Xinhua world news summary at 0030 GMT, Jan. 2

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NEW DELHI -- An expert panel appointed by the Indian government Friday recommended Oxford COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India be granted emergency use authorisation, local media reported.

The approval by the subject expert committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation paves the way for mass immunisation in the country. (India-COVID-19-Vaccine)

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NEW YORK -- The total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 20 million on Friday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

U.S. COVID-19 case count rose to 20,007,149, with a total of 346,408 deaths, as of 12:22 p.m. local time (1722 GMT), according to the CSSE tally. (US-COVID-19-Cases)

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VIENNA -- Without any live audience in the "Golden Hall" of the Musikverein in Vienna, the 2021 Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert took place on Friday, under the baton of Italian conductor Riccardo Muti.

"As an ambassador of music and together with maestro Muti we would like to send a message of hope and optimism through our concert," said Daniel Froschauer at the concert. He is both the Vienna Philharmonic's chairman of the board as well as the first violinist. (Austria-Vienna Philharmonic)

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Congress has voted to override President Donald Trump's veto of a 740.5-billion-U.S.-dollar defense policy bill.

The Republican-led Senate voted 81 to 13 in a rare New Year's Day session on Friday to join the House, controlled by Democrats, in overriding Trump's veto, making the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 a law. (US-Congress-Trump)

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KHARTOUM -- Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Friday announced formation of the National Mechanism for Protection of Civilians.

"The formation of the national mechanism for the protection of civilians has completed," said Hamdok in a speech to the Sudanese people on Friday, the 65th anniversary of Sudan's independence. (Sudan-National Day) Enditem

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