Thousands of supporters of President Trump stormed the US Capitol building yesterday, clashing with police as morning protests turned into a riot that overwhelmed Capitol security. One woman was killed after being shot inside the Capitol — reports suggest the fatal shot came as demonstrators tried to enter the House chamber — and at least 52 people were arrested. Three others died during the violence, reportedly from medical emergencies. It was the largest breach of the Capitol since it was burned by British troops in 1814. See photos here.
A rally had been scheduled in the nation’s capital to coincide with a joint session of Congress meant to formally receive and certify the Electoral College votes finalizing the 2020 presidential election. Following morning speeches at the White House Ellipse (see map) — including a final, hourlong appearance by Trump — protesters made the two-mile trek to Capitol Hill, almost immediately overrunning police barriers. See more photos here.
A number of Republican lawmakers had planned to object to the formal electoral results. The effort, which did not have the support to alter the outcome, split the GOP conference — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made a forceful rebuttal to the objections to open the first debate. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) was in the middle of supporting an objection when he was notified protesters had breached police lines and entered the building (see clip).
Vice President Mike Pence, who signaled just before the proceedings he would not intervene in the results (read letter), was hastily escorted out. Pence later denounced the invasion and called for the crowd to disperse. By the afternoon, Trump exhorted his supporters to disperse, while repeating allegations of voter fraud. Major social media platforms blocked the president’s account for up to 24 hours. The violence was widely condemned from both sides of the aisle.
The chaos gave rise to surreal scenes: Police attempting to contain protesters inside the rotunda, a protester lounging in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D, CA-12) office, and a woman screaming from the House dais in front of an empty chamber. A Confederate flag flew inside the Capitol. See a compiled video of events here.
A later sweep found pipe bombs outside both the Democratic and Republican National Committee offices, along with a cooler of Molotov cocktails. The breach and handling of the protestors raised questions about Capitol Hill security, with many drawing comparisons to the harsher response seen during summer demonstrations across the city. The president later released a statement committing to an orderly transition.
The complex was cleared late in the evening, after which certification resumed. Seven of 13 senators dropped their objections. The vote was certified for President-elect Joe Biden early this morning — inauguration is set for Jan. 20.
Georgia Senate Race Called
Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff is projected to beat incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R) in the second of two runoff elections for Georgia’s US Senate seats, The Associated Press announced yesterday. With more than 99% of the vote counted, Ossoff holds a 0.8% lead, or roughly 35,000 votes, over Perdue.
Ossoff would join fellow Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock in victory, whose race over incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) was called overnight Tuesday. Warnock — who looks to become Georgia’s first Black US senator — currently holds a 1.4% lead (about 74,000 votes) over Loeffler. Neither Perdue nor Loeffler has conceded as of this morning, though both races are past the 0.5% threshold where recounts may be requested.
Pending certification of the results, Congress will have a 50–50 split between parties, though Democrats will have a slim majority with Vice President-elect Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) acting as a tiebreaker.
Kim Admits Failures
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un kicked off the country’s Workers’ Party Congress meeting earlier this week with a rare acknowledgment that his economic development plans over the past five years have largely failed. The congress is the party’s top decision-making body in the country and is expected to last several days.
Just the third such gathering since 1980, the meeting is meant to increase public support behind Kim’s leadership and build a new five-year plan to guide the North’s economy. Experts say North Korea is suffering from a severe economic crisis, driven by US-led sanctions and pandemic-induced border closings with its main trade partner China. The country also dealt with a series of natural disasters that devastated crop supplies last summer.
North Korea has not reported a single COVID-19 case — a widely disputed claim — though photos of the event showed none of the 7,000 party members in attendance wearing face masks.
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IN THE KNOW
Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> LeBron James tweets intent to purchase WNBA’s Atlanta Dream franchise currently co-owned by Sen. Kelly Loeffler (More) | Musician Neil Young sells 50% stake to rights to 1,180 songs for $150M (More)
> Iconic French chef Albert Roux, who played influential role in shaping London’s restaurant scene, dies at 85 (More)
> Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the presumed №1 overall pick, declares for the 2021 NFL Draft (More)
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Science & Technology
> The rate of allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine is reported to be around 5.5 per 1 million recipients (More) | The US has reported a total of 361,279 deaths, including a record 3,865 yesterday, with 21.3 million total cases; see rolling averages (More)
> OpenAI, an open-source artificial intelligence consortium, reveals algorithm that can generate images from text descriptions; researchers say it’s a first step toward AI programs being able to contextualize language (More)
Business & Markets
> US markets rise, with the S&P 500 (+0.6%) and Dow (+1.4%) up to fresh all-time highs, as tech-heavy Nasdaq (-0.6%) slides (More)
> Walgreens to divest its pharmaceutical wholesale unit to AmerisourceBergen for $6.5B (More)
> Amazon to invest $2B to create 20,000 affordable housing units in major US employment hubs (More)
Politics & World Affairs
Brought to you by Ground News
> President-elect Joe Biden to nominate appeals court judge Merrick Garland as attorney general; Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court in March 2016 was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate (More)
> Israel leads in COVID-19 vaccine race, has inoculated an estimated 15% of its population; country reportedly paid a premium to obtain early shipments of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines (More) | The US has administered roughly 5 million doses; see data (More)
> Two detectives involved in the March shooting death of Louisville, Kentucky, native Breonna Taylor fired, including the detective believed to have fired the fatal shot (More)
Want to break free from your echo chamber? There’s an app for that. Ground News is the world’s first news source comparison platform that empowers you to compare how outlets from the left, center, and right are covering any story. Start off 2021 with a balanced news diet and download the Ground News App for free today. #Ad
How to Stop the Next Pandemic
Wired UK | David Cox. Drawing on lessons learned from the still-raging coronavirus pandemic, these projects aim to stop the next global virus before it begins. (Read)
The Lost History of Yellowstone
Smithsonian | Richard Grant. Yellowstone National Park has long held a mythos of being a pristine wilderness, largely untouched by humans. But just under the surface lies a veritable treasure trove of Indigenous artifacts, dating back thousands of years. (Read)
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Expert predictions for 2021.
Check out the solar system’s largest canyon.
Alex Trebek’s final message is a tear jerker.
The year 2021 may finally see pig-to-human transplants.
Thirty of the best Airbnb fails.
Welcome to the world of competitive dog dancing. (via Twitter)
A nostalgic trip through decades of computer ads. (via Instagram)
Doorbell camera captures woman saving neighbors from a home fire.
Clickbait: Insect, tiny chicken, or deepfake — you decide.
Historybook: Galileo Galilei discovers first three Jupiter moons (1610); First US presidential election held (1789); Author Zora Neale Hurston born (1891); RIP Nikola Tesla (1943); HBD Katie Couric (1957).
“One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”
- Nikola Tesla
- Nikola Tesla, Alec Trebek, Donald Trump, Amazon, You Tube, Facebook, Washington DC, Galileo Galilei, HBO, Katie Couric, US Elections, Covid 19 Vaccines, New York City.