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1. Senate races
It’s Election Day in Georgia again, and today’s two runoff races will determine which party controls the US Senate. Democrat Jon Ossoff is running against Republican Sen. David Perdue, and Democrat Raphael Warnock is running against GOP incumbent Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed in 2019 to replace a retiree. If both Democrats win, it would shift the balance of power in the Senate to an even 50 seats for each party, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker once she’s sworn in. More than 3 million ballots have already been cast. Republicans obviously didn’t expect the historically red state to flip blue in the presidential race, and some Republicans, like VP Mike Pence, have voiced concern about Republican voter turnout amid baseless claims of voter fraud. Early predictions show the races are anyone’s to win.
Anyone who gets the coronavirus vaccine must get both doses for it to be effective, FDA officials said yesterday. It seems like a no-brainer, but the slow rollout of vaccines across the US had led to speculation that foregoing or delaying a second dose could stretch the amount of available vaccine. So far, the US has administered 4.5 million doses. Meanwhile, lockdowns are shuttering parts of Europe again. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a harsh lockdown across England that will last at least through the middle of February. Italy also imposed new lockdowns, and Germany is considering extending coronavirus restrictions. It’s all to avoid situations like we’re seeing in Los Angeles County, where 1 out of 5 people tested for coronavirus turns up positive, and hospital beds are so scarce that ambulance drivers have been instructed not to transport patients with little chance of survival.
3. White House transition
Some prosecutors, election lawyers and public officials are calling for criminal investigations into whether President Trump broke any laws during a weekend call with Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he asked Raffensperger to “find” 11,870 votes to reverse his loss in the presidential election there. House Democrats have also drafted a resolution seeking to censure Trump over the matter. This comes as lawmakers on the Hill are preparing for debate during tomorrow’s certification of Electoral College results. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he expects up to six states’ Electoral College votes to be challenged as a group of adamant Trump allies plans to object to the results. But Hoyer said the number may drop depending on “how quickly they get tired of playing this game.”
4. Jacob Blake
Officials in Kenosha, Wisconsin, announced that a decision on whether to charge the officer involved in the August police shooting of Jacob Blake will come in the next two weeks. Wisconsin is mobilizing the National Guard in preparation for any unrest that follows the decision, and the Kenosha city council unanimously approved granting the mayor emergency powers once the announcement is made. Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times from behind by a White police officer, Rusten Sheskey, who was responding to a call about a domestic incident. Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down. Disturbing video of the incident led to mass protests in Kenosha and across a nation already reckoning with how police treat Black people.
Iran has resumed enriching uranium to 20% purity, in direct opposition to the limits laid out in the 2015 nuclear deal, which capped uranium enrichment at 3.67%. That decision is likely to inflame already volatile relations with the US, even though President Trump walked away from the deal in 2018 in favor of sanctions against the country. Iran also seized a South Korean-flagged chemical tanker in the Persian Gulf yesterday, prompting South Korea to dispatch an anti-piracy unit to the area. Remember, Iran is still deeply cognizant of the one-year anniversary of the US killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, and tensions are especially high because of that.
Here are some new laws that take effect in 2021
There’s a lot happening, so you may have missed some.
McDonald’s adds 3 new sandwiches to compete in chicken wars
Yes, the level of chicken competition is THAT serious.
Sculpture in Brazil causes controversy
Masters champ Dustin Johnson’s quick golf game could influence the sport’s pace of play
It’s hard to reconcile the words “quick” and “golf” in the same sentence.
Chipotle’s slimming down for the new year, too, with cauliflower rice
Hopefully this won’t spark any fast-food cauliflower wars.
The number of Chinese telecom companies that will not be kicked off the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Street reversed its decision to delist the state-owned firms under an order by President Trump that bans Americans from investing in firms the US government suspects are owned or controlled by the Chinese military. The NYSE said it will “continue to evaluate” how the order applies to these companies.
“I hope this judgment makes the justice system a more responsive and safer place for women to come out and speak out against violence.”
Sahar Bandial, a lawyer in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The Lahore High Court in Pakistan’s most-populous province handed down a landmark ruling banning so-called virginity tests for rape survivors. The tests are invasive procedures that the court found have no medical basis or value.
The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift that connects two canals in central Scotland. Over a few minutes, a boat can be transferred from one canal to the next in a marvelous — and cool-looking — feat of engineering. (Click here to view.)