Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic former candidate for Georgia governor who is credited with motivating voters against Donald Trump in the traditionally red state, has helped raise more than $3.6m in only two days for two crucial US Senate runoffs to be contested in January. A victory will end Republican majority control of the Senate.
Tensions around the 2020 election results are especially high in Georgia, a state that has not been won by a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992. Election results are coming down to the narrowest of margins this year, and officials have promised a recount.
Stacey Abrams, along with grassroots organizations across Georgia helped to register more than 800,000 new voters in the once-red state.
If Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are beaten, the Senate would be balanced 50-50, making Kamala Harris, as vice-president, the tie-breaking vote and thereby ending Republican control of the chamber.
At least five Supreme Court justices, including two members of its conservative majority, indicated that they would reject attempts by Republicans and the Trump administration to kill the Affordable Care Act.
Striking down the Affordable Care Act would expand the ranks of the uninsured in the United States by about 21.1 million people — a nearly 70 percent increase — according to new estimates from the Urban Institute.
The biggest loss of coverage would be among low-income adults who became eligible for Medicaid under the law after all but a dozen states expanded the program to include them. But millions of Americans would also lose private insurance, including young adults whom the law allowed to stay on their parents’ plans until they turned 26 and families whose income was modest enough to qualify for subsidies that help pay their monthly premiums.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. vowed Tuesday to preserve and expand the law when he takes office on Jan. 20.
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced that a Phase 3, late-stage study found their potential COVID-19 vaccine showed more than 90% effectiveness. The two-dose vaccine still faces several challenges, including how to store and transport it, since it must be refrigerated at subzero temperatures. Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Laurie Garrett says the news is hopeful, but urges caution. “There’s been no scientific release. There’s no published data,” she says. “We don’t have anything to go with except what the lawyers at Pfizer massaged carefully into a single-page press release. So, we have to take that with a big caveat.”
The so-called interim analysis looked at the first 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among the more than 43,000 volunteers who got either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. It found that fewer than 10% of infections were in participants who had been given the vaccine. More than 90% of the cases were in people who had been given a placebo.
In a news release, Pfizer said it plans to seek emergency use authorization from the FDA soon after volunteers have been monitored for two months after getting their second dose of vaccine, as requested by the FDA.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has announced he had signed an “unspeakably painful agreement” with Russia and Azerbaijan to end the war over the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh, just hours after Azerbaijan claimed it captured the region’s strategic city of Shusha.
Speaking after the agreement was announced, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said the deal would “return our territories without any further bloodshed.” He said all military operations in the region that sits in Azerbaijani territory but has been populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians have stopped.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian peacekeeping forces will be deployed along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and within the corridor that connects the region with Armenia.
The unrest in Nagorno-Karabakh dates back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the region, backed by Armenia, declared independence from Azerbaijan.
President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that he and his team would move steadily ahead with their transition plans, regardless of whether President Donald Trump concedes or he provides the resources traditionally offered to incoming administrations to assist in a transition.
The transition is moving steadily ahead even though Biden has not yet been afforded any of the privileges typically offered to a President elect, such as office space in Washington and intelligence briefings. It helps that Biden, as a former Vice President himself, is already intimately familiar with most of the levers of the federal government.
Biden said he had not yet spoken to the President, who has so far refused to accept the results of the election, or to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supports President Trump’s long-shot lawsuits to overturn the results.
- 2020 Election Guide & Voter Resources
- Stacey Abrams Wins Democratic Primary in Georgia
- Fighting Erupts with Former Soviet States Armenia and Azerbaijan