Here are the top stories for Thursday, December 24th: UK announces trade deal with EU; Fire at Marine Corps base forces evacuations; Mexico begins vaccination campaign; Christmas traditions altered at the Vatican.
ROBERT BUMSTED: This is AP News Minute. More than four years after the Brexit vote, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Thursday the country had finally hammered out a trade agreement with the EU. The deal should avert economic chaos that would have ensued if an agreement hadn't been reached before year's end. Both sides claim the deal protects their key interests.
A wildfire burning on a Southern California Marine Corps base has forced evacuations. More than 7,000 have been forced to leave an area around Camp Pendleton north of San Diego. Utilities warn large-scale power cuts may be necessary.
Mexico has begun the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. An intensive care nurse in Mexico City was the first to receive a dose on Thursday. Mexico has the fourth highest COVID death toll in the world, with more than 120,000 test-confirmed deaths so far.
And the pandemic is putting a damper on Christmas traditions at the Vatican. Pope Francis delivered the annual midnight Christmas mass early this year to comply with a 10:00 PM curfew. COVID restrictions mean the pope won't be making his traditional appearances in St. Peter's Square either. Robert Bumsted, Associated Press, with AP News Minute.