“It’s time to turn the page.” That was President-elect Joe Biden’s message after certified Electoral College members cast their votes in state capitals yesterday, registering his 306-232 victory. President Donald Trump didn’t concede, but even right-wing network Newsmax began calling Biden “president-elect.” Meanwhile, more Republicans rejected baseless ballot fraud claims, Rep. Paul Mitchell renounced his GOP membership, Michigan’s legislature sanctioned a lawmaker for suggesting electors might face violence and Wisconsin’s Supreme Court rejected five 11th-hour election challenges. In Arizona, fake electors submitted forged documents to the National Archives claiming to assign the state’s 11 electoral votes for Trump.
2. US Gives First COVID-19 Shots After 300,000 Deaths
“It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine.” That’s what New York critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay said of the Pfizer/BioNTech injection she received Monday, becoming one of the first Americans to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccine. That coincided with the grim milestone of 300,000 U.S. deaths from the virus, which might be driving vaccination acceptance: A new poll shows 71 percent of Americans want to get inoculated, up from 63 percent in September. Meanwhile, researchers have discovered that people who suffer severe and often deadly COVID-19 symptoms share certain genetic characteristics.
After angering President Trump by saying there was no evidence of outcome-changing election fraud, Attorney General William Barr became his second top cop to leave office after former Sen. Jeff Sessions was fired for recusing himself from the Russia election-meddling probe. Trump tweeted that Barr gave him a resignation letter Monday and would leave before Christmas. In the letter, Barr defended Trump’s accomplishments “in the face of relentless, implacable resistance.” Barr was recognized as the president’s staunchest defender, even to the point of using the Justice Department to take up Trump’s personal legal issues.
4. New EU Rules Could Fine Tech Titans 10% of Revenue
Billions, as they say, are real numbers. The European Commission is set to unveil two proposed laws today that could hugely impact how Big Tech operates in Europe. The Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts would govern how “gatekeepers” like Google, Amazon and Apple use third-party data to get an edge on competitors, as well as how they control dangerous social media content. In Google’s case, it could mean fines of up to $16 billion for violations — though it could take months or years for the EU’s agencies and 27 member nations to approve the regulations.
In one of Carlos’ favorite interviews to date, he is joined by former ESPN hosts Jemele Hill and Cari Champion. The co-hosts of Cari and Jemele (Won’t) Stick to Sports open up about the problematic environment at ESPN, how they met and why Black women have to have each other’s backs. With all walls down, you can’t miss the most real episode of the show yet.
Sickle cell disease currently affects an estimated 100,000 Americans, blocking blood flow and depriving organs of oxygen. It can lead to the failure of organs and cause intense pain and near-constant fatigue. But there's hope on the way. Scientists are fine-tuning a new strategy that could keep the condition in check while also reducing pain.
It’s easy to take it for granted — until it’s gone. Gmail, YouTube and other Google services crashed yesterday, interrupting communications for millions worldwide (and even delaying the mailing of Monday’s Presidential Daily Brief). Though the outage was less than an hour, one expert estimated that it cost the tech giant $1.7 million in ad revenue alone. The outage, which the company said resulted from an “internal storage quota” issue, also dumbed down Android smartphones, disabling vital apps like Google Maps. Some Google Home users even struggled to adjust their thermostats or turn on their lights.
Being gay isn’t a medical condition. That’s what Britain’s National Health Service has essentially concluded, announcing Monday that it’ll end its policy of banning male blood donors if they’ve recently had sex with other men. “This is huge,” said Ethan Spibey, who founded Freedom to Donate to get the ban lifted. The policy, which dates back to the HIV pandemic of the 1980s, was intended to minimize the risk of tainted donations. But opponents say today’s blood tests can do that more effectively — and Canada, which has a similar ban, has even acknowledged as much in authorities’ internal documents.
She didn’t go quietly. Pinterest’s former Chief Operating Officer Francoise Brougher yesterday agreed to an unusually public gender discrimination settlement totaling $22.5 million. She sued the image-sharing platform in August, saying it excluded her from high-level deliberations and fired her for objecting to sexist and degrading treatment. Pinterest employees have since staged a walkout and circulated a petition over gender and racial bias, prompting the company to name its first two Black board members. Brougher will receive $20 million, while the remainder of the settlement will support “advancing women and underrepresented communities in the technology industry.”
4. Africa’s Humanist Weddings Struggle for Acceptance
“And they shall be one flesh.” While Western couples can choose to cite such scripture during weddings, in Africa, it’s more of a commandment, OZY reports. Writing your own vows and other humanist practices aren’t officially recognized, and can inspire ostracism and even violence. But in overwhelmingly Christian Uganda, humanist weddings are growing in popularity, and proponents are demanding legal recognition. “It’s my dream to have a humanist wedding,” says 23-year-old Faridah, from a mixed Christian-Muslim family. She’s joined the growing ranks of humanist officiants in training, hoping to help Africa break the binds of tying the knot.
5. Cleveland to Remain ‘Indians’ Through 2021 Season
Will they wear it out? Ending speculation that the team would go nameless during rebranding (like the Washington Football Team) Cleveland’s baseball franchise announced it’ll play its 2021 season as the “Indians.” During that time it’ll figure out a name that doesn’t offend Native Americans, team owner Paul Dolan explained. Cleveland’s move was predictably scorned by President Trump, who called it “Cancel culture at work!” What names might be considered? “Spiders” is a throwback to the city’s 19th century club, “Rockers” refers to its Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and “Fellers” honors the ace pitcher who pioneered the fastball.
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