Raphael Warnock won one of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs yesterday, beating Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler to become the state’s first Black senator. If fellow challenger Jon Ossoff maintains his current narrow lead over Sen. David Perdue, with just 2 percent of votes uncounted, Democrats will claim control of the upper chamber. Warnock’s win continues a historic shift for Georgia that began with President-elect Joe Biden’s victory Nov. 3, as well as a repudiation of President Donald Trump, who campaigned for the Republican incumbents. “To everyone out there struggling,” Warnock said in his victory speech, “I will fight for you.”
Some were already en route. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “very disappointed” after Wuhan-bound WHO investigators discovered Tuesday that China hadn’t granted them visas, despite Beijing OKing the visit to research the pandemic’s origin. Another WHO official hoped it was “just a logistical and bureaucratic issue.” Chinese authorities have been tightly controlling research into COVID-19 while promoting theories that the virus that’s killed nearly 1.9 million people started somewhere else. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said “more and more studies” show multiple outbreaks in different parts of the world caused the pandemic.
He won’t “come through.” The New York Times reports that Vice President Mike Pence informed President Trump Tuesday that he doesn’t have the power to block states’ votes when Congress certifies the Electoral College tabulation. Trump maintains that Pence, who’ll preside over today’s joint session, can “reject fraudulently chosen electors.” But Pence reportedly told Trump the White House Counsel’s Office disagrees, and he must affirm President-elect Biden’s win. Nonetheless, at least 13 Republican senators and dozens of their House colleagues plan to object, forcing votes that are all but certain to fail in both chambers.
He’s still in charge. President Trump on Tuesday ordered a ban on payments in the U.S. via eight Chinese-based platforms, including Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay. The order justifies “aggressive action” as a national security imperative in order to protect Americans’ data. While China hasn’t commented, its regulators are trying to compel Chinese billionaire Jack Ma to feed consumer-credit data collected by Ant Group, which he controls as majority shareholder, into a national credit reporting system. Despite increasing regulatory pressure, Ma has so far resisted such efforts.
A Wisconsin prosecutor has declined to file charges against the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back in August, paralyzing him and igniting deadly clashes over police violence. Hong Kong police arrested 53 former legislators and opposition figures today for “subverting state power” in the biggest crackdown since China enacted its national security law in June. And the U.S. upset Canada 2-0 last night to win the gold medal in the World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton, Alberta.
Singer/songwriter Sevyn Streeter shares the secrets of how she expresses herself through her music and opens up about the R&B queens who made her who she is today. Plus: See what happens when she serenades Carlos with songs about 2020 and tequila. Subscribe now and be the first to watch this new episode.
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They don’t call it paradise for nothing. The tiny Pacific archipelago boasts 18,000 nationals, and according to the World Health Organization, none of them have been infected with COVID-19. Palau shut its borders in March and then partnered with America’s “Operation Warp Speed.” Now, while some sick Americans can’t even get an ambulance, Palau has received its first shipment of 2,800 doses of Moderna’s vaccine and began inoculating on Sunday. The tiny nation may well be the first on Earth with a mostly vaccinated population — a goal it plans to reach by April.
Like many of her peers, Khadija Omari Kayanda gets grief from both sides: raised eyebrows for conducting business in a hijab at work, then objections to her career from a traditional Muslim community at home. But while she was forced into divorce for being too educated, she pursued her work undaunted and is now helping hundreds of Muslim women in Tanzania, OZY reports. She’s launched The Pink Hijab Initiatives, spreading the message that the Quran teaches equality, providing moral and theological support and showing how women can prosper in spite of pressure to stay home.
It’s fake news, the White House says. But a Scottish newspaper reported that a U.S. Air Force Boeing 757, like one President Trump sometimes uses, was scheduled to land Jan. 19 — the day before President-elect Biden’s inauguration — at Scotland’s Prestwick Airport, which Trump uses to access his Turnberry golf resort. But Trump, who's rumored to be planning to announce his 2024 presidential campaign aboard Air Force One, isn’t welcome, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Tuesday. It’s not personal: The region is under a strict lockdown with no travel in or out.
It’s a familiar tune. Less than four weeks before the coveted music trophies were to be awarded Jan. 31, Los Angeles’ grim pandemic reality prompted the show’s postponement. With local hospitals and ICUs overwhelmed, the Recording Academy said rescheduling for March 14 was “the right thing to do.” Meanwhile, Hollywood’s entertainment unions and production studios are agonizing over balancing safety with reviving their ailing industry. In-person filming of shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and This Is Us has been halted until Jan. 18 as California hit another record of 74,000 new COVID-19 cases Monday.
5. Heisman Trophy Goes to First Receiver in 29 Years
He faced three quarterbacks — and won. Alabama’s DeVonta Smith yesterday became the first wide receiver since Desmond Howard in 1991 to win the top college football award. Other Heisman finalists were quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, Alabama’s Mac Jones and Florida’s Kyle Trask, but none came close to Smith’s 1,856 points. The Crimson Tide receiver, with 105 catches for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, will face Ohio State in the championship Monday. At just 6-foot-1, Smith urged, “To all the young kids out there who aren’t the biggest, not the strongest, just keep pushing.”
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