South China Morning Post – Owen Churchill / Biden’s election victory certified after chaos at US Capitol leaves four people dead
- The US Congress, having defeated Republican efforts to derail Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump, on Thursday approved states’ Electoral College results certifying the next occupant of the White House.
- A marathon sitting was required after the proceedings turned chaotic and deadly on Wednesday, when supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol building, forcing the evacuation of Vice-President Mike Pence and lawmakers.
- After an outdoor stand-off with Capitol Police, Trump supporters brandishing US and Confederate flags breached the Capitol, smashing windows, setting off fire extinguishers and occupying areas of the building normally off-limits to the public.
- Washington police confirmed late on Wednesday that a woman had died of a gunshot wound, after she was shot inside the Capitol. She was later identified as Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran from California. Three other people died due to medical emergencies.
- The New York Times – Luke Broadwater and Emily Cochrane / Inside the Capitol, the sound of the mob came first
- The Washington Post / How pro-Trump insurrectionists broke into the U.S. Capitol
- Financial Times – Edward Luce / The nightmarish end to Donald Trump’s presidency
- The Guardian – Kari Paul / Facebook and Twitter lock Donald Trump’s accounts after video address
The Economist / Democrats win two run-offs in Georgia—and control of the Senate
- Four years ago, any pundit predicting that the solidly Republican state of Georgia would send two Democratic senators to Washington in 2020 would have been dismissed as a crank. Yet that was the outcome of two extraordinary run-off elections held on January 5th.
- In the small hours of January 6th the Associated Press called one of the races for the Democratic challenger, Raphael Warnock, over Kelly Loeffler, the Republican incumbent. The other Democrat, Jon Ossoff, was declared the victor later that night, tieing the Senate at 50-50.
- That gives the vice-president-elect, Kamala Harris, the casting vote in the upper chamber. Democrats have secured the Washington trifecta of House, Senate and White House needed to pass legislation.
- For the incoming president, Joe Biden, this means a chance to convert at least some of his ambitious agenda from a pile of white papers into reality. For the outgoing president, Donald Trump, it means a startling rebuke.
- The New Yorker – Charles Bethea / Trump and the G.O.P. lost Georgia. Black voters won it
Politico – Jillian Deutsch / EU Commission approves Moderna coronavirus vaccine
- The EU added a second vaccine to its armory Wednesday, as the Commission approved Moderna’s jab. The European Medicines Agency recommended using the vaccine for people over the age of 18.
- In a clinical trial of around 28,000 people, the two-dose mRNA vaccine was 94.1 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 cases, and almost 91 percent effective in preventing severe cases.
- The drugmakers are on the hook to provide more information throughout the next two years, including how long immunity lasts and whether the jab prevents the transmission of the virus. But the EMA decision means that the vaccine is safe, effective and ready to use.
- The Commission has already secured 160 million doses of the vaccine, and deliveries will start next week. But no single vaccine is a magic bullet: Countries will need to maintain other measures, including social distancing and masks for the foreseeable future — and more quickly use the vaccines they have.
- Euractiv – Sarantis Michalopoulos / First Moderna vaccines to be distributed next week across the EU
Financial Times – Simeon Kerr / Saudi Arabia and allies to restore ties with Qatar
- Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have agreed to restore ties with Qatar in a significant breakthrough that is set to end more than three years of disunity and rancour within the ranks of the west’s Gulf allies.
- “All the outstanding [issues], whether returning of diplomatic relations, flights, will go back to normal,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi foreign minister, told reporters. “It’s a very important breakthrough that we believe will contribute very much to the security of all our nations in the region.”
- He was speaking after Gulf leaders signed a declaration at a summit held in Saudi Arabia hours after Riyadh announced it was lifting its air, land and sea embargo on Qatar.
- The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt are now expected to follow suit, bringing relief to the Gulf’s biggest crisis in years. It is unclear what the timeline will be.
- Bloomberg – Reema Al Othman / Saudi company pulls Qatar hate song as Gulf powers reunite
Today’s global view:
- The Atlantic – Timothy McLaughlin / Eradicating a democracy movement