welcome to bbc news, i'm james reynolds. our top stories: the us regulator authorises the pfizer biontech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. donald trump says the first person will be vaccinated in the next 2a hours. president trump's attempts to overturn the election result have potentially been dealt a final legal blow — the us supreme court rejects a lawsuit aimed at throwing out the votes in 4 states. borisjohnson and the eu say they're unlikely to strike a post—brexit trade deal by sunday — with differences over how a new relationship might look. plus: # all i want for christmas is you... a song released 26 years ago — and a christmas favourite — finally tops the charts
here in the uk. the us food and drug administration has authorised the pfizer—biontech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. the agency had come under intense pressure from the trump administration to approve the vaccine‘s use. president trump has released a video on twitter to explain what happens next. through operation warp speed my administration provided a total of $14 billion to accelerate vaccine development and to manufacture all of the top candidates in advance. this included a nearly $2 billion investment in pfizer to produce 100 million doses of their vaccine, with an option to
produce 500 million additional doses. and i am proud to say that we have made sure that this vaccine will be free for all americans. through our partnership with fedex and ups we have already begun shipping the vaccine to every state and zip code in the country. the first vaccine will be administered in less than 24 hours, the governors decide whether vaccines will go in their state, and will get them first. we can now speak to dr leo nissola, who's an immunologist and head of the covid act now project. hejoins us from san francisco. you heard that clear clinical pressure there, how can we be sure the fda took its decision for the right reasons? thank you for having me. i have looked at the published data for the pfizer vaccine trial, i am comfortable with it. the findings that i saw, the vaccine appears to be safe and affect live and i think regardless of politics, this is a special day —— effective. we
we re a special day —— effective. we were all anxiously waiting for this day to come. i have studied that while data from the vaccine trial from pfizer biontech, and i am comfortable with the outcomes. we were expecting already the meeting yesterday to go well and did have a positive outcome. fda has been under tremendous pressure and they have held their part on making sure that there is data transparency. scientists, doctors, researchers, we have been claiming the data transparency and yesterday, stephen hahn held a meeting with the stakeholders and we were able to come everyone in the us was able to see it, and to be part of that conversation. so when we saw this week a 90—year—old woman in the uk receiving the first dose of this vaccine outside of a clinical trial, it was a huge progress, you know. the uk has a tremendous mass vaccination programme and i think the united states deserves it as well. talking
about mass vaccination programmes, this vaccine needs refrigeration. how will that complicate efforts to distribute it? i have heard a lot of conversations about the logistical problems with delivering vaccines that require special conditions, but iam more require special conditions, but i am more worried about who is going to get this vaccine first. you seek, covid has hit ha rd est first. you seek, covid has hit hardest in the united states in communities of colour, in black, african and latinos, in underserved communities. —— african—americans. i am underserved communities. —— african—americans. iam now going —— afraid that they are going —— afraid that they are going to be prioritising this first batch and i would hope that legislators make sure essential workers and folks that have been hit hardest will get the vaccine first. 2.9 million doses go out next week, thatis million doses go out next week, that is a start and a very exciting start i would imagine for a lot of people, but how many months will it take to get eve ryo ne many months will it take to get everyone vaccinated, if not with this vaccine and other vaccines? we have yet to see a
solid vaccination planet a level. we lack a robust vaccination campaign. and i am worried that until a large number of the population gets vaccinated against covid, and we will be worried about avoiding indoors and wearing masks and social distancing. i think this will speed up the process but distribution poses a challenge and until we have a robust vaccination plan that is publicly available, that the scientific community can react to and the population can see and understand, things are going to look murky. thank you so going to look murky. thank you so much forjoining us. thank you for having me. the us supreme court has rejected a legal application by the state of texas seeking to invalidate voting results in georgia, michigan, pennsylvania and wisconsin. the ruling is yet another blow to republicans supporting donald trump's attempts to overturn election results in key states, which were won by the democratic candidate, the president—elect
joe biden. the bbc‘s nomia iqbal is in washington with more details. yes, it was a very brief, unsigned one—sentence order, basically saying no to donald trump, and it was quite an audacious lawsuit, challenging those four key battleground states, as you mentioned there, and the trump team had argued that because those states had expanded mail—in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that was unlawful somehow, and it was backed by more than 100 republicans in congress, many state attorney—generals, but tonight the supreme court looked at this and said no, they don't believe that texas has the legal standing to make this case. it is interesting, james, because although it was a 7—2 ruling with thomas and alito dissenting, it was really 9—0, because alito and thomas have this sort of quirky procedural
view where they say they should wait until the next step, that then they would throw it out, but basically this is a blow for donald trump because he had been hoping for the supreme court to back him. is that it then for the president's legal challenges? politically is not the end of it but legally very much so, because the supreme court was the big one. at a party at the white house on hanukkah he said that he hoped that the supreme court would back him, tonight it is a christmas party in the white house, so it would be a different atmosphere. i am sure he will continue to dispute the election result but it's very hard to see where he goes from here. the courts don't want to be drawn into this battle. he seemingly cannot win in the courts what he lost at the polls. nomia iqbal in washington. both boris johnson and the president of the european commission have spoken in gloomy terms about the likelihood of a post—brexit trade deal. the two leaders have agreed to make a decision on the future of the negotiations by the end
of the weekend. on friday evening the british prime minister chaired a meeting with ministers to revisit contigency plans for how to manage no—deal. alex forsyth reports. it was a covid welcome for the prime minister today at a firm providing energy for the future. more immediate trade talks, though, must be on his mind. negotiators are still working out which way they'll go as borisjohnson warned again reaching agreement with the eu looks doubtful. it's looking, you know, very, very likely that we'll have to go for a solution that i think would be, you know, wonderfulfor the uk. we'd be able to do exactly what we want from 1january — though obviously, it would be different from what we'd set out to achieve. but i have no doubt that this country can get ready and, as i say, come out on world trade terms. so, for those affected, what does that mean? this farm exports barley to the eu. if there's no deal come january, world trade rules kick in, meaning tariffs or taxes on goods moving between here
and the continent, which could push costs up. i think for the industry as a whole, it'll be disastrous. we've got a perfect storm approaching of these support payments being taken away, brexit, possibly no deal, and covid—19. all these things have come all at once, and that is a massive problem. these were the queues in kent this week. there's already congestion at ports as global supply chains struggle with demand and covid restrictions. brexit will mean more change for business, whatever the outcome of trade talks. the government says it is prepared, testing plans for traffic build—up this weekend. but no deal would mean more disruption. both sides say they want an agreement, but that may well not happen because the same sticking points remain — access to fishing waters and shared regulations and standards. and on that, number 10 says the uk has to be able
to make its own decisions and not be tied to eu rules in future. from brussels today, the message was that's perfectly possible, but there'd be a price. they would remain free — sovereign, if you wish — to decide what they want to do. we would simply adapt the conditions for access to our market accordingly the decision of the united kingdom, and this would apply vice—versa. so neither side shifting yet, but the door isn't entirely closed. translation: we believe finding a solution in the talks is difficult, but possible. that's why we as the eu will continue negotiations as long as the window is open, even if it's only a crack. the negotiations are still ongoing and i think the implications are very serious for all concerned in the event of a no deal, and i think all politicians in the united kingdom and across europe need to reflect on that. so in brussels, the mood may be gloomy, but until sunday, which is decision day, they are still talking.
new york police say several people attending a demonstration on the streets of new york city have been injured after a vehicle ploughed into the crowd. it's believed the car hit a group of protesters in the murray hill neighbourhood adjacent to midtown manhattan around 4pm. the motorist remained at the scene and was detained for questioning, while police said none of the injuries appeared to be life—threatening. to ethiopia's northern tigray conflict now, where the un refugee agency says it's had reports that many eritreans have been killed, abducted or forcibly returned home. the us state department has cited "credible" reports of the involvement of eritrean troops in the fighting. all of these claims are unverified due to the lack of communications and access to the area. with me is our news reporter, mark lobel. mark, fighting has lasted over a month so far, but there are some new claims — what are they? these centre on the welfare of
eritrean refugees in northern ethiopian. there are four refugee camps their housing around 100,000 refugees that have fled eritrea from physical persecution back home. —— political. and the ethiopian government has said it is now returning refugees who have spread around the country because of the fighting presumably back to these camps, and they say it is safe to do so and they say it is safe to do so now, that eritreans can go back to this camp and they will be providing food as well. the un that normally monitors these camps and is in and out all the time hasn't been able to access them at all for over a month and cannot vouch for food or security of these camps, and in fa ct security of these camps, and in fact one of these refugees who was returning from the capital, addis ababa, spoke to reuters and said she was afraid she would not be sent back to the camp but back to eritrea. what is going on there, we don't know, this information is all unverified, we cannot get access to the camps either, but this alarming warning from the un's high commissioner for refugees, filippo grandi, he
says he is "deeply alarmed having received an overwhelming number of ports of eritrean refugees into great being killed, abducted or forcibly returned to eritrea over the last month". but if —— if that is true that is a major violation of international law. the ethiopian government has a lwa ys the ethiopian government has always said it is just an all —— law and water operation they are carrying out here but if you think about the plight of these refugees, there is a lot of concern and here is the view of concern and here is the view of cameron hudson, a former us state department official, and the africa advisor of the national security council. these are eritrean refugees who have been cut off from humanitarian assistance, they were surviving on international assistance up to this point, and they have been without international assistance for last month. not only are they being potentially traumatised by an invading army, but they are also having to grapple with an acute humanitarian situation, that they just really don't have the resilience to withstand right now. if these claims are true, there may be questions
to answer for a nobel peace prize—winning president? that's right, abiy ahmed won the nobel peace prize in 2019 for resolving this border dispute between ethiopia and eritrea, now you have the us state department saying there are credible reports that eritrean soldiers are on the ground in ethiopian, and the un backing that up with some sightings that they have sighted. the ethiopian government deny this, that eritrean government denied this, the ethiopian is going as far as saying that some of the opposition that they are fighting in the north have been creating these uniforms to look like eritrean soldiers. but this is, if true, very serious and hear other thoughts cameron hudson again. do we have a smoking gun, do we have intelligence photographs released ? no. do we have european and other diplomats telling us of internal intelligence reports between ethiopian and eritrean military officers,
discussing, co—ordinating assaults and counter results? yes we do. ——counter assaults. those have not been released officially yet, and i think when those do become released, we will have obviously the kind of clarity that we need, obviously though, i think the us and european allies are trying to seek a diplomatic solution, bring partners to the table. we haven't seen those internal intelligence reports so we cannot verify them. if true is very significant. and there are reports that aid workers have been killed? three security guards from the danish refugee council and also the international rescue committee has lost a staff worker as well. there has been over a month of fighting, there are claims on the other side as well, the tigrayan people's liberation front have been accused by amnesty of killing hundreds of people on the night of november night, when the town they were holding was taken the next day by the ethiopian national defence force. another claim from cameron hudson that this lack
out of communications, this lack of access to get into the area is part of the tactics used by the ethiopian army, so there is a lot of questions as we are discussing, we have very few a nswers, we are discussing, we have very few answers, as it is so unverified what is going on, but very concerning claims coming out of the northern part of ethiopian. this is bbc news, the latest headlines: the us regulator authorises the pfizer biontech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use — president trump says the first us vaccine will be administered "in less than 24 hours" the us regulator authorises the pfizer biontech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use — hours after receiving a threat from the white house if it failed to do so. now, could combining different coronavirus vaccines provide people with more protection from the virus? well british and russian scientists are teaming up to find out. they're planning to trial a combination of the oxford—astrazeneca
and sputnik v vaccines. the trials, to be held in russia will involve over—18s although it's not clear how many people will be involved. earlier i spoke to vaccinologist dr peter hotez from the baylor college of medicine in houston, texas, i asked him whether it was worth attempting combining both vaccines. i think it is, and makes sense, both on scientific grounds and also quality grounds. let me explain that. so on scientific grounds, you know, there are two components to the russian vaccine, two different adenoviruses — ad5 and ad26 — and the reason that is significant is ad5 immune responses have been shown by some studies first done by silvia ratto—kim a few years ago that that could actually promote susceptibility to hiv/aids or exacerbate hiv/aids so people have become somewhat skittish about using ads in their vaccines. so by swapping out the ad5 for the astrazeneca adenovirus vaccine, the astrazeneca—oxford vaccine, that would actually
make a lot of sense in terms of producing a safer and possibly more what we call immunogenic vaccine — that's point one. and from a regulatory point of view, the russians have had a number of issues in terms of quality and quality assurance and meeting standards that one would ordinarily expect for the uk and the us, and so by partnering now with astrazeneca—oxford, i think it will lift — lift their boat a lot and make a better vaccine for not only for russia, but they're aggressively trying to export it and make a better vaccine for the world. you talk about lifting the boat for them but of course, the oxford—astrazenica vaccine has, in the us, has come in for criticism about the way it is communicated, about some of the way the data of its trials have been released. do you share any of those concerns? you know, ultimately, i think, it's — well, first of all, we need this vaccine to work and the us cannot vaccinate our population just with the two mrna vaccines — the moderna and the pfizer
vaccines — so we absolutely need that astrazeneca—oxford vaccine to vaccinate the us population. yes, it will work. i — you know, i know that astrazeneca—oxford has been in discussions with the fda, working with it. there's some new approaches to the analysis, maybe collecting some additional clinical data, so i feel pretty confident that over the next couple of months, we will have that vaccine in the us as well. and you mentioned the other vaccines, including pfizer—biontech — the fda panel has decided to recommend it forfull approval. did the panel get it right? i think they did. you know, this is tough and i'm sure you are facing the same situation in the united kingdom. we were trying to balance the fact that we want to produce a vaccine that we know is safe and effective and ideally go through the full regulatory process and full licensure but the problem in the us —
that means collecting a full year of safety data and when we're losing 3000 american lives a day, you do the math, and that is just a staggering death toll. so the idea behind the emergency use authorisation — we've never done this for a major vaccine for the us public — is to shorten that time frame and release it under close monitoring. so we absolutely have to have that done and i'm hoping that the first vaccines will be released in the early part of next week, and so that is quite exciting for us. dr peter hotez, thank you so much, as always. austria's constitutional court is struck down a law banning the headscarf in schools. it was deemed unconstitutional and discriminatory. the court said the law, introduced last year, contravene the principle of equality in relation to freedom of religion and conscience. meanwhile, the constitutional court also ruled to allow assisted suicide, annulling the provision which made it a punishable offence. bolivia's civil registry has for the first time authorised a same—sex civil union following a2—
same—sex civil union following a 2— year legal battle. the couple, together for more than a decade, was originally denied the right to register their union. activists hope it paves the way forward for a transformation of the country's marriage laws. since the coronavirus pandemic began — millions of people have been forced to live alone. separated from friends and family in an attempt to stop the spread of covid—19. now a french artist has gone to unusual lengths to highlight the dangers of a solitary life as tim allman explains. don't talk to gaetan marron about social distancing. he knows all about it, living in a plastic box in the middle of a shopping centre in marseille. for ten days he plans to be on display — 24 hours a day aside from the occasional trip to the bathroom. he will enjoy some comforts, but not the most important comfort of them all. translation: i have the feeling that we miss real human contact and i think it's not
insignificant a lot of people don't feel really well or depressed at the moment. it's because we've really lost something. gaetan is not the first person to confine herself like this. the actor tilda swinton spent more than a week similarly enclosed as part of an art display in the mid—1990s and the american illusionist david blaine was famously suspended in a box in mid—air for more than a month — for some reason. but those events didn't take place in the middle of a global pandemic. translation: i think that culture has clearly saved us during this confinement. i think that without it it would have been much more complicated. local shops and restaurants are helping him out, providing him with food,
but gaetan knows what he misses the most. tim allman, bbc news. a song released 26 years ago — a beloved christmas favourite — has finally reached number one in the charts here in the uk(upsot six seconds "xmas is you")mariah carey's "all i want for christmas" was kept off the top spot by east 17's stay another day, back in 1994. but now it's knocked ariana grande off the top spot. she had —— in the uk. mariah carey's "all i want for christmas" was kept off the top spot by east 17's stay another day, back in 1994. but now it's knocked ariana grande off the top spot. mariah carey's fans have had a crucial role in this success. earlier i spoke to one of them, jeff ingold, who's been campaigning to get the song to number one in the uk. he told me how he's done it. lots of tweets, lots of instagram stories, lots of telling all my friends. it was a lot of work but very worth it because it happened — earlier than i thought it would. and she's been retweeting you. she did, yeah. she tweeted me on sunday,
you know, showing her support. it was amazing. my heart stopped when it happened. i couldn't believe it. right, let's get down to it. what is it about this song which you like so much? i think it is, when you hear it, and you hear those first notes you know it's christmas and i think there are songs, there is no other song that most people, when they hear it they are like, yeah, this is the moment. like december belongs to mariah carey and that is what makes the song so iconic and i think people relate to it and they respond to it, because i think it's also so fantastical and happy and it just presents this level ofjoy that people want to experience in december. i can you remember the first time you heard? no, because they have listened to it so many times! i heard it when i was four years old, i heard it now, i'm 29. i've heard it every year, every single time is different and it's so special. is there a certain day in the year and you think it is acceptable to start listening to it? let's say you get to the middle of summer, july, just going through bad day and you think, "you know
what, i'll just listen to the christmas song"? i'll be honest with you, james, this year, i think like april, like 13th, i thought a need to hear all i want for christmas is you. there is just a joy. the song brings a joy in people. i usually say1 november you can start to listen to it. mariah's slightly different she likes after us thanksgiving. but i'm canadian, our thanksgiving is earlier in the year so i vary from her. but i think whenever you need it it's there for you and you should listen to it. i would also say it's probably easier for someone like me and i right in saying she wrote it in less than an hour. yes, so she wrote it in 15 minutes. in15 minutes?! it took longer to add the instrumental, et cetera, but she did the entire lyrical moment was done in 15 minutes which is, like, genius, absolute genius and it has stayed with us for 26 years. jeff, mariah carey superfan, the man who helped herfinally get to number one. he enjoys it from april, and some of us
dread hearing christmas songs from september. let you know what you think. you can reach me on twitter — i'm @jamesbbcnews. hello there. friday was another unsettled day, a day that brought many of us outbreaks of rain. the rain was most persistent in aberdeenshire but, equally, there were a few brighter moments — for example, here in cornwall to allow these rather stunning rainbows to develop. we have at the moment a very slow—moving area of low pressure crossing the country. further patches of rain moving generally slowly eastwards and with the winds very light, again, we're starting to see some dense patches of fog form particularly across eastern england. visibility is already down to 100 metres in places with the foggy weather really from essex northwards into the east midlands, perhaps east anglia, lincolnshire, and yorkshire. that's where the poorest
visibility is likely to be. whereas further west, the skies tending to clear. this is where we'll see some of the lowest temperatures early on saturday morning. and saturday itself, it's a day where pressure is going to be rising across the whole of the uk. what that will do is it will squish this area of low pressure. so, in the next 24 hours, it won't exist at all, it willjust be gone. further west we get this ridge building in and that will have quite a big impact on the weather. it means across these western and southern areas, it's an improving weather picture with sunny spells developing but with that slow—moving area of low pressure close by, it stays pretty cloudy and there probably will still be some patches of rain well on into the afternoon across the north east. so, a mixed bag of weather. for many of us, though, saturday morning will be a rather grey start to the day.
extensive cloud, some patches of light rain and drizzle. very slowly pushing eastwards because there's barely any wind to move those features along. but eventually, we'll get some sunshine. sunshine to start the day in northern ireland, that will tend to spread to south—west scotland, western areas of england, wales, the midlands, and much of the south of england as well. so, an improving weather picture for some of you. now, the second half of the weekend is dominated by this next area of low pressure. there are more isobars on the chart. so, you'll notice the weather certainly turning a lot windier and also a lot wetter as well. outbreaks rain spreading up from the south west, heavy as it dives in across england and wales, pushes across northern ireland into scotland through the afternoon. although it will be a dry start across northern and eastern areas, rain arrives later in the day and blowy as well. winds from a south—westerly direction blowing mild air. so, temperatures up to 13 in the south west.
the us food and drug administration has authorised the pfizer biontech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. the agency had come under intense pressure from the trump administration to approve the vaccine's use. mr trump said the firstjab would be administered in the united states in less than 24 hours. president trump's attempts of overturning the election result have been dealt a potential final blow. the us supreme court has rejected a legal application by the state of texas seeking to invalidate voting results in georgia, michigan, pennsylvania and wisconsin, which were won by the democratic candidate, president—electjoe biden. borisjohnson has chaired a meeting with senior ministers to assess the uk's readiness for a no—deal brexit. mrjohnson‘s attempts to hold direct talks with the leaders of germany and france have reportedly been rebuffed — ahead of the deadline this sunday for a significant development in trade negotiations. now in a few minutes it'll be time for newswatch.