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We’re covering chaos in Washington, a victory for Democrats in the U.S. Senate and détente in British political backbiting.
Lawmakers were evacuated amid mayhem that shook the core of American democracy, before the police, reinforced by the F.B.I. and National Guard members in tactical gear, retook the Capitol complex after more than three hours. A woman who was shot inside the Capitol died, police officials said. Information was not released about who may have shot her.
Both chambers of Congress resumed the electoral count last night, dispensing with many of the objections planned earlier. Vice President Mike Pence had already notified Mr. Trump that he could not and would not upend the proceedings. Still, the disruption of the count injected uncertainty into the largely procedural action.
International reaction: The rest of the world watched the once-unimaginable scene unfolding in Washington with dismay for what it said both about the U.S. and about other nations.
“This is not merely a U.S. national issue, but it shakes the world, at least all democracies,” said Peter Beyer, Germany’s coordinator for trans-Atlantic affairs. Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, wrote on Twitter: “This is what happens when you sow hatred.”
Twitter ban: The social media site locked Mr. Trump’s account after he published inaccurate and inflammatory tweets during the day. Twitter said the account would be permanently suspended if he continued violating its policies against violent threats and election misinformation. Facebook later took the same step.
Staff resignations: In the hours after President Trump took to social media to openly condone violence at the Capitol, White House officials began submitting their resignations, with more expected to follow suit. Stephanie Grisham, the former White House press secretary who was the chief of staff for Melania Trump, the first lady, was among those who resigned.
Democrats gain control of the Senate
Victories in the two runoff elections in the state of Georgia, which were overshadowed by the violence in Washington, will reshape the balance of power in Congress.
Though the Democrats will have the thinnest of advantages in the House and the Senate, where Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will break the 50-50 tie, they will control committees as well as legislation and nominations brought to the floor.
The outcome prompted some Republicans to blame President Trump for dissuading voters with his assertions that Georgia’s elections were rigged. Mr. Trump’s single term in the White House will conclude with Republicans having lost the presidency, the House and the Senate on his watch.
Atlanta protest: The unrest in Washington spread to state capitals across the country, including Atlanta, where a gathering of protesters led to the evacuation of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and some of his staff members.
Mr. Raffensperger had been heavily criticized by Trump supporters — and had received threats of violence against him and his wife — for certifying the results of Georgia’s presidential election, delivering the state’s 16 electoral votes to Mr. Biden.
Amid the virus, a political reprieve of sorts in Britain
So dire is the public health crisis now confronting Britain that it has temporarily stilled the political debates that have raged since the virus emerged in the country 11 months ago.
When Prime Minister Boris Johnson went to Parliament with some of his toughest measures yet to combat the coronavirus, the chamber’s unruly backbenches were quiet.
Mr. Johnson won overwhelming approval of the legislation to impose a new national lockdown, which he said could remain in force until March 31, although some measures could be relaxed before then.
E.U. vaccine: The European Union drug regulator approved the Moderna coronavirus vaccine after moving up a decision that had been scheduled for later in January. It had authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the 27 E.U. member countries in December.
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
Will the China-E.U. trade deal hurt U.S. relations?
Seven years ago, the European Union embarked on a trade deal with China in the belief that engagement with Beijing was the best way to alter its behavior and make it a committed stakeholder in the international system.
Today, a few weeks after the deal was sealed, it is seen as creating doubts about Europe’s willingness to work with the U.S. on a joint strategy toward Beijing. And it has handed China an important victory.
Here’s what else is happening
Julian Assange: A judge in London declined to release the WikiLeaks founder on bail while he awaits a final resolution in the case to extradite him to the U.S. to face charges of violating espionage laws.
Russian hack: American intelligence agencies and private cybersecurity investigators are examining whether a tool developed by the software company JetBrains, which is based in the Czech Republic, was used to gain access to public and private networks in the U.S.
Hong Kong arrests: The police arrested 53 elected pro-democracy officials and activists, the largest roundup yet under the new national security law imposed by Beijing. Those arrested were targeted for their efforts to choose candidates for the city’s legislative elections.
Snapshot: Above right, a dwarf giraffe in Namibia. With an average height of roughly 16 feet, giraffes are the tallest mammals on Earth. But now scientists are studying 8- and 9-foot giraffes that are apparently suffering from dwarfism, a bone condition that is rarely observed among wild animals and has never been seen before in giraffes.
BBC leadership: Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker and adviser to the British government, is expected to be named the next chairman of the BBC at a time when its purpose and funding are under review. And June Sarpong, the BBC’s new director of creative diversity, is in a job that places her at the center of a political battlefield.
What we’re reading: This Oprah Magazine profile of Stacey Abrams, the politician and activist who shot to prominence for her successful voter rights efforts in Georgia. In case you’ve never heard of her, this is a good place to start.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This risotto with peas and sausage is flexible. For vegetarians, the broth does not have to be chicken. Omit the butter and cheese, and you’re in vegan territory.
Watch: The documentary “My Rembrandt” looks at art collectors whose interests in Rembrandt have taken on faintly obsessive dimensions.
Do: Is a nicer garden among your New Year’s goals? In advance of the growing season, it’s helpful for gardeners to acknowledge what went wrong the previous year and figure out what to do instead.
There’s no need to be bored. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
Ai Weiwei on the power of books
The Chinese artist and human rights activist spoke to our Books desk about the Cultural Revolution, the books on his mind and more. His new book, “Human Flow: Stories From the Global Refugee Crisis,” came out in December, following up on his 2017 documentary on the global migrant crisis.
What’s the last great book you read?
The last great book I read was “Permanent Record,” by Edward Snowden.
Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?
I stopped reading classic novels before I was 24 years old.
Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).
My ideal reading experience was when I was living in exile at a detention camp with my father, Ai Qing, during the Cultural Revolution. At that time, we burned all of his books to avoid further political persecution. I was not yet 10 years old; I believe it was 1967.
It confirmed in me how powerful those words printed on paper, and the images in between, could be. My sister helped me when I asked her to bring me more books. She sent me books such as “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,” by Vladimir Lenin, and “The Communist Manifesto,” by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. I completely disassociated with the concepts in those books, but I can still feel the power of the language and logic structure.
What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?
I have a book called the “Yingzao Fashi,” which was a Song dynasty-era construction manual originally written 1,000 years ago.
What book, if any, most influenced your decision to become a visual artist or contributed to your artistic development?
I would say that Ludwig Wittgenstein’s and Franz Kafka’s works have been influential, and, if you include artists, [Marcel] Duchamp’s writing as well. It’s just a few, but still, shining intellectual minds.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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