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Democrats on brink of Senate Control.

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JANUARY 6, 2021

Reuters News Now

U.S. POLITICS

Democrats won one Senate race in Georgia and surged ahead in another, moving closer to a stunning sweep that would give them control of the chamber and the power to advance President-elect Joe Biden’s policy goals. Raphael Warnock beat Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler to become the first Black senator in the history of the deep South state. Jon Ossoff held a narrow lead over incumbent David Perdue in the other race, with a final outcome not expected until later on Wednesday at the earliest.

Donald Trump’s flailing effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory comes down to Congress in a showdown led by a band of Republican lawmakers that could stretch proceedings past midnight but is almost certain to fail. Although Biden won the Nov. 3 election by more than 7 million popular votes and a 306-232 margin in the Electoral College, Trump -- without evidence -- continues to claim his victory was the result of widespread fraud.

Despite pressure from Trump to help overturn his election loss, Vice President Mike Pence will stick to his ceremonial duties and not block Wednesday’s certification by Congress of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, advisers said. Trump ramped up pressure on Pence to block congressional certification of the November election results in an ongoing attempt to stay in power, after dozens of lawsuits by his campaign challenging the outcome failed in U.S. courts.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS TODAY

China steps up curbs near Beijing
Chinese authorities imposed travel restrictions and banned gatherings in the capital city of Hebei province
, which surrounds Beijing, in the latest escalation of measures to stave off another coronavirus wave.

The province, which entered a “wartime mode” on Tuesday, accounted for 20 of the 23 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases reported in mainland China on Jan. 5, more than the total of 19 cases in the province in the three previous days.

The head of the World Health Organization on Tuesday said he was “very disappointed” that China still had not authorized a team of international experts tasked with examining the origins of the coronavirus into the country.

Ambulances put on alert as Los Angeles hospitals swamped
Los Angeles health officials have told first responders to stop bringing adult patients who cannot be resuscitated to hospitals
, citing a shortage of beds and staff as the latest COVID-19 surge threatened to overwhelm healthcare systems in America’s second-largest city.

The order marked an escalation of measures being taken by state and local officials nationwide in the face of alarming increases in infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Ambulances have been forced to wait hours to unload patients at some Los Angeles hospitals, causing delays throughout the county’s emergency response system.

State of emergency looms in Tokyo
Japan’s COVID-19 cases reached a new daily record on Wednesday, as the government faced mounting pressure from health experts to impose a strict state of emergency for the Tokyo greater metropolitan area.

Rising infections have driven Tokyo and surrounding areas to the highest level of a four-stage alert, prompting regional governors to call for a declaration of emergency that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to announce on Thursday.

Infectious disease experts have called for stricter and longer countermeasures, while Suga has sought a more limited response to avoid damaging the economy.

Greek Christians defy ban on Epiphany services
Greek Christian churches held Epiphany services, openly defying government restrictions that banned public gatherings including religious ceremonies on one of the most important days of the Orthodox calendar.

Despite a plea by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for Church authorities to set an example during a crisis that has killed more than 5,000 in Greece, worshippers attended morning services, although with limits on the number allowed into churches.

“State orders are one thing and faith is another,” said a 38-year-old worshipper who gave her name as Stavroula, after attending morning service at a church in the outskirts of Athens.

Test kits by vending machine
The University of California’s San Diego campus has launched the winter academic term with a unique twist to its coronavirus safety regimen: newly installed vending machines stocked with do-it-yourself COVID-19 tests for students.

The 11 dispensers at UC San Diego since Jan. 2 - with nine more to be added over the next week or two - are the first of their kind to be introduced on a college or university campus in the United States, according to school officials.

Adapted from conventional vending machines, the systems aim to make it easier and less costly to regularly screen the school’s student body.

Track the global spread here.

Reuters reporters and editors around the world are investigating the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We need your help to tell these stories. Our news organization wants to capture the full scope of what’s happening and how we got here by drawing on a wide variety of sources.

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Breakingviews - Corona Capital: Conferences, China, UK carmakers Virtual get-togethers help cushion the blow of lockdowns for events organizer Informa, and local outbreaks of Covid-19 cast a cloud over Chinese consumption. Catch up on the latest financial insights here.

SPECIAL REPORT

Reuters has identified dozens of workplace coronavirus outbreaks that followed employees' complaints to U.S. regulators. The complaints largely fell on deaf ears, according to an analysis of regulatory records

BUSINESS

Trump bars U.S. transactions with eight Chinese apps including Alipay

President Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications, including Ant Group’s Alipay mobile payment app, the White House said, escalating tensions with Beijing two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

6 MIN READ

Bitcoin breaks above $35,000 to touch new high

Bitcoin traded above $35,000 for the first time in Asia, rising to a high of $35,879 and extending a rally that has seen the digital currency rise more than 800% since mid-March.

1 MIN READ

Impossible Foods cuts wholesale prices by 15% for second time in one year

Impossible Foods, maker of the plant-based Impossible Burger, said it would cut prices for foodservice distributors in the United States by about 15% amid increasing demand for its burgers.

2 MIN READ

TOP STORIES ON REUTERS TV

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