The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has now proved 95% effective in preventing coronavirus and has met the safety criteria needed for emergency authorization, the firms have said. Pfizer and BioNTech say they plan to submit the COVID-19 vaccine to the US regulator for emergency use approval “within days” after “no serious safety concerns” were reported. It also proved 94% effective among adults over the age of 65 – who are generally more vulnerable.
The Pentagon is reducing troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 by Jan. 15, acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller said Tuesday, a move that the Trump administration has signaled for months. The decision to draw down troops to those levels in Afghanistan, which was initially announced last month by national security adviser Robert O’Brien, comes despite recent remarks from senior military officials that conditions on the ground do not warrant such a move.
Israel’s military says it launched airstrikes against Iranian and Syrian military targets in Syria overnight, after explosive devices were found in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Syrian state news agency said the country’s air defenses had “confronted an Israeli aerial aggression” and downed a number of missiles. It reported that three Syrian soldiers were killed and another was injured.
President Donald Trump has fired the director of the federal agency that vouched for the reliability of the 2020 election and pushed back on the president’s claims of voter fraud. Trump fired Christopher Krebs in a tweet on Tuesday, saying Krebs “has been terminated” and that his recent statement defending the security of the election was “highly inaccurate”.
British counter-terrorism police said on Wednesday they had arrested a man over the 1974 pub bombings in the city of Birmingham which killed 21 people, the deadliest attack on the British mainland in 30 years of Northern Irish violence. The bombings took place in the crowded Mulberry Bush pub and The Tavern in Birmingham, central England, on Nov. 21, 1974. Although the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was believed to have planted the explosives, it never claimed responsibility.