News Headlines 1/6/21

WARNOCK WINS ONE GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFF, FELLOW DEMOCRAT OSSOFF LEADS IN THE OTHER: Democratic challenger Reverend Raphael Warnock won one of two U.S. Senate runoffs held in Georgia yesterday (January 5th) according to calls by the Associated Press and other media organizations including CNN and NBC News, beating Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler to become the first Black senator in Georgia history. With 98 percent of precincts in, Warnock was ahead 50.6 percent to 49.4. Warnock gave a virtual victory message, saying, “Tonight, we proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.” But Loeffler refused to concede in a brief message to supporters. In the state’s other Senate runoff, Democrat Jon Ossoff was narrowly leading GOP Senator David Purdue as of 4 a.m., 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent, also with 98 percent in. If the final count margin is 0.5 percentage points or less, the candidate who’s behind can request a recount. If Ossoff holds on to his lead, the two wins will tie the Senate at 50-50, which will give control of the chamber to the Democrats with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. If Purdue pulls out the win, the Republicans will maintain control, 51-49.

CONGRESS SET TO CONFIRM BIDEN’S VICTORY TODAY, MANY REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS PLAN TO OBJECT: Congress is set to today (January 6th) to confirm the 306-232 Electoral College vote won by President-elect Joe Biden that has been certified by the states. It’s usually a routine, low-key proceeding, but won’t be this time, as many Republican lawmakers plan to object amid President Trump‘s ongoing, extraordinary efforts to try to overturn the results. At least 12 Republican senators and up to 100 GOP House members are expected to object, but chances of success are virtually nil, as bipartisan majorities are set to accept the results. However, each objection will force two hours of deliberations, leading to an expected long day. Trump, meanwhile, will be taking part in a rally of his supporters in Washington, D.C.

HIGHEST ONE-DAY COVID DEATH TOTAL IN U.S. YESTERDAY: The U.S. had its highest one-day number of deaths from Covid-19 on Tuesday (January 5th) since the pandemic began, with at least 3,775 deaths reported, according to Johns Hopkins University data. More than 357,200 people have died in total so far. There were also more than 229,000 new confirmed cases yesterday, and the COVID Tracking Project reported a record 131,195 hospitalizations.

NO CHARGES AGAINST KENOSHA POLICE OFFICER WHO SHOT JACOB BLAKE: Kenosha County, Wisconsin, District Attorney Michael Graveley said yesterday (January 5th) that no charges will be brought against the white police officer who shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, multiple times in the back, leaving Blake paralyzed from the waist down. The August incident led to protests in Kenosha that at times turned violent. Graveley said he concluded he couldn’t disprove Officer Rusten Sheskey‘s claim that he acted in self-defense because he was afraid Blake would stab him, saying investigators concluded Blake was carrying a knife. Blake’s family, civil rights advocates and some public officials, including Democratic Governor Tony Evers, criticized the decision.

AGENCIES SAY RUSSIA LIKELY BEHIND MASSIVE HACK OF GOV’T., CORPORATIONS: Top U.S. national security agencies said in a rare joint statement yesterday (January 5th) that Russia is “likely” behind a recently-discovered large-scale hack of federal government departments and of corporations. It was the first time the government had suggested who is likely responsible for the hack, although it had been reported that Russia was suspected. The statement further said that the infiltration appeared to be done for “intelligence gathering,” rather than to damage or disrupt the government’s operations, but made clear the spying operation is still going on. It said, “This is a serious compromise that will require a sustained and dedicated effort to remediate.”