With Michigan and Pennsylvania set to certify election results today, President Donald Trump’s options to fight the outcome in court are dwindling. Yesterday Trump’s legal team cut ties with lawyer Sidney Powell after she pushed evidence-free claims that the election was rigged by a Venezuela-based conspiracy masterminded by former President Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013, and that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican loyalist, was in on it. Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden named Anthony Blinken as his secretary of state, with his first priority reportedly to reestablish trust in the U.S. as a world power.
2. Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine 70 Percent Effective in Trials
The inoculation developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca stops symptoms in 70 percent of patients — better than the flu vaccine but markedly worse than the 95 percent efficacy reported by Moderna and Pfizer. Still, the Oxford vaccine is significantly cheaper per dose and can be stored in normal fridges, making it more viable for rural areas than the other two, which require super-cold conditions. While CDC officials say some Americans could be vaccinated by mid-December, hospitals could already be overwhelmed by cases contracted at Thanksgiving: Millions of Americans have begun holiday travel despite public health officials’ pleas to stay home.
Prominent Umbrella Movement figures Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam pleaded guilty today to inciting protests as Hong Kong boiled over last year over an extradition law. Since then, China’s imposed a national security law, barring many — including Wong — from running in elections scheduled for September, though the poll was eventually postponed due to COVID-19. Others who were already in office were expelled from Parliament. The activists will be sentenced Dec. 2 and could face prison time, though Wong said before the hearing, “What we are doing now is to explain the value of freedom to the world.”
At a virtual summit ceremonially hosted by Saudi Arabia, G-20 leaders pledged that the current hold on debt service payments from poor countries will remain in force until at least mid-2021. So far, the hold has saved about $5.7 billion, freeing up money to help stricken countries battle COVID-19. The group also urged private companies that hold credit from such nations to do the same, though some noted that the G-20 plan leaves out middle-income countries struggling with the highest death rates. Leaders also promised to enforce fair and relatively inexpensive global access to future COVID-19 vaccines.
Protesters in Guatemala seeking President Alejandro Giammattei’s resignation have set fire to Congress. Donald Trump Jr. says he will pass the time in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 by cleaning his guns. And the Ethiopian government has warned civilians in the rebellious Tigray region that troops will show “no mercy.”
Do You Know? Which state is providing the two turkeys to the White House this year to receive a presidential pardon? Reply to this email with your guess.
As season 2 kicks off, meet the powerhouse behind former President Barack Obama. Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama's most trusted advisors and leader of his transition team, joins Carlos today to dive into what the Trump-Biden transition might look like. Tune in for a look behind the curtain with this powerful politico, get rarely seen insight into her personal life, and hear how she found the courage to hope for change.
OZY and Chevrolet are teaming up for an innovative discussion, taking on the toughest questions in our society today. Hosted by Carlos Watson, OZY’s co-founder and winner of multiple Emmy Awards, and joined by key leaders from across the country, we’re having pointed conversations to identify problems and equip you with solutions. Put aside the shouting matches and talking heads, and be an ally: Join us Tuesday, Dec. 8, on YouTube for a conversation you won’t want to miss.
The northern Indian Ocean’s strongest tropical cyclone on record made landfall on the Horn of Africa yesterday, the first hurricane-strength storm to ever hit Somalia. Tropical Cyclone Gati also set a record for the speed at which it intensified, and experts predict it’ll drop 8 inches of rain over 48 hours, which would normally be two years’ worth of precipitation there. Another potential cyclone, Nivar, is already brewing in the Indian Ocean and is expected to hit India Wednesday. Meteorologists have been concerned by the highly abnormal increase in storm activity in the region in recent years. (Image credit: RAMMB/CIRA)
Wave hello to the future. Drones have inhabited the air for years and now they're taking to open water, with unmanned sea craft monitoring noise, shipping and weather data. While China has debuted an unmanned warship, drones are predominantly for research — and some hope they could even help maintain offshore renewable energy plants like wind farms, OZY reports. But there are some rough patches ahead: Scientists warn it’s far more difficult to design and maintain sea drones than driverless cars, because while oceans are emptier than roads, there’s very little chance an autonomous car will be attacked by a shark.
This isn’t just about the optics. Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory is familiar even to non-science geeks after featuring in films like GoldenEye — but the 1,000-foot radio telescope is in danger of “catastrophic” failure and will soon be demolished, National Science Foundation officials say. Over 57 years, the apparatus was used to discover the first binary pulsar and make the first radar maps of Venus, among other discoveries. But two cables supporting its 900-ton receiving platform have failed in recent months, and repairs, which wouldn’t even guarantee long-term stability, would be impossible without endangering the lives of workers.
In 2014, Patrick Quinn and Peter Frates — both suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — saw a golfer get doused in ice water and then ask fans to make charitable donations. Quinn and Frates bolstered the idea, sparking one of the most profitable viral campaigns in history, where celebrities and civilians alike dumped buckets of ice over their own heads to raise money for research into the incurable disease, eventually collecting $220 million. Frates died last year, and now Quinn has also passed away, though ALS charities said he’ll “remain an inspiration.”
Cincinnati used its No. 1 2020 draft pick on Heisman Trophy-winner Joe Burrow, and he swiftly reinvigorated the team, scoring 13 touchdowns in 10 games. But that streak is over: During yesterday’s game against the Washington Football Team — during which he was on track to match the rookie passing record — Burrow was hit by two opposing linemen after throwing the ball, and his leg bent in a way it wasn’t supposed to. He was helped off the field and later confirmed fans’ worst fears when he tweeted, “See ya next year.”