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The world is ‘on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure’ by failing to get vaccines to poorer countries, the WHO warns


Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce

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Bidemi Aye receives a pre-paid debit card for cash and food provided by World Food Programme (WFP) in a makeshift home in the Makoko riverine slum settlement in Lagos, Nigeria on November 27, 2020. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images
  • The world was “on the brink of catastrophic moral failure,’ over vaccine distribution, the head of the World Health Organization said Monday.
  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries.
  • “A me-first approach leaves the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at risk, it’s also self-defeating,” Ghebreyesus said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The world is “on the brink of catastrophic moral failure” by failing to give vaccines to poorer countries, the head of the World Health Organization said Monday.

“It is not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general at the WHO, said during an executive board session.

Governments naturally want to prioritize their own health workers and older people — but they need to come together to prioritize those most at risk of severe diseases and death around the world, he said. 

“More than 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries, but just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country,” Tedros said. 

A “me-first approach” was “self-defeating”, ultimately prolonging the pandemic, as well as the restrictions needed to contain it and both the human and economic suffering, he said.

Research from Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center predicted that it could take years to roll out vaccines in poorer countries due to vaccine cost and availability, as well as a lack of infrastructure to transport, store, and distribute the shots.

Tedros said that countries and companies had promised equitable access by signing up to COVAX, a voluntary scheme to ensure vaccine distribution worldwide launched. COVAX was launched by the WHO, Gavi vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

But certain countries and companies have gone around COVAX, he said, putting themselves first and in doing so driving up prices.

Manufacturers had also prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries where profits are highest, he added. 

He did not name any specific countries or companies.

He urged countries that had circumnavigated COVAX – and that have control of supply – to be transparent about their contracts, and share any excess vaccines.

“My challenge to all member states is to ensure that by […] April 7, COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in every country, as a symbol of hope for overcoming both the pandemic and the inequalities that lie at the root of so many global health challenges,” he said.

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Insurrection marks moment of reckoning for Republicans

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1 of 4Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., left, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, right, speak after Republicans objected to certifying the Electoral College votes from Arizona, during a joint session of the House and Senate to confirm the electoral votes cast in November’s election, at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was both stunning and predictable, the result of a Republican Party that has repeatedly enabled President Donald Trump’s destructive behavior.

When Trump was a presidential candidate in 2016, Republican officials ignored his call to supporters to “knock the crap out” of protesters. Less than a year after he took office, GOP leaders argued he was taken out of context when he said there were “very fine people” on both sides of a deadly white supremacist rally.

And last summer, most party leaders looked the other way when Trump had hundreds of peaceful protesters forcibly removed from a demonstration near the White House so he could pose with a Bible in front of a church.

But the violent siege on Capitol Hill offers a new, and perhaps final, moment of reckoning for the GOP. The party’s usual excuses for Trump — he’s not a typical politician and is uninterested in hewing to Washington’s niceties — fell short against images of mobs occupying some of American democracy’s most sacred spaces.

The party, which has been defined over the past four years by its loyalty to Trump, began recalibrating in the aftermath of Wednesday’s chaos.

One of his closest allies in Congress, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said “enough is enough.”

Another South Carolina Republican, Rep. Nancy Mace, said Trump’s accomplishments in office “were wiped out today.”

At least one senior White House staffer resigned, and more resignations were possible as the weight of the day’s events settled in.

But for the party to move forward, it will need to grapple with the reality that Trump in fact lost to President-elect Joe Biden by more than 7 million votes and a 306-232 margin in the Electoral College, a result Congress certified early Thursday when it finished accepting all the electoral votes.

Trump himself acknowledged his term was coming to a close but not that he had actually lost. “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” he said in a statement minutes after Congress certified the vote. “I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

Former Republican President George W. Bush described the violent mob as “a sickening and heartbreaking sight.” He declined to call out Trump or his allies, but the implication was clear when Bush said the siege “was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.”

Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a top House Republican and the daughter of Bush’s vice president, was much more direct in an interview on Fox News.

“There’s no question the president formed the mob. The president incited the mob,” Cheney said. “He lit the flame.”

While their criticism was searing, Bush and Cheney were already among a smaller group of Republican officials willing to condemn Trump’s most outrageous behavior at times. The overwhelming majority of the GOP has been far more reserved, eager to keep Trump’s fiery base on their side.ADVERTISEMENT

Still, Trump’s grip on his party appeared somewhat weakened when members of Congress returned to the Capitol Wednesday night, having spent several hours hiding in secure locations after being evacuated. Before they left, a handful of Republican senators and more than 100 Republican House members were set to oppose the vote to certify Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

It was a move led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, each with his own 2024 presidential ambitions, over the objection of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who warned that that U.S. democracy “would enter a death spiral” if Congress rejected state election results.

When they resumed debate, however, much of the energy behind the extraordinary push had fizzled. Several Republicans dropped their objections altogether. Hawley and Cruz did not, but they offered scaled-back arguments.

Hawley condemned the day’s violence but also called for an investigation into “irregularities and fraud.” Earlier in the day, his hometown newspaper, The Kansas City Star, released an editorial charging that Hawley “has blood on his hands” for enabling Trump’s false claims.

Other Republicans were clearly more concerned about the day’s violence and the events that preceded them.

“Dear MAGA- I am one of you,” former White House aide Alyssa Farah tweeted. “But I need you to hear me: the Election was NOT stolen. We lost.”

Jefferson Thomas, who led Trump’s campaign in Colorado, expressed some regret about joining Trump’s team in the first place, calling Wednesday’s events “an embarrassment to our country.”

“This isn’t what I ever imagined when I signed up to #MAGA. Had I known then that this is how it would end, I never would’ve joined,” he wrote on Twitter.

And while there were obvious cracks in Trump’s grip on the Republican Party, his fiercest detractors came from a familiar pool of frequent critics.

Trump’s former secretary of defense, James Mattis, who denounced the president as a threat to the Constitution last year, described the violent assault on the Capitol as “an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump.”

“His use of the presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo-political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice,” Mattis charged.

Anthony Scaramucci, a former Trump, often has harsh words for Trump but offered his harshest on Wednesday for Trump’s Republican enablers.

“Republican elected officials still supporting Trump need to be tried alongside of him for treason,” he tweeted.


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Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina contributed to this report.

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Biden win confirmed after pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol

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Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certification of Electoral College votes cast in November’s presidential election during a joint session of Congress after working through the night, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Wednesday, disrupting the process. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress confirmed Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential election winner early Thursday after a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Trump in the White House.

Lawmakers were resolved to complete the Electoral College tally in a display to the country, and the world, of the nation’s enduring commitment to uphold the will of the voters and the peaceful transfer of power. They pushed through the night with tensions high and the nation’s capital on alert.

Before dawn Thursday, lawmakers finished their work, confirming Biden won the election.

Vice President Mike Pence, presiding over the joint session, announced the tally, 306-232.MORE ON THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Trump, who had repeatedly refused to concede the election, said in a statement immediately after the vote that there will be a smooth transition of power on Inauguration Day.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement posted to Twitter by an aide.

The Capitol was under siege Wednesday, as the nation’s elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and don gas masks while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol, and Washington’s mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence.

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The rioters were egged on by Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to descend on Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s victory. Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob.

Together, the protests and the GOP election objections amounted to an almost unthinkable challenge to American democracy and exposed the depths of the divisions that have coursed through the country during Trump’s four years in office. Though the efforts to block Biden from being sworn in on Jan. 20 were sure to fail, the support Trump has received for his efforts to overturn the election results have badly strained the nation’s democratic guardrails.

Congress reconvened in the evening, with lawmakers decrying the protests that defaced the Capitol and vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College vote for Biden’s election, even if it took all night.

Pence reopened the Senate and directly addressed the demonstrators: “You did not win.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the “failed insurrection” underscored lawmakers’ duty to finish the count. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress would show the world “what America is made of” with the outcome.

The president gave his supporters a boost into action Wednesday morning at a rally outside the White House, where he urged them to march to the Capitol. He spent much of the afternoon in his private dining room off the Oval Office watching scenes of the violence on television. At the urging of his staff, he reluctantly issued a pair of tweets and a taped video telling his supporters it was time to “go home in peace” — yet he still said he backed their cause.

Hours later, Twitter for the first time time-locked Trump’s account, demanded that he remove tweets excusing violence, and threatened “permanent suspension.”

A somber President-elect Biden, two weeks away from being inaugurated, said American democracy was “under unprecedented assault, ” a sentiment echoed by many in Congress, including some Republicans. Former President George W. Bush said he watched the events in “disbelief and dismay.”

The domed Capitol building has for centuries been the scene of protests and occasional violence. But Wednesday’s events were particularly astounding both because they unfolded at least initially with the implicit blessing of the president and because of the underlying goal of overturning the results of a free and fair presidential election.

Tensions were already running high when lawmakers gathered early Wednesday afternoon for the constitutionally mandated counting of the Electoral College results, in which Biden defeated Trump, 306-232. Despite pleas from McConnell, more than 150 GOP lawmakers planned to support objections to some of the results, though lacking evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.

Trump spent the lead-up to the proceedings publicly hectoring Pence, who had a largely ceremonial role, to aid the effort to throw out the results. He tweeted, “Do it, Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”

But Pence, in a statement shortly before presiding, defied Trump, saying he could not claim “unilateral authority” to reject the electoral votes that make Biden president.

In the aftermath of the siege, several Republicans announced they would drop their objections to the election, including Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who lost her bid for reelection Tuesday.

Earlier, protesters had fought past police and breached the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags as they marched through the halls, many without masks during the COVID-19 crisis. Lawmakers were told to duck under their seats for cover and put on gas masks after tear gas was used in the Capitol Rotunda. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.

Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., told reporters he was in the House chamber when rioters began storming it. Security officers “made us all get down, you could see that they were fending off some sort of assault.”

He said they had a piece of furniture up against the door. “And they had guns pulled,” Peters said. Glass panes to a House door were shattered.

The woman who was killed was part of a crowd that was breaking down the doors to a barricaded room where armed officers stood on the other side, police said. She was shot in the chest by Capitol Police and taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. City police said three other people died from medical emergencies during the long protest on and around the Capitol grounds.

Staff members grabbed boxes of Electoral College votes as the evacuation took place. Otherwise, said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the ballots likely would have been destroyed by the protesters.

The mob’s storming of Congress prompted outrage, mostly from Democrats but from Republicans as well, as lawmakers accused Trump of fomenting the violence with his relentless falsehoods about election fraud.

“Count me out,” said Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “Enough is enough.”

Several suggested that Trump be prosecuted for a crime or even removed under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which seemed unlikely two weeks from when his term expires.

“I think Donald Trump probably should be brought up on treason for something like this,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., told reporters. “This is how a coup is started. And this is how democracy dies.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who has at times clashed with Trump, issued a statement saying: “Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”

Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.

Punctuating their resolve, both the House and Senate soundly rejected an objection to election results from Arizona, which had been raised by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and another from Pennsylvania brought by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. Still, most House Republicans supported the objections. Other objections to results from Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin fizzled.

The Pentagon said about 1,100 District of Columbia National Guard members were being mobilized to help support law enforcement at the Capitol. Dozens of people were arrested.


Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller, Kevin Freking, Alan Fram, Matthew Daly, Ben Fox, and Ashraf Khalil in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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Live Updates: Trump’s Allies Will Make Last Stand in Congress

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Jan. 6, 2021, 1:31 p.m.

The Presidential Transition

Vice President Mike Pence told President Trump that he did not believe he had the power to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Congress today.


Here’s what you need to know:

Watch live: The House and Senate have broken into separate sessions to debate the first objection to Biden’s victory.Video Congress holds a joint session to record the votes of the Electoral College and confirm the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Get email alerts with live updates about the U.S. presidential transition.

Republicans objected to Arizona’s electors, forcing the first challenge to Biden’s victory.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, led the objection to the Electoral College’s results in Arizona.
Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, led the objection to the Electoral College’s results in Arizona. Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

A group of congressional Republicans led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas objected early Wednesday afternoon to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College win in Arizona, lodging the first of several extraordinary challenges to its outcome and forcing a two-hour debate in the House and Senate over President Trump’s reckless election fraud claims.

“I rise for myself and 60 of my colleges to object to the count of the electoral ballots from Arizona,” said Representative Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona. His objection was met with widespread applause by Republicans gathered on the floor of the House of Representatives for the joint session.

Bipartisan majorities in each chamber were prepared to turn back that challenge and others and formalize Mr. Biden’s victory. But the marathon session promised to be a volatile final act of the Trump presidency, with Mr. Trump — unwilling to cede the limelight or his fantasy of victory — transforming a moment of Democratic triumph into a day of defiance by summoning supporters to his backyard for an airing of grievances.

By using the proceeding as a forum for trying to subvert a democratic election, Mr. Trump and his allies are going where no party has since the Reconstruction era of the 19th century when Congress bargained over the presidency. The effort had already badly divided the Republican Party, forcing lawmakers to go on the record either siding with the president or upholding the results of a democratic election.

The objection to Arizona was the first of at least three expected during Wednesday’s session. Republicans were also eyeing Georgia and Pennsylvania, battleground states Mr. Biden won, for likely objections.

Lawmakers anticipated possible objections for up to three additional states — Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin — although it was not clear whether they would draw the requisite backing from a member of both the House and the Senate to be considered.

Mr. Cruz, a possible 2024 presidential contender, and his allies in the Senate have said he is merely trying to draw attention to the need for an electoral commission to audit the results. But by objecting, he joined ranks with a group of dozens of House Republicans backing Mr. Trump’s attempt to toss out the will of the voters to deliver him a second term in office.

Even before it began, the session was already driving sharp wedges into the Republican Party that threatened to do lasting damage to its cohesion, as lawmakers decided to cast their lot with Mr. Trump or the Constitution. Top party leaders in the House and Senate appeared to be headed for a high-profile split. And while only a dozen or so senators were expected to vote to reject the outcome in key states, as many as 70 percent of House Republicans could join the effort, stoking the dangerous belief of tens of millions of voters that Mr. Biden was elected illegitimately.

Despite a remarkable pressure campaign by Mr. Trump to unilaterally throw out states that supported Mr. Biden, Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding as the president of the Senate, said just before the session began that he did not believe doing so was constitutional and would exercise his duties as his predecessors had. The outcome, after for years of loyal support for the president, risked his political standing in a party Mr. Trump still dominates.

“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” he wrote in a letter.

Congress’s counting process began at 1 p.m. and the session had already accepted results from Alabama and Alaska before the objection to Arizona was lodged. A member of the House and Senate must agree for any objection to having force.

Nicholas Fandos

Watch live: The House and Senate have broken into separate sessions to debate the first objection to Biden’s victory.

Video After a joint session of Congress is suspended, the House will return to its chamber to vote on an objection to certifying President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. Electoral College victor. Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times


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Pence rejects Trump’s pressure to block certification saying he ‘loves the Constitution.’

Vice President Mike Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress.
Vice President Mike Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress. Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday afternoon rejected President Trump’s pressure to block congressional certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the presidential election, claiming that he lacked the “unilateral authority” to decide the outcome of the presidential election.

“As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reverse its Framers,” Mr. Pence wrote in a two-page letter, “I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the vice president with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no vice president in American history has ever asserted such authority.”

The letter was released by the White House as Mr. Trump was speaking to a group of supporters at the Ellipse, where over and over he implored Mr. Pence to have “the courage to do what he has to do.”

Mr. Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress.

But Mr. Trump, listening to the advice of allies like Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, has been convinced that the vice president could do his bidding. “If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday, claiming inaccurately that the vice president has the “the absolute right to” throw out the election results.

Mr. Pence’s defiance — the first in his four years as a differential no. 2 — created a remarkable and uncomfortable split-screen, as the president continued the public pressure campaign even as Mr. Pence arrived at the Capitol to preside over a joint session of Congress where the Electoral College vote will be certified.

On Tuesday night, after The New York Times reported that the vice president in a private meeting had informed Mr. Trump he did not have the authority to change the results of the election, Mr. Trump released a statement disputing the story. “He never said that,” the statement said. “The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the vice president has the power to act.”

The vice president’s advisers have been eager to find some middle ground where Mr. Pence could appease Mr. Trump.

On Wednesday, Kelli Ward, who chairs the Arizona Republican Party, also joined a group of far-right Republicans that petitioned the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to grant Mr. Pence the authority to reject some state electors, after lower courts rejected the request. One of the attorneys who write the petition is Sidney Powell, a longtime member of Mr. Trump’s legal team.

Annie Karni

Trump, speaking to protesters, declares ‘we will never concede.’

“We will never concede,” President Trump said at a rally in front of the White House on Wednesday.
“We will never concede,” President Trump said at a rally in front of the White House on Wednesday. Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

President Trump pressured Vice President Mike Pence to illegally throw the 2020 election his way, excoriated Republicans, the news media, Democrats, and the U.S. electoral process in a speech before a crowd of supporters on the National Mall on Wednesday.

“We will never concede,” said Mr. Trump at a rally aimed at protesting the results of the election, in which President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. got more than seven million votes more than Mr. Trump did and received 306 electoral votes.

The rally began on an off-note when Mr. Trump started talking but his microphone wasn’t working. People in the crowd shouted that they couldn’t hear him until the microphone suddenly came to life as Mr. Trump was midway through his first of many complaints about the news media.

From there, he went on to describe nearly everything and anyone he sees as critical of him as “corrupt” in one way or another.

Mr. Trump began speaking almost exactly an hour before the start of a joint session of Congress, during which the Electoral College votes are to be certified. Mr. Pence’s Constitutionally-mandated obligation is to oversee the proceedings in a ministerial role.

“I hope Mike is going to do the right thing,” Mr. Trump said. “I hope so, I hope so, because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.” He added, “one of the top constitutional lawyers in our country,” told him Mr. Pence has “the absolute right to” throw out the election results

But he does not have the power to toss the results or alter them, despite Mr. Trump’s repeated insistence that he does. The president maintained he would be following the Constitution if he sent the results back to the states to be recertified.

In fact, there is no precedent for what Mr. Trump is demanding and Mr. Pence has made clear to the president he does not have the ability to do so, according to people briefed on their conversations.

“Mike Pence has to agree to send it back,” Mr. Trump told the crowd, prompting chants. Later, he conceded he would be “very disappointed” in Mr. Pence if he does not do so.

He insisted the country’s elections are worse than third-world nations, a statement that would be welcomed by authoritarians in countries around the globe.

He addressed the widely-criticized call with Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, which took place on Saturday and a recording of which was made public, in which the president urged Mr. Raffensperger to “find” additional votes to allow Mr. Trump to win the state. “People loved that conversation,” he said.

The Republican governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp? Mr. Trump said he should be voted “out of office, please.”

At one point during the rally, Mr. Trump conceded that the two Republican candidates in the Georgia runoffs on Tuesday, Senator Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, whose Senate term ended Sunday, had lost their races, saying they “didn’t have a shot” as he continued with baseless allegations of electoral fraud and theft.

At other points, he complained that he has no control over the three U.S. Supreme Court justices he appointed. And he complained about the former attorney general, William P. Barr, saying he had liked him, “but he changed, because he didn’t want to be considered my personal attorney.”

He also attacked Representative Liz Cheney, Republican from Wyoming and the party’s third-ranking House leader, who has criticized his efforts to undermine the election, saying she wants to keep U.S. soldiers in foreign countries. “The Liz Cheneys of the world” need to be voted out, he said.

Time and again he returned to the theme that the news media is “the biggest problem we have in this country.” He complained about polls conducted for the Washington Post several months ago, speaking with specifics about the poll he was referring to.

Talking about his inability to get his unvarnished statements into news circulation, Mr. Trump falsely declared, “That’s what happens in a communist country.”

Maggie Haberman

Trump supporters gather in Washington to protest against the certification of Biden’s victory.

Supporters of President Trump demonstrating near the Capitol on Wednesday.
Supporters of President Trump demonstrating near the Capitol on Wednesday. Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Under a dreary winter sky, defiant but downbeat Trump supporters began gathering in downtown Washington on Wednesday morning to celebrate a defeated Republican president who suffered a final humiliation in the Georgia Senate runoffs with one declared Democratic victory and the second race with the Democratic candidate maintaining his lead.

Crowds of supporters holding Trump flags marched down the streets of Washington to the elliptical park just behind the White House, where President Trump was set to speak in the late morning from a large grandstand that had been erected. As Congress prepared to conduct the final count of Electoral College votes, the scene outside the walls of Capitol Hill this week reflected the desperation within a White House resisting the transition of power.

“Some of the people here, maybe they’re willing to say Trump lost if things don’t go the way we want them to today,” said Kevin Malone, 43, who drove from Rome, Ga., through the night with two friends, arriving in D.C. looking like they had not slept. “That’s not us. We can’t lose this country. If the Democrats win, there’s not going to be another fair, legal election in this country. We won’t have a democracy.”

He said he and his friends from Northwest Georgia, now represented by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon-supporter, were on the fence about coming but decided to leave shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday when it “started looking like the Democrats were going to steal another election.”

Some of the more than 300 National Guard troops called up for the week stood in camouflage by white vans on Wednesday morning. Rows of local police were stationed on Black Lives Matter Plaza, in front of Lafayette Square after scuffles broke out Tuesday night between pro-Trump demonstrators and local police who deployed pepper spray to quell the unrest.

Tensions briefly rose at the plaza Wednesday around 10:45 a.m. Eastern as a counter-protester standing near police barricades waved for Trump supporters to move along while shouting, “Goodbye, thanks for visiting!” One man in a group of about a half dozen Trump supporters shouted back “Oh, don’t worry. We’ll be back.”

By Tuesday night, the Metropolitan Police Department recorded arrests of five people on charges of assault and weapons possession, including one person who was charged with assaulting a police officer.

Mr. Trump’s false claims of election fraud and promotion of the rallies on Wednesday have encouraged some of his more staunch allies and supporters to travel the country for Wednesday’s rally. The White House had hoped for 30,000 people but aides feared the turnout may be far smaller.

The Trump faithful tried to stay upbeat.

“We are considering this a day that will change history,” said Kevin Haag, 67, who drove about nine hours from his home in Lake Santeetlah, N.C. on Tuesday to participate in the rally. “We are excited.”

He said the road from North Carolina to Washington was dotted with cars and trucks flying Trump flags and American flags, a sign, he said, that the rally would be well-attended. The lobby of his hotel was filled with rally-goers, including Proud Boys, with “their Kevlar and boots have a whole belt full of tasers and you name it,” he said.

But he was not necessarily optimistic that Mr. Trump or his Republican allies would prevail in their efforts to overturn the election. Instead, Mr. Haag said he was hopeful that he and his friends would get some kind of closure on Wednesday. He had planned to come with a number of people, but some had to work, and others said they were worried about what might happen in Washington. His wife stayed home with a migraine. In the end, there were only three of them that made the trip.

“I think the truth will be made known,” he said. “Even if the truth is, the election went the other way,” he said, meaning if Mr. Trump had lost, “we have to hear that. If it’s over, it’s over.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Sabrina Tavernise and Matthew Rosenberg


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Democrats are ebullient as they appear headed for a Senate takeover.

“For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people.” said Senator Chuck Schumer, who would become majority leader if Jon Ossoff wins.
“For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people.” said Senator Chuck Schumer, who would become majority leader if Jon Ossoff wins. Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Democrats exulted on Wednesday morning as they appeared poised to wrest control of the Senate, a feat that would hand them unified control of Congress — albeit by razor-thin margins — as well as the White House.

With the Rev. Raphael Warnock victorious and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff leading in a pair of runoff elections in Georgia, the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, proclaimed on Twitter: “Buckle up!”

“We sure did not take the most direct path to get here, but here we are,” Mr. Schumer said at a celebratory news conference in the Capitol. “For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people.”

Should Mr. Ossoff’s lead over David Perdue hold, twin victories in Georgia would give Democrats 50 seats in the Senate and leave Republicans with the same number, handing Democrats a working majority because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be empowered to break ties?

Mr. Schumer told reporters that he had already spoken to Mr. Biden and Congress’s first order of business would be to approve $2,000 direct payments to sent to Americans struggling in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. But he declined to clarify whether Democrats would approve just the checks or seek a large package including other priorities like state and local aid or increased unemployment insurance.

On a conference call with Democrats, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, played the Ray Charles hit “Georgia on My Mind” for ebullient colleagues as they contemplated what their newfound power on the other side of the Capitol would mean as Joseph R. Biden Jr. assumes the presidency.

“We will pursue a science and values-based plan to crush the virus and deliver relief to struggling families, safeguard the right to quality affordable health care and launch a plan to build back better powered by fair economic growth,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

The Georgia victories would be a strong rebuke of President Trump, under whose leadership Republicans lost control of the House, the White House, and now the Senate.

“It turns out that telling the voters that the election is rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters,” Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah and his party’s former nominee for president, told reporters in the Capitol. “President Trump has disrespected the American voters, has dishonored the election system, and has disgraced the office of the presidency.”

Some of the Democrats’ most ambitious priorities could be blocked, however, by the legislative filibuster, which sets a 60-vote threshold for any major initiative. Mr. Schumer batted away questions about a push from the party’s left flank to change the rules to essentially kill the filibuster by lowering the threshold to a simple majority.

“We are united in wanting big, bold change, and we are going to sit down as a caucus and discuss the best ways to get that done,” he said.

Luke Broadwater and Nicholas Fandos

Biden plans to nominate Merrick Garland for attorney general.

Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by Barack Obama in 2016 to fill the position left on the Supreme Court by the death of Antonin Scalia.
Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by Barack Obama in 2016 to fill the position left on the Supreme Court by the death of Antonin Scalia. Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to nominate Judge Merrick Garland, whose Supreme Court nomination Republicans blocked in 2016, to be attorney general, placing the task of repairing a beleaguered Justice Department in the hands of a centrist judge, according to a person familiar with the matter.

If confirmed, Judge Garland, who has sometimes disappointed liberals with his rulings, would inherit a department that grew more politicized under President Trump than at any point since Watergate. Judge Garland will face vexing decisions about civil rights issues that roiled the country this year, whether to investigate Mr. Trump and his administration and how to proceed with a tax investigation into Mr. Biden’s son.

The nomination ended weeks of deliberation by Mr. Biden, who had struggled to make a decision as he considered who to fill for a position that he became convinced would play an outsized role in his presidency. Mr. Biden’s nominations are expected to broadly win confirmation as Democrats appear poised to take control of the Senate.

Mr. Biden, who served as the longtime top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and chaired it from 1987 to 1995, was said by aides to have long weighed what makes a successful attorney general and put pressure on himself to make the right pick. Outside groups also pressed him during the transition to appoint someone who is a minority and would take a far more confrontational position with law enforcement.

Mr. Biden also intends to nominate Lisa Monaco, a former homeland security adviser to President Barack Obama, as deputy attorney general; Vanita Gupta, the head of the department’s civil rights division under Mr. Obama, as the No. 3; and Kristen Clarke, a civil rights lawyer, as assistant attorney general for civil rights, which is expected to be a major focus of the department under Mr. Biden.

Judge Garland was initially considered a long shot for attorney general, in part because he is seen as politically moderate. In close cases involving criminal law, he has been significantly more likely to side with the police and prosecutors over people accused of crimes than other Democratic appointees. He also leaned toward deferring to the government in Guantánamo detainee cases that pit state security powers against individual rights.

Moreover, judges are only occasionally elevated directly to the position. The last was Judge Michael Mukasey of Federal District Court, whom George W. Bush appointed to run the Justice Department in 2007.

Mr. Biden was also said to have considered Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration; Doug Jones, the former Alabama senator; and Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts who briefly ran for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

Michael S. Schmidt, Adam Liptak, and Michael D. Shear

A Democratic takeover of the Senate would redefine Biden’s presidency in dramatic ways.

During the primaries and general election, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. made much of his willingness to cross the aisle to revive the lost art of bipartisan deal-making.
During the primaries and general election, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. made much of his willingness to cross the aisle to revive the lost art of bipartisan deal-making. Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday promoted the Senate runoffs in Georgia as an opportunity “to break the gridlock that has gripped Washington,” and his team was cautiously optimistic about the outcome.

In recent days many on his team had downplayed the idea that they would command a legislative majority in the Senate — out of superstition, several jittery Democratic aides suggested in the days leading up to the election.

But the growing possibility of one-party control has now been hurled on their doorstep.

In the most basic sense, the addition of two Democrats — the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who has won his race, and Jon Ossoff, who is maintaining a lead in his — to the Senate would redefine Mr. Biden’s approach to lawmaking, giving him more power but possibly challenging his preferred approach of broad bipartisan deal-making.

“Biden will say all the public things about how he needs to get Republican support, but the truth is that this fundamentally changes the dynamic,” said David Krone, former chief of staff to former Senator Harry Reid, the last Democratic majority leader. “Democrats now control the floor. So he can bring up all kinds of bills that would have been blocked by the Republicans, and force votes on big bills — like a major infrastructure package — that never would have seen the light of day.”

During the primaries and general election, Mr. Biden and his aides pointed out that he had developed a sturdy, if not overly warm, working partnership with the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell. But a Senate takeover might require a shift in Mr. Biden’s compromising approach in favor of the hard-edge tactics demanded by his party’s ascendant left wing.

Embedded in the Democrats’ jubilation Wednesday was a gnawing sense of urgency.

Many in the party fear a Republican takeover of the House in 2022, and a similar possibility looms in the deadlocked upper chamber. But many in Mr. Biden’s circle believe he has two years to jam through Democratic priorities, starting with his pledge to pass a $2,000 payout to ease the economic hardship of the pandemic.

Controlling the majority offers many new opportunities. The central role of Black voters in Georgia and elsewhere virtually ensures that Mr. Biden will push civil and voting rights reform, one Democratic leadership aide said on condition of anonymity. But it also means he will have to referee fierce disagreements among Democratic factions that have already begun feuding in the House over the Green New Deal and expansion of health care.

Then there’s Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

While all eyes were on the twilight machinations of Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday, his replacement will have significantly more power.

She will play a decisive role in the 50-50 Senate on party-line votes, exercising real legislative power and positioning her as Mr. Biden’s visible partner and natural successor, especially if he chooses not to run for re-election in 2024.

Glenn Thrush


Continue reading the main story

And then there was one: Georgia Senate race between Ossoff and Perdue remains too close to call.

Jon Ossoff on Wednesday declared himself the winner of his Senate runoff election in Georgia. The Associated Press has not yet called the race.
Jon Ossoff on Wednesday declared himself the winner of his Senate runoff election in Georgia. The Associated Press has not yet called the race. Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

While Democrats celebrated the election of the Rev. Raphael Warnock to the Senate, Georgia’s second Senate runoff race — which will determine which party will control the Senate — remained too close to call on Wednesday. The Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, was leading his Republican challenger, David Perdue, by thousands of votes with thousands more that still need to be counted, many of them from Democratic-leaning areas.

After trading leads earlier in the evening, Mr. Ossoff pulled ahead of Mr. Perdue overnight, but by just 0.4 percent — within the range that could trigger a recount. By 4 a.m. Wednesday, an estimated 98 percent of votes had been counted. Georgia elections officials said they expected to complete the count by noon on Wednesday.

Even so, Mr. Ossoff, a 33-year-old documentary film executive, declared himself the winner Wednesday morning in a video posted on Twitter. The Associated Press has not yet called the race. The news organisation called Mr. Warnock’s victory over the Republican incumbent, Kelly Loeffler, early Wednesday.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday congratulated Mr. Warnock and said he was hopeful that Mr. Ossoff would prevail when the vote count is complete.

“Georgia’s voters delivered a resounding message yesterday: They want action on the crises we face and they want it right now,” Mr. Biden said in a statement released Wednesday morning. “I congratulate the people of Georgia, who turned out in record numbers once again, just as they did in November.”

By Wednesday morning, the largest bloc of uncounted ballots in the state was the in-person vote in DeKalb County, a heavily Democratic area that includes part of Atlanta.

Mr. Ossoff’s campaign manager Ellen Foster said in a statement on Wednesday that she expected Mr. Ossoff to win. “The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon’s performance has been dominant,” she said.

Mr. Perdue’s campaign officials said in an early Wednesday statement that the race was “exceptionally close,” but said they believed Mr. Perdue would win and would use“every available resource and exhaust every recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted.”

It could be some time before there is a call in the race, with thousands of late absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted. Under Georgia law, a candidate can request a recount if the margin of victory is less than half a percentage point.

Democrats benefited from a strong turnout among Black voters. According to data compiled by, Black voters made up a larger share of early voters for the runoff — nearly 31 percent — than they did in the general election when it was closer to 28 percent.

Mr. Warnock, who is the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the spiritual home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was the first Black Democrat elected to the Senate from the South. He and Mr. Ossoff ran in tandem throughout the runoffs.

Mr. Perdue, the former chief executive of Dollar General, and Ms. Loeffler, who was appointed to the Senate a year ago and was seeking a full term, had cast the race as a necessary check on Democratic power in Washington in 2021, though these efforts have been complicated by President Trump’s continued insistence, without evidence, that he won re-election.

Eileen Sullivan

You think this is chaos? The 1876 election was worse.

The inauguration of President Rutherford B. Hayes at the Capitol in Washington in 1877.
The inauguration of President Rutherford B. Hayes at the Capitol in Washington in 1877. Credit…Associated Press

A few days before the inauguration, no one knew who would actually take the oath of office as president of the United States. There were cries of fraud and chicanery as a divided, surly nation continued to debate the winner of the election many weeks after the ballots had been cast.

The election of 1876 was the most disputed in American history and in some ways among the most consequential. As Congress convenes on Wednesday to formalize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory and dispense with Republican objections, many on Capitol Hill and beyond have been looking to the showdown nearly a century and a half ago for clues on how to resolve the latest clash for power.

The players in that drama have faded into obscurity. Few today remember the story of Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican who ultimately prevailed and served four years as a tainted President. Fewer still can name his Democratic opponent, Samuel Tilden, who lost the White House despite garnering more votes. But the system that will govern the debate on Wednesday was fashioned from that episode, and the standards that were set then are now cited as arguments in the effort to overturn President Trump’s defeat.

Allies of Mr. Trump, led by Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, have latched onto the resolution of the 1876 dispute as a model, proposing that Congress once again create a 15-member commission to decide the validity of various states’ electors. “We should follow that precedent,” Mr. Cruz and 10 other new or returning Republican senators wrote in a joint statement over the weekend.

But there are also profound differences between that battle and this one. For one, the candidate claiming to be aggrieved this time, Mr. Trump, is the incumbent president with the power of the federal government at his disposal. For another, Mr. Trump’s claims of fraud have proved baseless, universally rejected by Republican and Democratic state election authorities, judges across the ideological spectrum, and even by his own attorney general.

Still, Hayes, who was called “His Fraudulency” and “Rutherfraud B. Hayes,” never shed the stigma and did not seek another term. Congress, for its part, resolved never to go through that ordeal again. In 1887, it passed a law setting out the procedures for counting electors, rules that have proved durable ever since. On Wednesday, they will be tested as never before.

Peter Baker

Biden will outline his economic priorities as Congress moves to certify his win.

President-elect Biden speaking in November. He is expected to discuss several of his economic priorities on Wednesday.
President-elect Biden speaking in November. He is expected to discuss several of his economic priorities on Wednesday. Credit…Joshua Roberts/Reuters

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is set to deliver a speech on the economy on Wednesday afternoon, remarks that could take on greater significance given the chance that the Senate will soon be controlled by Democrats.

Mr. Biden’s speech is expected to emphasize several of his economic priorities, including reiterating his call for another round of financial aid to help people, businesses and state and local governments weather ongoing economic pain from the virus. Mr. Biden is also expected to touch on his “Build Back Better” agenda, including new government spending on clean energy, infrastructure, health care, and education.

His remarks will focus in particular on small businesses, particularly those run by Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native Americans, “who need additional resources to reopen and rebuild,” a transition spokesman said.

Mr. Biden’s speech will take place at a critical moment, as Congress moves ahead to certify the results of the 2020 vote and as a pair of Senate elections in Georgia appear headed for a Democratic win.

The president-elect’s ability to push through many of the programs and policies he campaigned on appeared more likely on Wednesday, as Democrats edged closer to gaining two Senate seats after Tuesday’s runoff election in Georgia. The Rev. Raphael Warnock was declared the winner of one seat, defeating Republican Kelly Loeffler, and Jon Ossoff, another Democrat, was leading the race against David Perdue.

If Democrats win both seats, it would give Mr. Biden’s party control of an evenly divided chamber, greatly affecting his ability to fulfill his agenda.

“Georgia’s voters delivered a resounding message yesterday: they want action on the crises we face and they want it right now,” Mr. Biden said in a written statement on Wednesday morning. “On Covid-19, on economic relief, on climate, on racial justice, on voting rights and so much more. They want us to move, but move together.”

“I have long said that the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill passed in December was just a down payment. We need urgent action on what comes next, because the COVID-19 crisis hits red states and blue states alike,” he said.

Jim Tankersley

Continue reading the main story

Watch out for this misinformation when Congress meets to certify the election.

An audit of election ballots in Atlanta in mid-November.
An audit of election ballots in Atlanta in mid-November.Credit…Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Leer en español

As Congress meets on Wednesday to certify Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the November election, President Trump and his supporters continue to spread rumors, conspiracy theories and misinformation about the vote.

Here are six false voter fraud claims that may be repeated during the proceedings on Wednesday.

Claim: Dominion Voting Systems, which makes software that local governments around the nation use to help run their elections, deleted votes for President Trump.

Fact: There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, including the machines with Dominion software, according to the federal agency that oversees election security.

Background: In the weeks after the election, President Trump and his supporters spread baseless claims about Dominion. The claims included theories that “software glitches” changed vote tallies in several states, including Michigan and Georgia. No such changes were ever found.

Mr. Trump and his supporters subsequently claimed that Dominion had hidden evidence of voter fraud, both by destroying machines or removing parts within the machines. Mr. Trump repeated those claims during a call with Georgia’s secretary of state last weekend. Gabriel Sterling, a top election official in Georgia, said Monday of the claims of election fraud in the state, “This is all easily, provably false.”

Claim: President Trump and his supporters have claimed that absentee ballots in Georgia were rife with fraud and that state officials have not fully investigated.

Fact: Election officials have audited absentee ballots and found “no fraudulent absentee ballots.”

Background: The Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, ordered law enforcement and election investigators to conduct an audit of more than 15,000 absentee ballot envelopes in Cobb County, based on a complaint that signatures were not adequately checked there. The audit found no fraud. Mr. Raffensperger has said that he also plans a statewide audit of each county’s signature-match policies and procedures.

Georgia has already conducted two recounts, both by hand and machine, of all five million ballots cast in the state. No voting fraud was found.

Claim: In an interview on the conservative cable channel Newsmax in December, the Arizona Republican chairwoman, Kelli Ward, said 200,000 ballots were digitally changed to give the victory to Mr. Biden, and Representative Paul Gosar amplified the falsehood on Twitter.

Fact: Audits in Arizona have found no evidence of voter fraud, or changed vote tallies.

Background: While early results in Arizona showed a close race, the final count revealed that Mr. Biden had won the state by more than 10,000 votes.

Audits in Arizona’s four largest counties, which make up 86 percent of all voters in the state, turned up no evidence of systematic voter fraud.

Claim: President Trump’s supporters have pointed to a video as proof that ballots were pulled from a “suitcase” at a vote-counting center in Atlanta.

Fact: Election officials have said the surveillance video shows a normal ballot processing. It is not unusual practice for poll workers to store ballots that still need to be counted on-site at the polling center.

Background: As reported by The New York Times, late on Nov. 3, election workers in Fulton County, Ga., heard that they would be allowed to stop the vote-counting and retire for the evening. So they packed uncounted ballots into suitcases and prepared to lock up. When word came that they couldn’t leave yet, they dragged the suitcases back out and began counting the ballots again.

But that scene of election workers taking out suitcases of ballots was selectively edited and pushed by allies of President Trump as one of the many false theories purportedly proving widespread election fraud. The conspiracists also named the election worker Ruby Freeman as a specific player in this false conspiracy event.

Claim: President Trump’s campaign has claimed that Pennsylvania election officials improperly handled tens of thousands of mail-in ballots in violation of state election law.

Fact: The Trump campaign’s legal efforts to disqualify votes in Pennsylvania have been unsupported by evidence.

Background: The Trump campaign filed several claims in court seeking to invalidate Pennsylvania’s election results, and one ally of Mr. Trump, Senator Josh Hawley, has said he would challenge the results because he believed “some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws.”

But the Trump campaign has included no evidence that any vote had been cast illegally.

In a hearing on Nov. 17, President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, acknowledged he had no proof to back up his claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. “This is not a fraud case,” Mr. Giuliani said.

Four days later, the judge overseeing the case dismissed the lawsuit. It was also shot down last month by Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who said in a ruling, “Calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

Claim: Vice President Mike Pence can reject state electors in the Electoral College.

Fact: Federal law stipulates that the vice president’s role is to count Electoral College votes, not decide whether they are valid.

Background: President Trump on Tuesday falsely claimed on Twitter that Mr. Pence has the power to reject electors when the Electoral College vote is certified.

As president of the Senate, Mr. Pence is expected to preside over the pro forma certification of the Electoral College vote count in front of a joint session of Congress. The only electoral certifications available for Vice President Pence to preside over are the ones approved by each state.

Ben Decker and Jacob Silver contributed research.

Davey Alba and Sheera Frenkel

Senator Loeffler’s loss makes an awkward backdrop for her starring role in seeking to overturn Trump’s loss.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, lost her Senate seat to the Rev. Raphael Warnock.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, lost her Senate seat to the Rev. Raphael Warnock. Credit…Dustin Chambers for The New York Times

Senator Kelly Loeffler’s stinging loss in Georgia trained increased scrutiny on the prominent role she planned to play on Wednesday in seeking to overturn President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in her home state when Congress meets to formalize his Electoral College win.

Ms. Loeffler had announced on Monday, ahead of a pair of high-stakes Georgia runoffs that will determine Senate control, that she was planning to join the small group of senators lodging objections, and a person familiar with her thinking said Tuesday that she would “likely” focus on Georgia. But with the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, declared the winner by The Associated Press, Ms. Loeffler found herself in an awkward position: a lame-duck senator contemplating a starring role in a politically fraught fight for a president who clearly lost.

Her promise to object may have helped gin up turnout among the president’s loyal supporters in Georgia, but it does little for Ms. Loeffler now that the election has passed. In a speech to supporters late Tuesday night, she did not concede and said she still planned to travel to Washington to contest Mr. Trump’s loss.

“In the morning, in fact, I’m going to be headed to Washington, D.C., to keep fighting,” she said. “We’re going to fight for this president, so I am asking for every single Georgian, every single American: Stay in the fight with us.”

A spokesman for the senator did not respond to questions on Wednesday morning seeking to clarify her position.

Other senators could still join House members to object to Georgia’s electors, but so far, few senators have been willing to raise their hands for a job their own Republican leaders have warned will dangerously divide the party and embarrass the Senate.

If Georgia’s results go unchallenged, it could speed up the counting process by three to four hours.

Nicholas Fandos

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Georgia's Raffensperger says Trump's defeat is the 'cold hard truth,' hints at probe

Georgia’s Raffensperger says Trump’s defeat is the ‘cold hard truth,’ hints at probe

Jan. 5, 2021, 2:41

The Republican secretary of state also said the call from Trump could warrant an investigation into possible conflicts of interest.01:29 /03:07

‘What he said was not factually correct’: Georgia secretary of state on Trump phone call
‘What he said was not factually correct’: Georgia secretary of state on Trump phone call

By Blayne Alexander, Rebecca Shabad, Julia Jester, and Shannon Pettypiece

WASHINGTON — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that he has never thought it was appropriate to speak to President Donald Trump about the 2020 election results and that the conversations Trump has had with him and other elections officials could pose a conflict of interest that warrants investigating.

When asked by NBC News about the phone call he and the president had on Saturday, Raffensperger said he was concerned about talking directly with the president because of a lawsuit Trump is pursuing against the governor and secretary of state.

“He’s coming up short on the election, he won’t be re-elected, and I know that he’s not pleased with how the results went in other states,” Raffensperger told NBC. “I’m very confident in the results we have here in Georgia. And that’s the cold hard truth. in a new tab)

Trump’s call to Georgia secretary of state was filled with false claims

Jan. 4, 202103:13

Ultimately, the call happened after White House staff pushed for it, said Raffensperger. While he said he didn’t personally record the call and doesn’t know who released it, he said he is glad it was made public after Trump’s tweet mischaracterizing the conversation.

“You can’t keep on taking shots from people and people keep putting out stuff that’s not true,” he said. “And we’re gonna respond, we’re going to respond forcefully sometimes with the facts. If people can’t handle the facts, I’m sorry, but those are the facts.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is trumpcircle.focal-760x428.jpg
Full phone call: Trump pressures Georgia Secretary of State to recount election votes
Georgia's Raffensperger says Trump's defeat is the 'cold hard truth,' hints at probe Full phone call: Trump pressures Georgia Secretary of State to recount election votes

Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling, who manages the state’s voting systems, attempted once again to debunk the internet conspiracy theories that Trump raised in his phone call during a press conference Monday where he went through Trump’s claims one by one.

Contrary to claims by Trump and his allies that thousands of votes were cast by felons, dead people, teenagers, or unregistered voters, Sterling said they have found just two possible incidents of people who died before the election casting ballots and 74 potential felons voting. All 76 cases remain under investigation.

“We see nothing in our investigations of any of these data claims that show nearly enough ballots to change the outcome,” Sterling said.

He also debunked a range of other false claims based on misleading videos that have been promoted by Trump’s lawyers accusing Georgia election workers of doctoring the ballot count. He said no ballots were shredded and no Dominion voting machines had parts changed. He said he screamed at his computer when he heard some of Trump’s claims on the call with the secretary of state.

“Again, all of this is easily provably false and yet the president persists and by doing so undermines Georgians faith in the election system, especially Republican Georgians, in this case, which is important because we have a big election coming up tomorrow,” said Sterling, who describes himself as a Republican and voted for Trump in November.

Raffensperger received the call Saturday afternoon after the White House switchboard had made 18 attempts to have him speak with Trump over the two months since the general election, according to a Georgia Republican familiar with the call.

Officials in Raffensperger’s office recorded the call, and he made clear to his advisers that he did not want a transcript or an audio recording released unless Trump attacked Georgia officials or misrepresented the conversation, according to the Georgia Republican. Before the audio leaked, Trump attacked Raffensperger on Twitter, saying that they had a call and that the secretary of state was “unwilling, or unable” to answer his questions, to which Raffensperger responded, “The truth will come out.”

Asked Monday if he felt any pressure when Trump told him to find the votes to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia, Raffensperger told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “No, I, we have to follow the process, follow the law. Everything we’ve done for the last 12 months follows the constitution of the state of Georgia, follows the United States Constitution, follows state law.”

In response to the phone call, whose audio surfaced Sunday, David Worley, a Democratic member of Georgia’s state election board, which Raffensperger chairs, asked him to open an investigation.

Asked if he would do so, Raffenperger said: “I believe that because I had a conversation with the president, also he had a conversation with our chief investigator after we did the signature match audit of Cobb County last week, there may be a conflict of interest, I understand, that the Fulton County district attorney wants to look at. Maybe that’s the appropriate venue for it to go,” Raffensperger said.

Two House Democrats have sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting an investigation into Trump over the call.

As for whether he would vote for Trump again, Raffensperger said he has always supported Republicans and “probably always will,” but that Trump isn’t on the 2024 ballot, “so we’ll just have to wait and see what would happen.”

Blayne Alexander

Blayne Alexander is an NBC News correspondent.

Image: Rebecca Shabad
Rebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.Julia Jester

Rebecca Shabad

Julia Jester is a 2020 campaign embed for NBC News.

Image: Shannon Pettypiece
Shannon Pettypiece

Shannon Pettypiece is the senior White House reporter for

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Three England areas with massive week-on-week Covid infection spikes – see full list

In today’s update of the latest Covid-19 case rates for every local authority area in England, 98% have seen cases rise while three are highlighted as having seen infections more double and even triple

By Ian JonesJoseph Wilkes Reporter – 5 JAN 2021

Three areas in England have seen their coronavirus case rates double and even triple week-on-week.

In the latest case rate figures out today from Public Health England, 98% of England is shown to have seen a rise in case rates.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 310 have seen a rise and just five (2%) have seen a fall.

In today’s update of the latest Covid-19 case rates for every local authority area in England, the rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

The areas recording the biggest week-on-week jumps are Carlisle (up from 349.7 to 932.1 with 1,013 new cases); Rushmoor in Hampshire (up from 657.5 to 1,229.4 with 1,163 new cases); and the Isle of Wight (up from 215.8 to 785.8, with 1,114 new cases).

The percentage testing positive in the community for the new variant in English regions
Do you agree with a third lockdown? Have your say on England’s new Covid rules

Barking & Dagenham in London continues to have

Barking & Dagenham in London continues to have the highest rate in England, with 3,216 new cases recorded in the seven days to January 1 – the equivalent of 1,510.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Scroll through the list below to see where your area ranks in the latest figures

This is up from 976.5 in the seven days to December 25.

Thurrock in Essex has the second-highest rate, up from 1,217.2 to 1,471.8, with 2,566 new cases.

Castle Point, also in Essex, is in third place, where the rate has increased from 1,083.3 to 1,419.6 with 1,283 new cases.

Shoppers on the High Street in Newport, Isle of Wight, as the island begins to be hit as hard as anywhere by the pandemic (Image: PA)
Boris Johnson announces Covid-19 vaccine has been given to 1.3m people in UK

The latest figures come as England begins its third national lockdown as daily recorded coronavirus cases smashing previous records, exceeding 60,000 in today’s release from the Department of Health and exceeding 50,000 eight days in a row.

And today, a further 830 people died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.

With the new mutant coronavirus strain now said to be ripping through areas outside of England’s southeast, the government’s top medical advisor Chris Whitty today warned hospitalisations across England were “rising very rapidly and, of course, we are still in the middle of winter”.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Professor Whitty said there would “inevitably” be an increase in deaths in January.

Aldershot town centre in Rushmoor (Image: Aldershot News and Mail)

He added that one in 50 people being estimated to have coronavirus across the UK in the days following Christmas is “really quite a large number indeed”.

Highlighting recent infection figures, Boris Johnson said: “It was clear that we got to a situation where Tier 4 on its own couldn’t be relied upon to get the virus under control and that’s without really going the whole way and asking people to stay at home and, sadly, to close schools as well.

“That’s why we took the step that we did.”

Here is the list in full.

Carlisle city centre picture in June (Image: Stuart Walker / SWNS)

The figures, for the seven days to January 1, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the Government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).
The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Data for the most recent four days (January 2-5) has been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

The list is based on Public Health England data published on January 5 on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.

The list in full

Here is the list in full. From left to right, it reads: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to January 1; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to January 1; rate of new cases in the seven days to December 25; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to December 25.

Barking and Dagenham, 1510.5, (3216), 976.5, (2079)
Thurrock, 1471.8, (2566), 1217.2, (2122)
Castle Point, 1419.6, (1283), 1083.3, (979)
Redbridge, 1416.0, (4322), 1072.3, (3273)
Epping Forest, 1381.3, (1819), 1297.8, (1709)
Broxbourne, 1355.9, (1319), 1071.1, (1042)
Brentwood, 1352.9, (1042), 1342.5, (1034)
Harlow, 1341.5, (1168), 949.8, (827)
Newham, 1290.7, (4558), 913.8, (3227)
Havering, 1247.9, (3239), 1111.9, (2886)
Rushmoor, 1229.4, (1163), 657.5, (622)
Dartford, 1215.7, (1369), 895.2, (1008)
Gravesham, 1198.8, (1282), 883.7, (945)
Enfield, 1197.1, (3996), 970.4, (3239)
Bexley, 1197.0, (2972), 1025.8, (2547)
Basildon, 1192.8, (2233), 985.0, (1844)
Tower Hamlets, 1166.5, (3788), 935.2, (3037)
Southend-on-Sea, 1136.4, (2081), 974.2, (1784)
Braintree, 1124.5, (1716), 780.5, (1191)
Medway, 1106.1, (3081), 862.3, (2402)
Waltham Forest, 1105.1, (3061), 874.1, (2421)
Sutton, 1090.9, (2251), 748.7, (1545)
Bromley, 1089.0, (3619), 843.1, (2802)
Hounslow, 1086.1, (2949), 713.4, (1937)
Rochford, 1072.5, (937), 948.9, (829)
Chelmsford, 1058.4, (1888), 811.7, (1448)
Greenwich, 1026.6, (2956), 711.9, (2050)
Merton, 1024.5, (2116), 777.5, (1606)
Hertsmere, 1021.7, (1072), 896.9, (941)
Haringey, 1012.1, (2719), 805.5, (2164)
Slough, 1011.8, (1513), 654.0, (978)
South Bucks, 1008.0, (706), 673.9, (472)
Croydon, 1006.7, (3893), 787.4, (3045)
Barnet, 1001.8, (3966), 746.7, (2956)
Watford, 995.1, (961), 793.1, (766)
Maldon, 985.7, (640), 670.0, (435)
Brent, 977.3, (3223), 646.5, (2132)
Hillingdon, 954.1, (2928), 755.4, (2318)
Three Rivers, 951.5, (888), 794.0, (741)
Harrow, 942.4, (2367), 731.0, (1836)
Lewisham, 935.1, (2860), 706.6, (2161)
Carlisle, 932.1, (1013), 349.7, (380)
Milton Keynes, 923.3, (2488), 782.7, (2109)
Crawley, 914.5, (1028), 470.6, (529)
Ealing, 906.9, (3100), 628.4, (2148)
Spelthorne, 890.4, (889), 640.0, (639)
Southwark, 880.4, (2807), 688.5, (2195)
Hackney and City of London, 878.8, (2556), 760.9, (2213)
Hastings, 860.1, (797), 941.1, (872)
Uttlesford, 852.3, (778), 539.0, (492)
Lambeth, 840.4, (2740), 701.5, (2287)
Bracknell Forest, 839.7, (1029), 536.1, (657)
Epsom and Ewell, 835.9, (674), 626.3, (505)
Tendring, 835.8, (1225), 345.2, (506)
Kingston upon Thames, 833.2, (1479), 596.6, (1059)
Maidstone, 831.7, (1429), 679.8, (1168)
Reigate and Banstead, 824.9, (1227), 521.7, (776)
Tandridge, 822.7, (725), 625.2, (551)
Ashford, 822.1, (1069), 742.9, (966)
Bedford, 815.4, (1413), 612.3, (1061)
Colchester, 815.1, (1587), 363.1, (707)
Surrey Heath, 808.5, (722), 491.6, (439)
Stevenage, 808.2, (710), 512.3, (450)
Welwyn Hatfield, 786.7, (968), 489.3, (602)
Isle of Wight, 785.8, (1114), 215.8, (306)
Swale, 784.9, (1178), 665.6, (999)
Sevenoaks, 781.0, (943), 667.5, (806)
Folkestone and Hythe, 777.0, (878), 620.4, (701)
Burnley, 773.7, (688), 478.0, (425)
Wolverhampton, 772.3, (2034), 419.6, (1105)
Eastbourne, 772.1, (801), 473.3, (491)
Elmbridge, 769.8, (1053), 592.9, (811)
Tonbridge and Malling, 762.8, (1008), 616.7, (815)
Wandsworth, 760.4, (2507), 688.9, (2271)
Cherwell, 756.1, (1138), 431.9, (650)
Islington, 751.4, (1822), 604.6, (1466)
Hartlepool, 749.5, (702), 388.6, (364)
St Albans, 745.7, (1107), 541.6, (804)
Woking, 740.1, (746), 518.9, (523)
Hart, 724.2, (703), 309.0, (300)
East Hertfordshire, 723.2, (1083), 542.2, (812)
Hammersmith and Fulham, 721.1, (1335), 593.1, (1098)
Arun, 715.4, (1150), 305.4, (491)
Windsor and Maidenhead, 715.2, (1083), 493.3, (747)
Luton, 708.7, (1510), 498.0, (1061)
Halton, 694.7, (899), 200.1, (259)
Northampton, 693.6, (1558), 370.9, (833)
Dacorum, 691.4, (1070), 511.1, (791)
Eden, 681.7, (363), 460.1, (245)
Sandwell, 678.9, (2230), 343.4, (1128)
Waverley, 676.8, (855), 331.7, (419)
Rother, 674.4, (648), 625.5, (601)
Havant, 666.3, (841), 456.3, (576)
Thanet, 661.6, (939), 489.0, (694)
Wycombe, 660.2, (1153), 448.9, (784)
Richmond upon Thames, 656.0, (1299), 597.9, (1184)
Runnymede, 652.0, (583), 437.2, (391)
Camden, 640.3, (1729), 489.6, (1322)
Wealden, 637.3, (1029), 398.8, (644)
Lewes, 632.3, (653), 397.0, (410)
Brighton and Hove, 628.1, (1827), 314.2, (914)
Central Bedfordshire, 625.0, (1804), 468.4, (1352)
Kensington and Chelsea, 621.3, (970), 486.1, (759)
Worthing, 619.5, (685), 261.4, (289)
Walsall, 619.3, (1768), 301.6, (861)
Portsmouth, 617.9, (1328), 420.2, (903)
Aylesbury Vale, 617.7, (1232), 507.9, (1013)
Southampton, 613.0, (1548), 319.6, (807)
Wirral, 606.5, (1965), 213.9, (693)
Pendle, 603.6, (556), 393.0, (362)
Knowsley, 597.2, (901), 184.9, (279)
Reading, 595.3, (963), 436.4, (706)
Blackburn with Darwen, 593.2, (888), 328.0, (491)
Mid Sussex, 592.6, (895), 354.9, (536)
Corby, 588.5, (425), 203.6, (147)
Ipswich, 585.8, (802), 278.3, (381)
Guildford, 581.9, (867), 416.1, (620)
Adur, 581.6, (374), 332.8, (214)
Wokingham, 575.6, (985), 401.5, (687)
Warrington, 569.5, (1196), 254.3, (534)
Babergh, 566.1, (521), 334.7, (308)
Birmingham, 560.5, (6400), 319.8, (3651)
Dudley, 560.3, (1802), 288.6, (928)
Mole Valley, 559.3, (488), 408.0, (356)
South Northamptonshire, 558.8, (528), 358.8, (339)
Dover, 556.2, (657), 545.2, (644)
South Staffordshire, 553.2, (622), 287.3, (323)
Ribble Valley, 551.8, (336), 321.9, (196)
Great Yarmouth, 551.7, (548), 213.4, (212)
Westminster, 549.9, (1437), 487.9, (1275)
Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole, 547.9, (2166), 217.3, (859)
South Oxfordshire, 538.5, (765), 300.6, (427)
Canterbury, 535.1, (885), 529.6, (876)
East Staffordshire, 532.8, (638), 323.2, (387)
Horsham, 531.3, (764), 241.3, (347)
Ashfield, 530.0, (678), 251.7, (322)
Chiltern, 527.5, (506), 370.1, (355)
Sefton, 524.9, (1451), 178.4, (493)
Swindon, 523.4, (1163), 239.0, (531)
Oadby and Wigston, 520.9, (297), 349.0, (199)
Cannock Chase, 520.0, (524), 281.9, (284)
Fareham, 519.6, (604), 265.8, (309)
Hyndburn, 519.5, (421), 259.1, (210)
Tunbridge Wells, 518.0, (615), 471.7, (560)
Daventry, 510.8, (439), 264.1, (227)
Cambridge, 508.0, (634), 266.0, (332)
Derby, 508.0, (1307), 251.8, (648)
Cheshire West and Chester, 507.8, (1742), 254.8, (874)
Huntingdonshire, 500.1, (890), 206.8, (368)
South Norfolk, 499.0, (703), 261.9, (369)
Broadland, 497.8, (651), 283.7, (371)
York, 496.6, (1046), 236.4, (498)
South Tyneside, 495.4, (748), 225.2, (340)
Eastleigh, 494.8, (661), 219.3, (293)
Gloucester, 494.1, (638), 272.6, (352)
Liverpool, 492.1, (2451), 195.6, (974)
Bromsgrove, 491.6, (491), 279.3, (279)
Amber Valley, 490.8, (629), 326.2, (418)
North Hertfordshire, 482.1, (644), 340.6, (455)
Sedgemoor, 479.8, (591), 273.6, (337)
Sunderland, 478.6, (1329), 195.9, (544)
Winchester, 478.1, (597), 252.3, (315)
Norwich, 474.5, (667), 276.0, (388)
Peterborough, 469.2, (949), 367.4, (743)
Oxford, 469.0, (715), 341.1, (520)
Middlesbrough, 465.3, (656), 224.9, (317)
Richmondshire, 465.3, (250), 180.5, (97)
Test Valley, 461.3, (582), 230.7, (291)
South Cambridgeshire, 458.2, (729), 232.0, (369)
Solihull, 456.6, (988), 254.2, (550)
Rugby, 456.2, (497), 284.6, (310)
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, 454.5, (688), 257.6, (390)
Breckland, 454.4, (636), 231.5, (324)
Nuneaton and Bedworth, 454.3, (590), 260.2, (338)
Chichester, 450.8, (546), 221.3, (268)
Leicester, 450.3, (1595), 297.0, (1052)
Worcester, 449.5, (455), 181.8, (184)
Allerdale, 449.1, (439), 181.1, (177)
County Durham, 448.4, (2377), 250.7, (1329)
Somerset West and Taunton, 446.8, (693), 242.4, (376)
East Cambridgeshire, 443.0, (398), 220.4, (198)
Redditch, 438.7, (374), 211.1, (180)
Harborough, 438.1, (411), 227.1, (213)
Cheshire East, 429.8, (1651), 227.8, (875)
Wellingborough, 427.8, (341), 269.7, (215)
Coventry, 419.6, (1559), 242.8, (902)
Lichfield, 416.2, (436), 248.2, (260)
East Hampshire, 414.5, (507), 273.1, (334)
Mansfield, 414.4, (453), 246.1, (269)
South Kesteven, 412.9, (588), 309.6, (441)
Wyre Forest, 409.7, (415), 188.6, (191)
Basingstoke and Deane, 408.3, (721), 255.4, (451)
West Suffolk, 408.3, (731), 232.9, (417)
Kettering, 407.8, (415), 218.1, (222)
West Berkshire, 403.9, (640), 322.5, (511)
Gateshead, 403.9, (816), 249.9, (505)
West Oxfordshire, 403.1, (446), 227.8, (252)
Fenland, 402.6, (410), 181.6, (185)
Darlington, 401.7, (429), 239.7, (256)
North Warwickshire, 401.4, (262), 174.7, (114)
Gosport, 400.8, (340), 200.4, (170)
Forest of Dean, 395.2, (343), 223.5, (194)
Stockton-on-Tees, 393.2, (776), 226.5, (447)
St. Helens, 390.4, (705), 187.2, (338)
Gedling, 387.6, (457), 246.0, (290)
Vale of White Horse, 387.5, (527), 250.7, (341)
East Suffolk, 383.6, (957), 166.0, (414)
West Lancashire, 383.2, (438), 205.6, (235)
North Norfolk, 381.5, (400), 213.7, (224)
South Gloucestershire, 381.3, (1087), 174.0, (496)
Hambleton, 381.0, (349), 248.9, (228)
Mid Suffolk, 380.2, (395), 173.3, (180)
South Derbyshire, 378.5, (406), 248.9, (267)
Stafford, 377.3, (518), 254.2, (349)
Craven, 374.5, (214), 131.3, (75)
Bristol, 373.1, (1729), 176.3, (817)
Tamworth, 372.9, (286), 186.5, (143)
Blaby, 370.3, (376), 230.5, (234)
Trafford, 364.0, (864), 233.8, (555)
Bolsover, 361.2, (291), 206.1, (166)
North Somerset, 359.4, (773), 198.6, (427)
Nottingham, 359.0, (1195), 202.5, (674)
Rossendale, 358.1, (256), 207.0, (148)
Wigan, 354.8, (1166), 182.3, (599)
Bury, 353.9, (676), 234.6, (448)
Warwick, 353.4, (508), 219.1, (315)
Scarborough, 351.2, (382), 212.4, (231)
Stockport, 350.3, (1028), 212.0, (622)
Lincoln, 349.4, (347), 348.4, (346)
Northumberland, 345.2, (1113), 193.5, (624)
Wychavon, 342.3, (443), 214.8, (278)
East Northamptonshire, 341.7, (323), 223.2, (211)
Erewash, 338.9, (391), 169.0, (195)
Selby, 338.8, (307), 150.1, (136)
Lancaster, 336.9, (492), 208.8, (305)
North East Derbyshire, 336.1, (341), 184.3, (187)
North West Leicestershire, 335.9, (348), 200.8, (208)
Wyre, 335.4, (376), 166.8, (187)
Stoke-on-Trent, 335.1, (859), 248.1, (636)
Barrow-in-Furness, 332.6, (223), 95.5, (64)

Broxtowe, 331.5, (378), 176.3, (201)
Telford and Wrekin, 328.6, (591), 141.2, (254)
Doncaster, 327.0, (1020), 202.6, (632)
Manchester, 325.2, (1798), 184.9, (1022)
Rushcliffe, 324.7, (387), 204.7, (244)
South Ribble, 324.0, (359), 165.2, (183)
Stratford-on-Avon, 322.1, (419), 180.6, (235)
New Forest, 321.5, (579), 149.4, (269)
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, 319.5, (1827), 96.9, (554)
Preston, 316.5, (453), 213.8, (306)
Ryedale, 314.2, (174), 153.5, (85)
Redcar and Cleveland, 312.8, (429), 116.7, (160)
Rochdale, 312.5, (695), 206.8, (460)
Hull, 309.5, (804), 227.9, (592)
Bath and North East Somerset, 308.4, (596), 149.5, (289)
Herefordshire, 308.1, (594), 182.1, (351)
Chorley, 304.5, (360), 218.2, (258)
North Kesteven, 301.1, (352), 255.7, (299)
Bassetlaw, 299.7, (352), 221.4, (260)
Melton, 298.8, (153), 228.5, (117)
Harrogate, 298.4, (480), 115.6, (186)
Salford, 298.3, (772), 197.8, (512)
Newcastle-under-Lyme, 297.4, (385), 213.2, (276)
Newark and Sherwood, 297.3, (364), 200.9, (246)
Oldham, 291.8, (692), 180.5, (428)
Charnwood, 290.6, (540), 207.2, (385)
Hinckley and Bosworth, 289.9, (328), 213.0, (241)
Leeds, 288.9, (2291), 182.8, (1450)
Shropshire, 288.7, (933), 98.7, (319)
Tameside, 287.0, (650), 168.2, (381)
Barnsley, 286.0, (706), 189.6, (468)
Rotherham, 284.1, (754), 197.4, (524)
Wiltshire, 283.2, (1416), 150.4, (752)
Tewkesbury, 283.1, (269), 175.8, (167)
Dorset, 281.9, (1067), 120.7, (457)
Cotswold, 281.5, (253), 198.1, (178)
Copeland, 275.7, (188), 80.7, (55)
South Holland, 273.6, (260), 204.2, (194)
South Lakeland, 273.1, (287), 163.7, (172)
Calderdale, 270.5, (572), 167.4, (354)
Wakefield, 267.0, (930), 167.7, (584)
South Somerset, 263.2, (443), 165.1, (278)
Mendip, 262.1, (303), 178.2, (206)
Blackpool, 261.8, (365), 162.1, (226)
Chesterfield, 260.2, (273), 157.3, (165)
Bolton, 260.1, (748), 157.2, (452)
Stroud, 258.4, (310), 190.9, (229)
Fylde, 256.3, (207), 153.5, (124)
Staffordshire Moorlands, 253.0, (249), 224.5, (221)
Cheltenham, 248.5, (289), 145.3, (169)
High Peak, 248.2, (230), 136.0, (126)
North Tyneside, 247.7, (515), 158.7, (330)
West Lindsey, 246.7, (236), 269.7, (258)

Kirklees, 243.8, (1072), 162.6, (715)
Rutland, 242.9, (97), 185.3, (74)
Sheffield, 239.7, (1402), 165.3, (967)
Boston, 238.0, (167), 295.0, (207)
Malvern Hills, 233.8, (184), 118.2, (93)
Bradford, 232.3, (1254), 169.9, (917)
North Lincolnshire, 228.1, (393), 156.1, (269)
Exeter, 226.8, (298), 140.8, (185)
Derbyshire Dales, 225.4, (163), 150.7, (109)
Mid Devon, 222.3, (183), 126.4, (104)
East Riding of Yorkshire, 220.1, (751), 162.4, (554)
Newcastle upon Tyne, 215.0, (651), 132.1, (400)
Plymouth, 206.0, (540), 174.7, (458)
East Lindsey, 175.0, (248), 112.2, (159)
South Hams, 172.4, (150), 90.8, (79)
East Devon, 168.2, (246), 138.1, (202)
North East Lincolnshire, 168.0, (268), 102.8, (164)
Teignbridge, 155.8, (209), 128.2, (172)
North Devon, 131.8, (128), 141.0, (137)
West Devon, 130.8, (73), 206.1, (115)
Torbay, 121.8, (166), 56.5, (77)
Torridge, 112.8, (77), 86.4, (59)

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Oxford coronavirus vaccine approved in UK with ‘millions to get jab within weeks’

Reprint – Adapted

It could lead to an end to lockdown by February with 15 million people most at risk of dying or getting seriously ill with coronavirus having reportedly been identified for urgent inoculationmirror

By Abigail O’Leary & Ryan Merrifield Updated 07:57, 30 DEC 2020

Matt Hancock on Oxford vaccine “It brings forward the day we can all get our lives back to normal”

A Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been approved for use in the UK, paving the way for mass rollout.

The jab, which has been described as a “game-changer”, was given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirming a January 4 rollout.

He called it “fantastic news”, adding vaccinations could “really accelerate” in the coming weeks.

It comes hours before today’s coronavirus tier review could plunge 15 million more people in the toughest restrictions as early as tonight, it is claimed.

The Oxford University and AstraZeneca have been approved for emergency use in the UK (Image: Getty Images)
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Essex authorities declare major incident as coronavirus cases overtake first wave

Two-thirds of the country could reportedly move into Tier 4, potentially as soon as midnight.

Pressure has mounted on the Government to act as hospitals across England warned of increasing strains on services due to Covid-19 patient numbers.

Admissions have reached their highest levels during the pandemic, while 51,135 further cases and 414 deaths were reported on Tuesday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking on Wednesday morning
Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking on Wednesday morning

Mr. Hancock said he couldn’t put a figure on the exact number of jabs that will be given but emphasised two vaccines means “we can go faster than previously”.

“Also because this Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t have to be kept at that ultra-low temperature, it means it’s easier to distribute, for instance in GP settings and in care homes,” he continued.

“The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic so it brings forward the day on which we can all get our lives back to normal.”

The new jab is easier to distribute than the existing Pfizer one (Image: PA)

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens this week said approval of the Oxford vaccine, weeks after the Pfizer inoculation was greenlit, sets the UK on track to vaccinate “all vulnerable people” by late spring.

This could amount to as many as 22 million people, with official guidelines listing all those over 50 as among the “vulnerable”.

In turn, lockdowns and tiers could be scrapped as soon as February.

Also this morning local authorities in Essex have declared a “major incident” as the number of coronavirus cases threatens to overwhelm health services in the county.

(Image: Getty Images)

Figures from NHS England showed there were 21,787 patients in NHS hospitals in England as of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, compared with 20,426 on Monday, and 18,974 at the first wave peak on April 12.

Five of the seven NHS regions in England are currently reporting a record number of Covid-19 hospital patients: Eastern England, London, the Midlands, south-east England, and south-west England.

The other two regions, north-east and north-west England, remain below peak levels that were set in mid-November.

The new jab is easier to distribute than the existing Pfizer one (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Referring to the Oxford vaccine, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.

“This follows rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA, which has concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness.”

Data published in The Lancet medical journal in early December showed the vaccine was 62% effective in preventing Covid-19 among a group of 4,440 people given two standard doses of the vaccine when compared with 4,455 people given a placebo drug.

Of 1,367 people given a half first dose of the vaccine followed by a full second dose, there was 90% protection against Covid-19 when compared with a control group of 1,374 people.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a vial of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine (Image: Getty Images)

The overall Lancet data, which was peer-reviewed, set out full results from clinical trials of more than 20,000 people.

Among the people given the placebo drug, 10 were admitted to hospital with coronavirus, including two with severe Covid which resulted in one death.

But among those receiving the vaccine, there were no hospital admissions or severe cases.

The half dose followed by a full dose regime came about as a result of an accidental dosing error.

However, the MHRA was made aware of what happened and clinical trials for the vaccine were allowed to continue.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot suggested that further data submitted to the regulator showed the vaccine could match the 95% efficacy achieved by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

“We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else,” he said.

On Monday, Calum Semple, professor of outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), described the vaccine as a “game-changer” but said it would take until summer to vaccinate enough people for herd immunity – when the virus struggles to circulate.

“To get the wider community herd immunity from vaccination rather than through natural infection will take probably 70% to 80% of the population to be vaccinated, and that, I’m afraid, is going to take us right into the summer, I expect,” he said.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Culture, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology, Videos0 Comments


UK heading for post-Brexit BOOM after signing 62 new trade deals worth £900 billion


BRITAIN is heading for a post-Brexit boom after securing trade deals worth a staggering £900 billion.

By Martyn Brown, Senior Political Correspondent Tue, Dec 29, 2020

Boris Johnson: Brexit deal is ‘glad tidings of great joy’

The colossal figure comes as Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a new £18.6 billion tie-up with Turkey, meaning the UK now has new agreements in place with 62 countries around the world. And there are multi-billion free trade deals with America, Canada, and Australia in the pipeline for 2021. Together they could boost the UK economy by at least £100 billion over the coming decade, according to analysts.


Writing in the Daily Express, former Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, says that the UK’s ability to secure its own trading agreements, free from EU interference, means that the “sunlit uplands” are on the horizon.

She says Boris Johnson’s “phenomenal” £660 billion trade deal with Brussels is the “catalyst for the UK to redefine our place in the world”.

“Let us seize the opportunities that our new position brings,” she says. Let’s use this as a positive push for our post-COVID recovery. The Roaring Twenties can now truly begin!”

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With just three days to go until the Brexit transition period ends Boris Johnson yesterday (Mon) hailed a “new starting point” for the UK’s relationship with the EU.

 Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a new £18.6 billion tie-up with Turkey

Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a new £18.6 billion tie-up with Turkey (Image: EXPRESS)

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In a call with European Council president Charles Michel, the Prime Minister welcomed the agreement as a fresh start “between sovereign equals”.

“We looked forward to the formal ratification of the agreement and to working together on shared priorities, such as tackling climate change,” the prime minister added.

It came after ambassadors representing the 27 EU member states unanimously approved the trade deal, which was secured on Christmas Eve just days before the 31 December deadline.

The approval means the trade deal can take effect provisionally, though the European Parliament will formally vote on it in January.

READ MORE: Brexit rebellion: DUP to vote AGAINST Boris trade deal

There are multi-billion free trade deals with America, Canada and Australia in the pipeline for 2021

There are multi-billion free trade deals with America, Canada, and Australia in the pipeline for 2021 (Image: GETTY)

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MPs will be recalled to parliament to vote on the agreement tomorrow (Wed) and currently, only 10 Tories are expected to rebel.

But Tory grandee Lord Heseltine has urged MPs and peers to abstain from the vote, warning the deal would inflict “lasting damage” on the UK. Labour has also criticised what it described as a “thin” deal.

However, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said his party will support it, meaning it is expected to be approved and come into force on 1 January.

The agreement with Turkey, which will be formally signed later this week, will provide a major boost for the British car industry, manufacturing, and steel industries and lays the groundwork for an enhanced relationship in the future.

‘Sore loser’ Lord Adonis blasted as he calls on UK to get back in EU [VIDEO]

Merkel backs Johnson’s Brexit deal as Germany gloats over EU27 unity [REVEALED]
How UK will have to negotiate with EVERY EU country in 2021 [INSIGHT]

Boris Johnson secured a trade deal with the EU on Christmas Eve

Boris Johnson secured a trade deal with the EU on Christmas Eve (Image: GETTY)

Ms. Truss and her team have now agreed to trade deals with 62 countries, alongside the new EU deal – accounting for around £885 billion of UK trade.

More deals with Albania, Cameroon, and Ghana could be agreed in the coming days.

Announcing the deal the International Trade Secretary said: “We now look forward to working with Turkey towards an ambitious tailor-made trade agreement in the near future, as we aim to open new global markets for great British businesses, drive economic growth and improve people’s lives across both countries.

“It will provide certainty for thousands of jobs across the UK in the manufacturing, automotive and steel industries.”

The deal with the EU came just before the UK's transition period ended

The deal with the EU came just before the UK’s transition period ended (Image: GETTY)

The UK is Turkey’s second-biggest export market but Ankara’s customs union with the EU meant that a free trade agreement could not be finalised until a Brexit deal was in place. That raised fears among Turkish producers of white goods, cars, and textiles that their products could face hefty import tariffs and UK border delays if Britain crashed out of the 27-member bloc.

The deal seeks to replicate the trading terms that currently exist between the UK and Turkey, with tariff-free trade on all non-agricultural goods, according to British officials.

The UK has also agreed to roll over the preferential tariffs that Turkey enjoys on some agricultural products under its customs union with the EU.

It follows hot on the heels of a bumper £17.6 billion tie-up with Singapore that will help Britain become a major tech-hub.

Another £15 billion deal was signed with Japan, paving the way thousands of new jobs

Another £15 billion deal was signed with Japan, paving the way for thousands of new jobs (Image: EXPRESS)

Another £15 billion deal was signed with Japan, paving the way for thousands of new jobs. Crucially it gives Britain a foot in the door to joining a wider 11-nation trade deal, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Once fully operational it will account for around 14 percent of global GDP and is worth more than £112 billion.

Boris Johnson has promised Britain will “prosper mightily” outside the EU and Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week said that the new trade deal secured with the EU will usher in a “new era for global Britain”. 

Brexiteer John Redwood, who has indicated he will support the deal in tomorrow’s (Wed) vote, said the opportunities for Britain outside the EU are huge.

The EU had expressed its reluctance to back down to the UK's fishing demands

The EU had expressed its reluctance to back down to the UK’s fishing demands (Image: GETTY)

And he questioned the so-called “economic boost” of being in the bloc, suggesting there was only 1.66 percent per year since 1993.

“If we look at the 28 years 1993 to 2020 when we were in the single market and customs union, total growth was 59 percent. 

“That was an annual growth rate of just 1.66 percent.”

Richard Tice, Chairman of Reform/The Brexit Party, yesterday (Mon) questioned some elements of the UK/EU deal but described it as “a giant leap forward”. 

“We are once again a free, sovereign, independent United Kingdom,” he said.

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Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Features, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, Technology, TOURISM, Travel, UK - Brexit0 Comments

Cayman Compass

UK releases draft order for OT beneficial ownership registries

Cayman Compass

By Michael Klein

Following the commitment by all UK Overseas Territories to make the ownership of companies in their jurisdictions more transparent, the British government has released a draft Order in Council setting out how it expects the OTs to implement publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership.

However, the UK is holding off an Order in Council that would directly establish beneficial ownership registries in its territories.

Minister Wendy Morton

In a written statement to the UK Parliament, Wendy Morton, Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, said: “The draft Order sets minimum requirements for what the UK Government deem to be a compliant publicly accessible register of company beneficial ownership in the Overseas Territories.

“This includes the form that the register must take and the information that must be made available such that it would be broadly equivalent to that available in accordance with the provisions of Part 21 A of the UK Companies Act 2006.”

The draft Order defines beneficial ownership as both direct and indirect control, for example through shareholdings, voting rights, or the right to appoint or remove a majority of directors.

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Where an Overseas Territory attaches a percentage to the type of control, the draft Order stipulates that this cannot be higher than 25%.

The information on an individual must include their name, country of residence, nationality, month and year of birth, and the nature of their control over the company.

Morton said it is the government’s view that only those Overseas Territories with companies registered in their jurisdiction need to produce registers, and that Territories’ registers should be a proportionate reflection of the number of companies registered in their jurisdiction.

The Cayman Islands had 111,536 registered companies at the end of the third quarter of 2020.

“By introducing publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership, the Overseas Territories are showing that they are responsible jurisdictions and a collaborative partner to the UK,” the minister said.

She said the registries build on the Exchange of Notes arrangements under which the Overseas Territories must share company beneficial ownership information with UK law enforcement agencies within 24 hours and, in urgent cases, within one hour.

“A statutory review of these arrangements last year found that they are working well and are providing our law enforcement with invaluable information to support ongoing investigations,” she said.

Given the firm commitment from all Overseas Territories to adopt beneficial ownership registries, Morton said the UK government has decided “that it is now not necessary to make the Order under Section 51 but will keep this under review”.

Section 51 of the UK Sanctions and Money Laundering Act 2018 called on the secretary of state to directly establish beneficial ownership registries in the territories, if they had not done so by the end of 2020.

However, the UK and its territories later agreed that the Order in Council would instruct the British OTs to establish by 2023 fully operational public registers of beneficial ownership.

In a statement, the Cayman Islands government acknowledged the progress made by the UK Overseas Territories in regard to beneficial ownership and the UK’s decision to draft, but not enact, an Order in Council.

Cayman’s government also reaffirmed its 9 Oct. 2019 commitment to introduce a public register in line with evolving international standards and global best practice.

Cayman Finance said in a statement that “the draft order was required by law, but the UK’s certainty that the Cayman Islands, and the other OT’s, are on track to meet their commitments obviated any reason to enact it”.

For global investors, the practical effect of the UK’s action is that Cayman’s existing verified beneficial ownership regime will remain in effect until the Cayman Islands government implements an enhanced system in 2023.

The organisation that represents Cayman’s financial services firms said, “The Cayman Islands financial services industry will continue to collaborate with the Cayman Islands Government to establish this new public register of beneficial ownership, which will reflect the unique nature of our industry while providing information broadly equivalent to that required under the UK’s own Companies Act.”

Earlier this year, the British Virgin Islands became the last territory to commit to establishing a register. “This is a major change, and the unanimous action from all the Overseas Territories demonstrates their commitment to tackling flows of illicit finance,” Morton said.

Police identify murder victim as Michael Aaron Bush

By Reshma Ragoonath


Following reports of concerns of a rise in stabbing incidents, Police on Thursday, December 24, launched a murder investigation after a 22-year-old man was stabbed to death. Police have now identified the victim in Thursday’s stabbing incident as 22-year-old Michael Aaron Bush of West Bay.

In a statement released Friday, detectives investigating Bush’s killing appealed for the suspect in the incident to turn himself in at the Cayman Islands Detention Centre or the nearest police station and explain what happened.

Police described the suspect as short, with a slim build and medium brown complexion with long natural hair.

Bush was found around 2 a.m. unresponsive with multiple stab wounds in The Strand parking lot after having attended Lilies Night Club just before the incident took place, according to police.

He was taken to the hospital and was pronounced dead around 4:45 a.m.

Just before the stabbing took place, at about 2 a.m., investigators believe there was a “disturbance” outside The Strand and both parties involved ran out into the parking lot.

Additionally, police said, investigators are aware there were over 20 persons in the area immediately after the incident took place.

“Detectives are appealing to the persons who were present in the parking lot after the incident and those who were involved in the disturbance prior, to present themselves to any police station and speak with an officer regarding your involvement or what you have witnessed,” the RCIPS statement said.

Anyone with pictures or videos of the incident is encouraged to submit them to the police through the RCIPS website at

Alternatively, police said, anyone involved in any way or with information pertaining to the investigation is encouraged to call the Major Incident Room at 649-2930.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Crime, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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