virtual gathering in place of the actual UN conference that was delayed from this month until November 2021 because of the coronavirus.

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Pfizer vaccine trial shows 95% success rate; US to cut troop levels in Afghanistan, Iraq; FAA clears 737 Max to fly

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has ended its COVID-19 vaccine trial with a 95% success rate. Acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced that President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to reduce the troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq by Jan. 15. And, the Federal Aviation Administration cleared Boeing’s 737 Max jet to fly again.

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