tv Al Jazeera English News Bulletin LINKTV December 14, 2020 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
♪ >> joe biden secures a majority has members of the electoral college vote to verify the presidential poll. this is the u.s. attorney general, william barr, is resigning amid tension with president trump over his baseless claims of election fraud. you are watching al jazeera nive . coming up in the next 30
minutes, a massive covid-19 vaccination campaign is underway in the u.s. on the day the death toll 300,000 in the worst affected country. the u.s. imposes sanctions on turkey over its purchase of russ and -- russian missile defense systems. thousands of people gather in chilly and argentina to witness a solar eclipse. welcome to the program. the u.s. electoral college formally validated joe biden's victory in the presidential election. electors in california pushed joe biden over the threshold to clinch the presidency. it is one of the last steps to finalize the outcome of the election. all states have certified the results, giving biden the wind and the electors are reflecting that outcome. officials in battleground states like georgia, pennsylvania and
arizona are among those who voted for the democrat. trump has falsely claimed there was massive vote rigging. dozens of cases filed by his campaign failed. william barr is resigning amid trump's accusations he hasn't done enough to investigate the president's false claims of election fraud. trump made the announcement on twitter, saying he just met with barr and his relationship with the attorney general has always been a good one. trump said barr was planning to step down before christmas. let's get the latest from our correspondent in delaware. we talked about the final hurdles to confirming the next president, legal arguments aside , is this now where we can draw a line and the whole process for joe biden, he is the president the echo -- the president-elect? >> with hawaii's four electoral
college votes, which will be cast any minute, i'm sure biden hopes that is the case but there is one more hurdle. january 6 will be when these electoral college votes will be counted and certified in congress. there are some reports that some republicans may attempt a final symbolic stand to at least delay things. trump supporters say he may come out to support that. otherwise it will be another stop on the narrative of the stolen election. we should say this is about the narrative, not the reality of what is happening under the constitution. joe biden is now the president-elect. but look at the polls. 80% of trump voters feel biden stole the election. the good news for biden, around 60% of americans feel it is time to move on even if some of them do feel biden has stolen the
election. trump has 73 million people who voted for him. these aren't a few loonies or whatever. this is a big chunk of america who don't trust biden, they don't trust the media or the democrats, they don't trust the republicans but they do trust trump. trump has this power and the question is, what will he do with it? there was an article over the weekend that suggested he wants to be part of the conversation going forward while he deliberates whether to run again in the next presidential election, or uses his -- this commercially or whether this is about ego or revenge. after the 2016 election, the democrats were quick to say the whole thing is a legitimate, that -- vladimir putin elected the president. trump has not forgotten that. it is not over yet, but it is over.
>> of course, another story breaking coincidentally at the same time, the departure from trump's inner circle, yet another one, while trump's own departure is imminent. >> it is interesting timing. this is a circumstantial trump analysis that has to go on. when california put biden over the 270 threshold with their 55 votes, we get tweets from trump saying my lovely attorney general is leaving now and he tweets that the resignation letter from barr, which is full of praise for donald trump, they had a close relationship but perhaps this had to do more with trump than barr. he is a great believer in the power of the executive, but that suited trump well especially during congressional investigations. barr said they had no legal authority and trump loved that.
he didn't like that after the election, barr didn't get behind the allegations of fraud. barr saying there was no evidence of fraud as far as the doj was concerned. in the last few days, it was leaked to the wall street journal that barr has been investigating hunter biden and the allegations he has been using his influence as the former vice president, now president-elect's son to make money. barr was careful not to mention that before the election and trump wasn't happy. lots of talk about him wanting him fired but today, it is sweetness and light and barr is graciously stepping down, a much loved former member of the trump administration. >> we will see how this falls out. thank you for the update. an elector in washington dc cast her ballot and she says she hopes the electoral process can unite americans. >> it was a very exciting
process today. we, the three other electors, met at the washington convention center. we were introduced by the democratic chair. we cast our ballots, which were certified by the mayor. we had remarks from our secretary. 20/20 is a year when we had many -- a lot of strife and death around the virus that is happening that is ravaging the world. as a front-line worker i'm excited to be able to participate in the process. i am a graduate of howard university, so as a woman and a black female i'm excited to cast a ballot for the first african-american woman to hold one of the highest seats in the nation. after this election, even during the electoral process it is hope -- it is important we do unite and understand that every citizen matters, every person regardless of their race, color
or creed, or socioeconomic status or where your zip code is, and i want to ensure, it is my hope and prayer that even after today, we can't put our republic back to sleep. we have to make sure all of us, nurses, other persons that are working, have to make sure that every single person, even though you are not a politician, you have to participate in the democratic process. >> early voting has begun in georgia for two races that will decide who controls the senate. democrats seek to win both to control the chamber. republicans have long dominated in the state but joe biden's wind last month has buoyed democratic hopes. the outcome january 5 will heavily influence biden's ability to carry out campaign promises. the number of covid-19 fatalities in the united states has surpassed 300,000.
the largest vaccination campaign in the country's history, now underway. a new york nurse who treated some of the sickest patients for months was the first to get the vaccine made by pfizer. regulators approved it last weekend almost 3 million doses have been shipped across the u.s. >> it didn't feel any different from taking any other vaccine. i am feeling well. i would like to thank all the front-line workers, all my colleagues who have been fighting the pandemic all over the world. i am hopeful, i feel hopeful today, relieved. i feel like healing is coming. >> health care workers and elderly cut -- care residents
will be prioritized. president trump says he isn't scheduled to take the vaccine yet but says he will do so at the appropriate time. over the last two weeks more than 2500 coronavirus deaths have been reported every day and wednesday and saturday, the death toll was above 3000. an infectious disease specialist from the university of maryland joins me now live. good to have you with us. you are at the heart of advising on the organizing of vaccine distribution. in your opinion, how did it go over the weekend to where we are on monday, where we are now seeing those first inoculations in process? >> personally, it was exhilarating to finally have one of the horses we have had running finally come across the finish line. on friday, late evening, we had the fda issue the eua, then they
a cip met over the weekend as well and developed and developed recommendations and had the vote. it is certainly best outcome that i could have envisioned. i am so pleased with all the colleagues i have been working with for many months for all of their tireless work. >> what were the main logistical and transport challenges you really had to overcome in terms of organizing this huge and mammoth task? >> i only have a little piece of the pie that i look at for this problem, but on the national level, we have had to coordinate so many hundreds of thousands of doses that came down to the states, and the states themselves had to do -- had to dole out the doses to the medical system. i am at the university of maryland medical system, and we received a pizza box worth of vaccines.
these are 970 five doses that we were distributing out to our 13 medical hospitals in our system. basically, we immunized our first set of staff and physicians, and we saw that all of the months of hard work finally paid off. it is difficult come of the logistics, because of the very cold temperatures required for the storage of this vaccine. but we finally got it done. >> we often discuss with a range of guests, pinpointing the hosta bought -- the hotspot areas across the country and how distribution is decided considering the u.s. has a vast urban and rural area to deal with. >> that is right. we do have very disparate areas, even in my state, the state of maryland, which is a small state. it has urban and rural areas.
we have areas that are near the ocean and also mountainous areas and some of those areas are very rural, have very low populations, and we have baltimore and other larger cities and towns and of course, that makes logistics difficult for the local jurisdictions receiving the vaccines. >> news coming out of the united kingdom that the british health secretary has now said there are varied strains of covid-19 detected in the south of his country. the vaccine can deal with them, is what he is saying to the public, reassuring them. how concerned are you in the united states about variant strains of covid-19? is that a possibility? >> that is a good question. we are seeing variant strains. thankfully, when we sequence the viruses, this is how we find that they are variant, is that these are small variations in the gene sequences. they are not predicted to be in
the areas where they would make our vaccines that we have been developing for many months, any less effective. the good news is that all of these virus variants right now are very small variations. the types that really, will not affect the vaccine's efficacy. >> it is good speaking with you. thanks for your insight from maryland. >> good and thank you. >> canadians have started receiving the pfizer vaccine with 30,000 doses expected to arrive this week. the first batch has been sent to ontario and quebec, both of which have borne the brunt of the outbreak in the country. care home residents at health care workers are prioritized. 80% of deaths were recorded in care facilities. health authorities urged provinces to impose restrictions at us -- as a second wave sweeps the country. there is increasing pressure to
give the green light to the vaccine to help the rise in cases. to make it easier to compare the rate of infection between countries, we can look at how many cases are being reported per 100,000 people. this was the situation two months ago, lots of the dark red colors show high rates of infection but look at how the whole continent has turned dark red. the european center for disease control listed more than 120 cases per 100000 and that is critical. every country except for a few are on this highest level. serbia, georgia, croatia and lithuania have the highest infection rates. turkey, russia, germany, italy and the united kingdom have reported the most cases in the past 14 days, with turkey recording more than 400,000 infections. earlier, the netherlands followed germany and announced a nationwide lockdown because of the surge. millions in london are set to be
placed under tougher restrictions. >> london's festive preparations, dealt a blow. the capital moving to tighter restrictions that will ban households from mixing and see the hospitality sector shut down again. the health secretary warned a new variant of the virus might in part behind fast rising infection rates. >> the medical advice we have is that it is highly unlikely under this new variant, that it will impinge the vaccine and the impact of the vaccine but we will know that in the coming days and weeks as the vaccine, as the new strand is cultured. >> london joins much of the rest of the country under tier three restrictions eerie the government plant to relax the measures for a few days over christmas itself. that is a -- fueling fears of a third wave and the new year. >> it is a shame that things are
being left until the last minute. >> the u.k. is far from alone. in europe, the christmas lights signal festive cheer but there is not a lot of it. french hotel and restaurant workers in paris protested for the right to work. their industry, shut since october and won't reopen until late in january. in italy, the government is debating tougher measures after an easing of restrictions saw shoppers pouring onto the streets. over the weekend, the country overtook britain to become the european nation with the highest official death toll. more than 64 thousand italians have died. no such debate in germany, set to go back into lockdown on wednesday with the closure of nonessential shops and schools until january 10. in the netherlands, they are about to do the same. >> we have 600 deaths a day. that is no joke. i'm 65 and healthy, but i would
like to stay that way and we all have to withdraw a bit, even though that is not what i want. >> in the u.k., the rollout of the pfizer vaccine continues. the first country in europe to do so. a flurry of excitement in recent weeks suggested the pandemic was nearly over. christmas, besieged by new restrictions, proves it is not. >> the u.s. imposed sanctions on turkey over its purchase of reston mitchell -- russian missiles. the u.s. removed turkey from its jet program because of the deal. turkey bought the rusan defense systems last year and insists it poses no threat to nato. president erdogan condemned sanctions. >> from our nato ally the united states we expect support in our bad lie -- battle against
terrorist organizations, not sanctions. we are never a country that chases conflict or tensions with neighbors or any other. we are fighting for the prosperity of our entire region and the world. the situation doesn't mean we will remain silent against our rights, laws and sovereignty being trampled, just like we don't want anyone's rights. we won't allow anyone to take our rights. >> robert hunter is the former u.s. ambassador to nato and joins me live from washington. good to have you with us on the program. the u.s. is angry about the relationship turkey and russia developed, more so after turkey's purchase in 2019. are these sanctions imposed by the u.s. going to have any effect on turkey? >> it is hard to say. i think in terms of the military sanctions being imposed, they are less than what congress has
mandated and in the longer term, it might have some impact on turkish capabilities. it is more of a signal, to say to mr. erdogan that as a nato ally, if we are all going to be nato allies facing a lot of common threats, it is important for turkey to play its role and part of that role according to the americans is not to buy equipment from russia, which itself has been pushing against ukraine, they took crimea and the like, and the united states has proposed a perfectly good alternative which is the american patriot system. this is a case in which i think smart people on both sides should be able to sit down and talk about it, but i'm afraid mr. erdogan has gone too far in buying this particular soviet system. >> one of the issues the americans have is this sort of knowledge, this transfer of
knowledge, know-how, technology. is the s-four hundred system in the eyes of the u.s. a superior system to the patriot system? is that the real concern? >> it is not that it is superior in any way. it is that if you have russian military people on an air base, like where the united states also operates, and if you have a turkish system based upon, that is a russian type system, which can target the most advanced u.s. airplanes in the region, that could cause a lot of problems. there is a concern that that would compromise some of the most important western, american, nato military secrets in terms of technology by mr. erdogan in effect opening the door to the russians. it was not very smart for mr. erdogan if he has a problem with
the americans and nato, to have chosen this route. i would have chosen something else. >> president trump has been reluctant to sanction president erdogan, perhaps seeing him as a strong man. will this be more impact of when joe biden takes office knowing the democrats have been pushing republicans over this deal? >> the congress has just approved a veto-proof defense bill, which includes a provision that was in 30 days, the administration has to impose sanctions on turkey. mr. trump has preempted that by doing something that is less than congress asked for. when mr. biden comes in, i don't know what he will do because he has a number of conflicting views on things he wants to achieve. he wants to have better relations with nato in general than mr. trump did, but he also wants to be careful not to compromise american technology
and potentially american security, which in this case, the transfer of technology, mr. erdogan is making life difficult for a new american president. that is not usually a good idea. you want to give a new american president the chance to work things out rather than taking on even before he takes the oath of office. >> we will see what happens. next for joining us. -- thanks for joining us. the u.s. officially removed sudan from state-sponsored terrorism list. this is part of a deal with israel. in october, washington and khartoum restored sovereign immunity, which it can't -- which means it can't be sued in american courts. the prime minister says this is a game changer for sudan. >> it entails opening sudan up
for investments. for a long time we have said we are a rich country. we don't need donations and gifts. removing us from this list is a game changer. it helps create a different and new atmosphere. >> the u.s. has accused iran for the first time of direct involvement in the disappearance and probable death of a former fbi agent. bob levinson vanished on a mission in iran 13 years ago. the treasury department announced it is imposing sanctions on two high ranking uranian agents. the trump administration is urging the incoming president to make the release of at least three americans held in iran a priority. a prisoner swap is underway between armenia and azerbaijan as part of a peace deal that ended recent fighting over a disputed region. relatives cheered as names of returning soldiers were announced outside of military
airport. moscow, which brokered the truce must is more than 40 were handed over monday while a dozen prisoners were returned to azerbaijan. it is unclear how many people are still to be exchanged. a port in saudi arabia reopened hours after an oil tanker was hit by a boat laden with explosives. the kingdom described the incident as a terrorist attack. >> the blast rocked the singapore flagged oil tanker just after midnight, causing if iran sending smoke blowing into the sky. it was in a port. it's owner says all 22 sailors on board escaped unhurt. the saudi owned media reported two small boats were seen before the explosion. it is the latest in a string of attacks on saudi arabia's energy sector, mainly claimed by rebels from across the border in yemen.
three weeks ago, they fired a missile which struck a petroleum plant, damaging a fuel storage tank. the rebels have been escalating or cross-border strikes to piled the pressure on the kingdom. >> this seems to be another one of these attacks against a target which is vital for saudi arabia as the greatest exporter of oil in the world. the waters of the red sea are important for oil and the delivery of millions of barrels of oil every day. if you make this unsafe, that will have an impact on saudi arabia's security and that is a high target and that increases the urgency for saudi arabia to do something. >> the distance between yemen's shores and the port makes it difficult but not impossible for the rebels to send two small boats filled with explosives more than 600 kilometers to launch such an attack.
it could have been carried out by domestic operators who often don't claim responsibility for several days. so far, no group has said it was behind the blast, which saudi arabia described as a terrorist attack. there have been several violent incidents in the country this year. last month, a bomb exploded at a cemetery, injuring several people. >> this is a very tricky action done by groups or states, or groups supported by states. and of course, you don't find any evidence. normally, no one would say, i have done this. this keeps things in a gloomy situation. >> for now, maritime authorities urge vessels in the area to exercise extreme@ñ@ñ@ñxxxxo
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