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Bill Oxford/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(LONDON) -- U.K.-based pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and England's University of Oxford announced Monday that late-stage trials show their COVID-19 vaccine was up to 90% effective in preventing the disease.

The results are based on interim analysis of phase 3 trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil, which looked at two different dosing regimens. One regimen showed vaccine efficacy of 90% when the drug, called AZD1222, was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart. A second regimen showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. The combined analysis from both dosing regimens showed an average efficacy of 70%, according to press releases from AstraZeneca and Oxford.

There were a total of 131 COVID-19 cases in the analysis, and no hospitalizations or severe cases of the disease were reported in participants receiving the vaccine candidate, according to the press releases.

"These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives," Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Oxford vaccine trial, said in a statement Monday. "Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply."

AstraZeneca, which has promised not to profit from the vaccine "for the duration of the pandemic," said it will now immediately prepare to submit the data to regulators around the world -- including in the United Kingdom, Europe and Brazil -- that have framework in place for conditional or early approval. The company will also seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization for an accelerated pathway to vaccine availability in low-income nations.

Meanwhile, Oxford said it is submitting the full analysis of the interim results for independent scientific peer review and publication.

"Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic," AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement Monday. "This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency."

Clinical trials of AZD1222 are also being conducted in the United States, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with planned studies in other European and Asian countries. In total, AstraZeneca said it expects to enroll up to 60,000 participants globally.

The company said it is "making rapid progress in manufacturing" and expects to produce up to 3 billion doses of AZD1222 in 2021 on a rolling basis, pending regulatory approval. The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions for at least six months and administered within existing health care settings.

"The vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available, supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval," Soriot said.

The U.K. government has already placed orders for 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine candidate, along with 40 million doses of another developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which has shown in a phase 3 trial to have 95% efficacy with no serious safety concerns to date.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Friday that they had submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

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Official White House Photo by Andrea HanksBy BEN GITTLESON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Americans have been strongly urged to stay home for the holidays and cancel in-person gatherings amid a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, but the White House said it's still planning to host holiday parties despite dire warnings from health experts -- and in the wake of a September Rose Garden event that became, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, "a super-spreader event."

U.S. public health officials have cautioned that large, indoor holiday gatherings during the winter months could lead to a dramatic uptick in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The novel coronavirus already has killed more than a quarter million Americans.

While first lady Melania Trump's spokeswoman and chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement Sunday that the White House parties will take place in "the safest environment possible" and noted a series of planned precautions, the gatherings contradict government warnings on events staged even partially indoors.

For Thanksgiving get-togethers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the "safest choice" is to celebrate "virtually or with the people you live with." If Americans do host a gathering, they should eat outside and limit the numbers of guests.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told ABC News on Monday that the CDC's tips "apply to the White House, they apply to the American people, they apply to everyone."

"We want everyone to understand that these holiday celebrations can be super-spreader events," he said in an interview with ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega on Good Morning America.

The White House gatherings are scheduled to begin later this month, soon after the Thanksgiving holiday may give rise to another dangerous COVID-19 surge. ABC News obtained an invitation to a holiday reception scheduled for Nov. 30.

The White House typically holds a series of holiday parties in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa that traditionally take place on the first floor, called the State Floor, with guests allowed to wander freely through the decorated, ceremonial rooms.

The first lady is scheduled to receive the official White House Christmas tree on Monday, and the building already has been bedecked with wreaths.

This year's events will take place at least partly indoors, on the State Floor, according to Grisham, who added that there are "smaller guest lists" and that "masks will be required and available," with social distancing measures encouraged and hand sanitizer stations posted throughout.

"Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations," Grisham added. "All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food-safety guidelines."

It remains to be seen whether the White House staff and attendees actually will wear masks, though, since President Donald Trump and the first lady themselves frequently eschew face coverings, as do many members of the West Wing's staff and the Republican members of Congress expected to be invited to such gatherings. The president, the first lady, two of the president's children and several high-ranking staffers all have tested positive for COVID-19.

"Attending the parties will be a very personal choice," Grisham said. "It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic decor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations."

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(NEW YORK) -- New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and its former leaders Bishop Richard Malone and Bishop Edward Grosz, alleging they failed to adequately investigate accusations of sexual abuse of minors by priests.

Over a two-year investigation, James' office identified more than two dozen diocesan priests who were credibly accused of abuse but were not immediately referred to the Vatican for possible removal from the clergy, which according to the complaint "operated to conceal the actual nature and scope of sexual abuse allegations in the [Diocese]."

"For years, the Diocese of Buffalo and its leadership failed to protect children from sexual abuse," said Attorney General James in a statement. "Instead, they chose to protect the very priests who were credibly accused of these atrocious acts."

Bishop Malone resigned in December 2019 in the wake of a Vatican review of the diocese prompted by widespread criticism of his handling of allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct by local clergy members. Bishop Grosz resigned in March 2020 upon reaching mandatory retirement age for bishops.

The Diocese of Buffalo has been in a state of crisis since 2018, when Siobhan O'Connor, Malone's former personal secretary, leaked internal church documents to investigative reporter Charlie Specht from ABC's local station WKBW, sparking months of reporting about whether there had been efforts to conceal the extent of the problem from the public.

In an interview with ABC News that aired as a special edition of "Nightline," Malone defended his leadership.

"I feel that in the almost 20 years I have been a bishop, I've tried hard to be a good shepherd," Malone told ABC News, arguing that he had "inherited a decades old horrific problem of abuse."

But the crisis only deepened in September with the emergence of secret audio recordings, made by Malone's then-secretary and diocesan vice chancellor Fr. Ryszard Biernat and obtained by both WKBW and ABC News.

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(NEW YORK) -- Along with several other retailers, Target is slashing prices this holiday season with early Black Friday deals starting now through November.

Deep discounts are available on everything from home and kitchen items to electronics, apparel, beauty products, toys and lots more.

"We're taking a completely new approach to Black Friday, giving guests more flexibility and ensuring they can plan ahead for a safe, stress-free shopping experience," said Christina Hennington, Target's executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, in a statement.

Target Black Friday Deals

Nov. 1-7: Discounts on electronics and more.

Nov. 8-14: Deals on kitchen favorites and floor care.

Nov. 15-21:
Take advantage of deals on this season's popular electronics, apparel and beauty products.

Nov. 22-28: Toys, kitchen, floor care and electronics including video games and select consoles will be on sale.

Shoppers are encouraged to check the digital weekly ad posted on Target's website each Thursday before sales go live on Sundays.

The company is also expanding its Price Match Guarantee service, which allows customers to get the absolute best deal regardless of when they shop. Target has confirmed that from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, guests can request a price adjustment for any item advertised as a “Black Friday Now” deal if it is offered for a lower price at Target or later in the season.
relaxed fit that can be paired with denim, trousers and more.

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ABC/Arturo Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Mahershala Ali reveals he accepted a role in David Fincher's 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but only on the condition that he wouldn't have to film a love scene with co-star Taraji P. Henson.

The 46-year-old actor, who converted to Islam while studying for a master's degree at NYU, explained on Common's Mind Power Mixtape podcast that filming the scene would go against his religion, according to the New York Post.

“So my old agent called me and said, ‘Mahershala, you got the part,’" he recalls.  "And I said, ‘There’s just one thing -- there is that one sex scene where they kiss. If there’s a sex scene, I can’t do it.’"

Fortunately, Fincher relented and agreed to toning down the scene.

“Taraji and I begin to kiss, and we fall out of the frame...It wasn’t clear if [Fincher] was trying to have like some bumping and grinding...which I doubt he was," says Ali.  "But for me that time, 15 years ago, I was still like, ‘OK, I can only go up to this point,’ just because of — just trying to hold a space of respect for my religion.”

The Oscar-winning actor stars in the upcoming Apple TV film Swan Song, opposite Glenn Close, Awkwafina and Naomi Harris.

By George Costantino
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shotbydave/iStockBy JULIA JACOBO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- More than 38 billion tons of material were extracted from the Earth in 2017 for trade, a figure that shows how much the demand for raw resources has increased in recent decades, a new United Nations report has found.

The materials include biomass, such as wood and crops for food, energy and plant-based materials; fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas and oil; metals, such as iron, aluminum and copper; and non-metallic minerals, such as sand, gravel and limestone, according to the report.

From 1970 to 2017, the amount of materials extracted from the Earth globally tripled, according to the report.

The volume of trade has increased at a faster pace than the volume of the extracted resources since the 1950s, which signifies how much the global economy relies on material trade, the report states. About one-third of the 101 tons of material extracted from the Earth annually are destined to produce goods for trade.

In addition, the process of using the raw materials -- including extraction, processing, use and disposal of material resources -- deeply affects the planet’s climate, according to the report.

Trade can be damaging to the environment by expanding overall resource production and use, shifting production to countries with less stringent environmental legislation and increasing energy use and pollution linked to transporting the goods.

Rising demand is being met by fewer producers, as several countries shift to becoming net importers with "very few" becoming net exporters, according to the report.

When accompanied by appropriate measures, like facilitating access to green technology and environmental goods and services, trade can enable and accelerate the transition to a greener, circular economy, the report states.

To protect the Earth, authors recommend implementing policies such as enhancing alignment between international trade and environmental legal frameworks, ensuring that trade agreements move toward a circular economy inclusive of developing countries and proactively using regional trade agreements to reduce demand for primary raw materials.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:

Carolina 20, Detroit 0
Cleveland 22, Philadelphia 17
Houston 27, New England 20
New Orleans 24, Atlanta 9
Pittsburgh 27, Jacksonville 3
Tennessee 30, Baltimore 24 (OT)
Washington 20, Cincinnati 9
Denver 20, Miami 13
LA Chargers 34, NY Jets 28
Dallas 31, Minnesota 28
Indianapolis 34, Green Bay 31 (OT)
Kansas City 35, Las Vegas 31

Sporting Kansas City 3, San Jose 3 (Sporting Kansas City advances 3-0 on penalty kicks)
Minnesota 3, Colorado 0
FC Dallas 1, Portland 1 (Tie)

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