News Blitz: Jan. 6, 2021

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National News

ATLANTA (AP) — Democrat Raphael Warnock has won one of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs, becoming the first Black senator in his state’s history and putting the Senate majority within the party’s reach. Warnock, a pastor who spent the past 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler. It’s a stinging rebuke of outgoing President Donald Trump, who traveled to Georgia to rally for Loeffler and the Republican running for the other seat, David Perdue. The focus now shifts to the second race between Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. That contest was too early to call as votes were still being counted.

UNDATED (AP) — World shares are mixed and U.S. futures have declined as investors await final results of Senate runoff elections that will determine whether Democrats take control of both houses of Congress. Benchmarks edged higher in Europe. Shares traded lower for most of the day in Asia, although markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai ended higher. U.S. stocks advanced Tuesday, regaining their footing a day after starting out 2021 with their worst loss in months amid the worsening pandemic and the Senate elections in the state of Georgia. Speculation that Democratic victories might lead to more government spending that could fuel inflation have pushed Treasury yields higher.

Texas News

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Coronavirus cases are exhausting the availability of intensive-care unit beds in parts of Texas as hospitalizations with COVID-19 continue to soar into record levels. State health officials say hospitalizations with the illness the coronavirus causes set a ninth-consecutive record by topping 13,300 on Tuesday, with 626 patients requiring intensive care. All ICU beds at hospitals in the Abilene and Bryan-College Station areas are full, while only two are available in the Laredo area with three in the Paris-Texarkana area. ICU bed availability is in the single digits in the Wichita Falls-Northwest Texas, Lufkin-Piney Woods, Waco, Galveston-Beaumont and Victoria areas.

Louisiana News

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s health department is encouraging hospitals to use their extra coronavirus vaccine doses to immunize people aged 70 and older. Hospitals across Louisiana have received thousands of Pfizer vaccine doses for their own workers and continue to receive new doses weekly. The health department said Tuesday that any excess should be steered to those newly eligible. That’s an effort to boost the limited supply available to the estimated 640,000 elderly and outpatient health care workers on that newly eligible list. It wasn’t clear Tuesday how many doses were available at hospitals to administer to them, but it was certain to be a small number.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana appears on track to broaden the mail-in balloting options for spring municipal elections and two upcoming special congressional elections because of the coronavirus pandemic. The emergency plan easily won bipartisan support Tuesday from two legislative committees and head next to the full House and Senate for a vote. Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday announced his backing for the provisions. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin wants to use the same expansion of absentee-by-mail voting that was in place for the summer and fall elections, including the November presidential competition. Ardoin’s proposal would give voters five COVID-19-related reasons to request an absentee ballot rather than vote in person.

Arkansas News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas has adjusted its rollout of the coronavirus vaccine as the state’s hospitalizations from the virus continued hitting record levels. Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday said the state will move police, firefighters and other first responders to the first phase of vaccines being administered. Hutchinson said the state is also adjusting the second phase to include people 70 and older, instead of the original plan of those 75 and older. The state reported its second highest single-day increase in virus cases on Tuesday and hospitalizations again hit a new high. Thirty-six more people died from COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Sports

Men’s college basketball

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — No. 6 Kansas has matched its own Big 12 record by winning 11 consecutive conference road games. The 9-2 Jayhawks won 93-64 at TCU, which had its five-game winning streak snapped. The win in Fort Worth on Tuesday night came three days after the Jayhawks’ 25-point loss at home to Texas that matched the most lopsided win by an opponent in the 65-year history of Allen Fieldhouse. David McCormack scored a season-high 20 points for the Jayhawks. Chuck O’Bannon Jr. had 18 points for 9-3 TCU.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Andrew Jones scored a career-high 23 points and No. 4 Texas held off Iowa State 78-72 to continue its torrid start to the season. Texas led by as much as 15 early in the second half and appeared to be cruising to an easy win over an Iowa State team that is still winless in the Big 12. But the Cyclones kept chipping away and made it tough for Texas to close out the game. Javan Johnson scored 21 points to lead Iowa State. Matt Coleman III added 13 points and Jericho Sims had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Longhorns.

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Terrence Shannon Jr. beat the first-half buzzer with a jumper on his way to 22 points, Mac McClung added 16 and No. 18 Texas Tech beat Kansas State 82-71. Marcus Santos-Silva scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half as the Red Raiders picked up their first conference home victory after losing two. Nigel Pack, one of three freshmen making a seventh straight start for Kansas State, scored 15 of his season-high 17 points in the first half. Fellow freshman Selton Miguel matched his season high with 17.

UNDATED (AP) — The Georgia Tech men’s basketball team has shut down all athletic activities and postponed tonight’s game at Notre Dame because of COVID-19 protocols. No date has been set to make up the game against the Fighting Irish. Georgia Tech said it won’t resume athletic activities until it meets the guidelines set by the ACC Medical Advisory Group. The school gave no details on what caused the shutdown.

Paul Norton Lake Travis School

College football

NEW YORK (AP) — DeVonta Smith of Alabama is the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in 29 seasons. Smith broke the monopoly quarterbacks have had on college football’s most prestigious award by beating out three of them. The Crimson Tide senior is the fourth receiver to win the Heisman, joining Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991, Notre Dame’s Tim Brown in 1987 and Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers in 1972. Quarterbacks had won 17 of the previous 20 Heisman trophies, including the previous four. Smith is the third Alabama player to win the Heisman, all since 2009.

UNDATED (AP) — College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock says the national championship game between Alabama and Ohio State is still a go for Monday night. AL.com is reporting that Ohio State has been in contact with CFP officials about possible player availability problems related to COVID-19 that could force the game to be delayed. A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed those discussions to The Associated Press. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith says the Buckeyes continue to follow the same protocols they have all season and plan to play Monday in suburban Miami.

NFL

CLEVELAND (AP) — After finally making it to the playoffs after a nearly two-decade drought, the Cleveland Browns will head into the post-season without all of their coaching staff and players due to COVID-19 cases. Coach Kevin Stefanski has tested positive. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will be the acting head coach on Sunday against the Steelers. Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge also tested positive, along with two more assistant coaches.

NHL

UNDATED (AP) — The Dallas Stars feel like they have something to prove after falling short in the Stanley Cup Final last season. They relish the opportunity for a better start this season and hope to carry over the success they had in the NHL bubble with their first Final appearance since 2000. Dallas last season won only one of its first eight games. And it was on a six-game skid when the season was paused in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Stars have most of their same group back this season under coach Rick Bowness.

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 6, the sixth day of 2021. There are 359 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 6, 2001, with Vice President Al Gore presiding in his capacity as president of the Senate, Congress formally certified George W. Bush the winner of the bitterly contested 2000 presidential election.

On this date:

In 1412, tradition holds that Joan of Arc was born this day in Domremy.

In 1540, England’s King Henry VIII married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. (The marriage lasted about six months.)

In 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state.

In 1919, the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, died in Oyster Bay, New York, at age 60.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union address, outlined a goal of “Four Freedoms”: Freedom of speech and expression; the freedom of people to worship God in their own way; freedom from want; freedom from fear.

In 1968, a surgical team at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, led by Dr. Norman Shumway, performed the first U.S. adult heart transplant, placing the heart of a 43-year-old man in a 54-year-old patient (the recipient died 15 days later).

In 1993, jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, 75, died in Englewood, N.J.; ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev died in suburban Paris at age 54.

In 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the leg by an assailant at Detroit’s Cobo Arena; four men, including the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s rival, Tonya Harding, went to prison for their roles in the attack. (Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution, but denied any advance knowledge about the assault.)

In 1998, in a new bid to expand health insurance, President Clinton unveiled a proposal to offer Medicare coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Americans from ages 55 to 64.

In 2003, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein accused U.N. inspectors of engaging in “intelligence work” instead of searching for suspected nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in his country.

In 2005, former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen was arrested on murder charges 41 years after three civil rights workers were slain in Mississippi. (Killen was later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years in prison; he died in prison in 2018.)

In 2017, Congress certified Donald Trump’s presidential victory over the objections of a handful of House Democrats, with Vice President Joe Biden pronouncing, “It is over.”

Ten years ago: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he would cut $78 billion from the Defense Department budget over the next five years, an effort to trim fat in light of the nation’s ballooning deficit. Vang Pao, a revered former general in the Royal Army of Laos who’d led thousands of Hmong guerrillas in a CIA-backed secret army in the Vietnam War, died in Clovis, California, at age 81.

Five years ago: North Korea said that it had conducted a powerful hydrogen bomb test, a claim greeted with widespread skepticism. Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Actor-comedian Pat Harrington Jr., 86, died in Los Angeles.

One year ago: Throngs of Iranians attended the funeral of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who’d been killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq; Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept while praying over the casket. Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said he was “prepared to testify” if subpoenaed by the Senate in its impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (The Senate voted against calling witnesses.) Facebook said it would ban “deepfake” videos, the false but realistic clips created with artificial intelligence, as it stepped up efforts to fight online manipulation. As he recovered from surgery on his injured hip, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said he would enter the NFL draft. (He would be the fifth player drafted, and was chosen by the Miami Dolphins.)

Today’s celebrity Birthdays: Country musician Joey Miskulin (Riders in the Sky) is 72. Former FBI director Louis Freeh is 71. Rock singer-musician Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) is 70. Singer Jett Williams is 68. Actor-comedian Rowan Atkinson is 66. World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez is 64. Actor Scott Bryce is 63. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kathy Sledge is 62. TV chef Nigella Lawson is 61. Rhythm-and-blues singer Eric Williams (BLACKstreet) is 61. Actor Norman Reedus is 52. TV personality Julie Chen is 51. Actor Danny Pintauro (TV: “Who’s the Boss?”) is 45. Actor Cristela Alonzo is 42. Actor Rinko Kikuchi (RINK’-oh kih-KOO’-chee) is 40. Actor Eddie Redmayne is 39. Retired NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas is 39. Actor-comedian Kate McKinnon is 37. Actor Diona Reasonover is 37. Rock singer Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) is 35.

Crazy News stories

MASSACHUSETTS LAWMAKER SEEKS PUBLIC HELP ON NAMING OFFICIAL STATE DINOSAUR

BOSTON (AP) — There are state flags, state songs, birds and mottos. But a state dinosaur? Actually there are 12 states that already have claimed a prehistoric creature as its own. And a Massachusetts lawmaker is trying to make his state the 13th. State representative Jack Lewis says he plans to file legislation next week to seek the public’s help in picking an official state dinosaur. But first, he wants residents to choose between two dinosaur species discovered in Massachusetts, one near Mount Holyoke, the other in Springfield. Lewis says picking a state dinosaur is a good way to get kids to learn more about the legislative process.

INDIANA COUNTY REPEALS WOODSTOCK-ERA LAW

LAGRANGE, Ind. (AP) — Remember the Woodstock festival in New York State in 1969? As fondly as it’s looked back on now, the idea of a large muddy gathering to promote peace, love and music didn’t sit well with some people back then. For example, LaGrange County, Indiana passed a law in 1971 to block large events like Woodstock. The ordinance put restrictions on events that ran more than 12 hours and drew more than 500 people. But now, county officials have repealed that law. County commissioner Dennis Kratz says repealing the “anti-hippie ordinance,” as he jokingly calls it, is part of an effort to get rid of laws that have been on the books for a long while — but now have no practical use.