News Blitz: Jan. 14, 2021

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National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not ruling out that he might vote to convict the now twice-impeached President Donald Trump. The Kentucky Republican is blocking a quick Senate trial of Trump. But he’s told colleagues he’s not made up his mind about how he’ll vote whenever that trial begins. McConnell is Washington’s most influential Republican. The trial probably won’t begin till around Jan. 20. That’s around when Democrats will take majority control of the chamber and the day of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House over the violent siege of the Capitol. He is the only president to be twice impeached. He faced a single charge “incitement of insurrection” in Wednesday’s vote after he encouraged a mob of loyalists to, as he put it, “fight like hell” against election results. The subsequent attack on the U.S. Capitol turned deadly and delayed finalizing Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory. Security was exceptionally tight at the Capitol for Wednesday’s vote, beefed up by armed National Guard troops, with secure perimeters set up and metal-detector screenings required for lawmakers entering the House chamber. A handful of Republicans supported impeachment along with the Democrats.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 8,000-mile Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird says he discovered the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard in December had disappeared from a race in Oregon two months earlier. Experts suspect the pigeon, named Joe after the president-elect, hitched a ride on a cargo ship. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention of Australian media but also of the notoriously strict quarantine authorities. Celli-Bird says they asked him to catch the bird because they considered it a disease risk. He says the American Racing Pigeon Union confirmed it was registered to an owner in Montgomery, Alabama.

Louisiana News

UNDATED (AP) — Louisiana bar owners have lost an appeal in their fight to end Gov. John Bel Edwards’ closure coronavirus-related closures of their businesses. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld rulings from two lower court judges who had refused to block the closure order for groups of bars that filed suit in the New Orleans and Lafayette areas. Edwards said he was pleased with the decision. In a news release, his office said it was the ninth time a court has ruled in favor of his orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana saw its fifth annual drop in health insurance enrollment through the individual marketplace set up through President Barack Obama’s federal health overhaul law. The Advocate reports that enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s individual market fell to about 83,000 this year, down from nearly 88,000 policyholders last year. The program offers income-based, taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance plans for people who aren’t covered on the job. Louisiana’s decline is part of a national trend. Enrollment across the country dropped from 8.28 million to 8.25 million in the 38 states that, like Louisiana, use the federal HealthCare.gov website for the individual marketplace.

Texas News

HOUSTON (AP) — State health officials say Texas coronavirus cases have now topped 2 million since the pandemic first struck the state in early March. Meanwhile, a backlog of pre-holiday death certificates swelled the state’s daily coronavirus death count to unprecedented levels Wednesday. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 405 deaths on Wednesday from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. That total includes a backlog of death certificates dating from Dec. 8 to Jan. 11. Department spokesman Douglas Lovelady says the record number of COVID-19 death occurring in Texas in one day remains 278 deaths on July 23.

DALLAS (AP) — Texas’ solicitor general who didn’t join embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton’s failed efforts to overturn the 2020 election results is resigning. Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins didn’t say why he was leaving in a statement Wednesday but praised Paxton as a “stalwart advocate for Texas.” Still, the departure continues a dramatic shakeup of Paxton’s office that began in September when his top deputies accused the Republican of bribery and abuse of office on behalf of a donor. All eight of his accusers have since quit or been fired, and their accusations are the focus of an FBI investigation into Paxton.

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston’s police chief says an officer is being investigated for possibly taking part in the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Wednesday that the officer has been placed on administrative leave and will face a disciplinary review hearing on Friday. Acevedo did not identify the 18-year veteran with the department. Acevedo says the officer was within his rights when he attended a rally in support of President Donald Trump, but that authorities have determined the officer later “penetrated the Capitol.” The Houston Police Officers’ Union has not returned a call seeking comment.

DALLAS (AP) — Federal officials say a West Texas flower shop owner who posted a video on Facebook bragging about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office being broken into during the U.S. Capitol riot last week has been arrested. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio says the FBI arrested Jenny Cudd and another Midland resident, Eliel Rosa, on Wednesday. They appeared in court Wednesday and each is charged with entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. Cudd has told The Associated Press she didn’t personally go into Pelosi’s office and that she didn’t do anything violent or destroy any property.

Arkansas News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas lawmaker has tested positive for the coronavirus days into this year’s legislative. A House spokeswoman said Rep. Milton Nicks told the chamber’s speaker Wednesday he tested positive for the virus. The spokeswoman said Nicks had minor symptoms. Nicks is the 22nd Arkansas state legislator to test positive since the virus began. Nicks was at the Capitol on Monday for the start of the session and video indicated he was listed as present when lawmakers met Tuesday for the governor’s State of the State address. Arkansas on Wednesday reported 65 more deaths from the virus.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas Senate panel has advanced legislation loosening restrictions on the use of deadly force in self defense, two years after failing before the same committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed the proposal that would remove the state’s duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense. The measure now heads to the majority-Republican Senate. The proposal failed before the same committee two years ago but was widely expected to win approval Wednesday, with five of the bill’s sponsors holding seats on the eight-person panel.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An anti-abortion group’s annual march in downtown Little Rock has been postponed over concerns about the coronavirus and potential unrest outside the Arkansas Capitol. Arkansas Right to Life announced on Tuesday it won’t hold its annual March for Life on Sunday as originally planned. The event is held every year to mark the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. The announcement comes days after the FBI warned of armed rallies at the U.S. Capitol and all 50 state capitols in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The man identified as the rioter photographed sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office chair during last week’s Capitol insurrection will remain in custody pending a Friday hearing. Richard Barnett appeared Tuesday before a federal magistrate judge to hear his charges. Among them is a charge that he unlawfully entered a restricted area with a lethal weapon — in this case, a stun gun. The 60-year-old Gravette, Arkansas, man also is charged with disorderly conduct and theft of public property. Barnett’s attorney said his client conceded the validity of the warrant against him but offered no further comment.

Sports

Men’s College Basketball

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Mac McClung made a long jumper with 3 seconds left and No. 15 Texas Tech rallied to beat No. 4 Texas 79-77 on Wednesday night, ending the Longhorns’ perfect start in the Big 12. Texas led almost the entire game and a blistering start against one of the top defensive teams in the country had the Longhorns in control before a sloppy finish and a flurry of late Texas Tech 3-pointers snatched the win for the Red Raiders. McClung’s shot was originally ruled a 3-pointer before a video review. Texas had a final chance, but Matt Coleman’s desperation 3-pointer never came close to the basket. Coleman also missed a shot in traffic for the lead with 17 seconds left. McClung finished with 22 points.

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Emanuel Miller and Andre Gordon each scored five points during Texas A&M’s closing 12-5 run as the Aggies beat Mississippi State 56-55. The Aggies (7-4, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) snapped a two-game skid while Mississippi State (8-5, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) had its two-game win streak end. Jay Jay Chandler scored 12 points off the bench to lead Texas A&M. Gordon finished with 11 points and Miller had 10 points and eight rebounds. Iverson Molinar, whose 19.2 points per game is third in the SEC, had 16 points to lead the Bulldogs.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Trendon Watford scored 23 points, Cam Thomas added 17, combining for 24 points in a dominating first half, and LSU rolled to a 92-76 victory over Arkansas. The Tigers made six 3-pointers and shot 50% (18 of 36) in racing to a 51-31 halftime lead with Watford scoring 13 points and Thomas 11. LSU shot 55% in the second half (16 of 29) to maintain the lead. Darius Days scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Tigers. 0JD Notae led the Razorbacks (10-3, 2-3) with 22 points.

UNDATED (AP) — College basketball coaches have dropped the traditional game day attire of coats, ties and dress slacks in favor of polos, quarter-zips and warmup pants. The trend started over the summer with NBA coaches who went casual during the pandemic. Men’s and women’s coaches say they’re more comfortable. The personal tailor for Villanova’s Jay Wright says he doesn’t like the change. Gabriele D’Annunzio says coaches need to look the part. But many coaches say they will never go back to suits.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (AP) — Cameron Johnson had 21 points as Stephen F. Austin romped past Central Arkansas 95-69. Rylan Bergersen led the Bears with 19 points.

HAMMOND, La. (AP) — Keon Clergeot had a career-high 26 points as Southeastern Louisiana topped Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 76-63. Nolan Bertain led the Islanders with a career-high 20 points.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Keaston Willis had 28 points as UIW romped past McNeese State 83-61. Carlos Rosario led the Cowboys with 19 points.

NBA

UNDATED (AP) — Disgruntled All-Star guard James Harden is joining the Brooklyn Nets following a four-team deal involving the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers. A person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity says Harden is leaving the Rockets just a day after saying the team wasn’t good enough to beat elite competition. The person also says Victor Oladipo (oh-lah-DEE’-poh) goes from Indiana to Houston, Caris Levert heads from Brooklyn to Indiana and the Cavaliers will get Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets in a deal that includes at least four draft picks and additional pick swaps.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Luka Doncic had 34 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and a career-high four blocks, Kristaps Porzingis scored 16 points in his return from a knee injury and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Charlotte Hornets 104-93 on Wednesday night. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18 points to help Rick Carlisle become the 16th coach in NBA history to win 800 games. The Mavericks have won four straight after opening 2-4. Terry Rozier had 18 points to lead the Hornets. They shot 38% from the field and had their four-game winning streak snapped. Porzingis played for the first time since having knee surgery in October.

UNDATED (AP) — The Phoenix Suns are dealing with contact tracing that has forced the postponement of last night’s game against Atlanta and tomorrow’s contest versus Golden State. In addition, Tomorrow’s game between the Pistons and Washington in Detroit has been postponed amid contact tracing among the Wizards. Eight NBA games have been scrubbed since Sunday.

NFL

UNDATED (AP) — Browns top cornerback Denzel Ward is back with the team after missing Cleveland’s past two games with COVID-19. Ward was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list along with cornerback Kevin Johnson as the Browns began practicing for Sunday’s playoff game at Kansas City against the top-seeded Chiefs. If he can play, Ward would give Cleveland’s secondary a major boost as it faces Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his numerous offensive weapons.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan says New Orleans’ defensive line sees its ability to pressure Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady as a potentially decisive factor when the teams meet in the playoffs this weekend. The Saints won both regular season meetings by double digits. That included a 38-3 rout in Week 9. Saints coach Sean Payton says the Saints’ defensive line had a “significant” role in those victories. New Orleans sacked Brady six times in the first two games and forced him into a number of inaccurate throws that resulted in five interceptions.

MLB

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers have signed right-handed pitcher Justin Anderson and veteran catcher Drew Butera to minor league contracts that include invitations to major league spring training. Butera got a one-year deal that will be worth $1 million if the 37-year-old is on the big league roster after he played the past two-plus seasons with Colorado. The 28-year-old Anderson is recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery last July. He got a two-year minor league deal that would be worth $850,000 in the majors.

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Jan. 14, the 14th day of 2021. There are 351 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 14, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and French General Charles de Gaulle opened a wartime conference in Casablanca.

On this date:

In 1784, the United States ratified the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War; Britain followed suit in April 1784.

In 1858, Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, and his wife, Empress Eugenie, escaped an assassination attempt led by Italian revolutionary Felice (fay-LEE’-chay) Orsini, who was later captured and executed.

In 1914, Ford Motor Co. greatly improved its assembly-line operation by employing an endless chain to pull each chassis along at its Highland Park, Michigan, plant.

In 1963, George C. Wallace was sworn in as governor of Alabama with the pledge, “Segregation forever!” — a view Wallace later repudiated.

In 1964, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, in a brief televised address, thanked Americans for their condolences and messages of support following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, nearly two months earlier.

In 1968, the Green Bay Packers of the NFL defeated the AFL’s Oakland Raiders, 33-14, in the second AFL-NFL World Championship game (now referred to as Super Bowl II).

In 1970, Diana Ross and the Supremes performed their last concert together, at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

In 1972, the situation comedy “Sanford and Son,” starring Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson, premiered on NBC-TV.

In 1975, the House Internal Security Committee (formerly the House Un-American Activities Committee) was disbanded.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed an accord to stop aiming missiles at any nation; the leaders joined Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk in signing an accord to dismantle the nuclear arsenal of Ukraine.

In 2010, President Barack Obama and the U.S. moved to take charge in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, dispatching thousands of troops along with tons of aid.

In 2013, Lance Armstrong ended a decade of denial by confessing to Oprah Winfrey during a videotaped interview that he’d used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.

Ten years ago: In an unprecedented popular uprising, Tunisian protesters enraged over soaring unemployment and corruption drove President Zine El Abdine Ben Ali (ZEEN ehl AH’-bih-deen behn-ah-LEE’) from power after 23 years of iron-fisted rule. A funeral was held for U.S. District Judge John Roll, who was among six people killed in the Tucson, Arizona, shooting rampage that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The national Republican Party ousted chairman Michael Steele and chose Wisconsin party chief Reince Priebus (ryns PREE’-bus) to lead in the run-up to the 2012 presidential race.

Five years ago: During a Republican presidential debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz clashed over the Texas senator’s eligibility to serve as commander in chief and the businessman’s “New York values.” Chicago city attorneys released a grainy 2013 surveillance video showing the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old Black carjacking suspect by a white police officer. Attackers set off suicide bombs and exchanged gunfire outside a Starbucks cafe in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta in a brazen assault that left seven people dead. Actor Alan Rickman, 69, died in London. Rene Angelil, 73, singer Celine Dion’s husband and manager, died at his suburban Las Vegas home.

One year ago: As House Democrats prepared to send articles of impeachment to the Senate for the trial of President Donald Trump, they released a trove of documents obtained from a close associate of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, including a handwritten note that mentioned asking Ukraine’s president to investigate “the Biden case.” Iran said authorities had made arrests for the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane by an Iranian missile. “Jeopardy” viewers saw veteran Ken Jennings beat James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter to capture the $1 million prize in the fourth night of the show’s “Greatest of All Time” tournament.

Today’s Celebrity Birthdays: Blues singer Clarence Carter is 85. Singer Jack Jones is 83. Actor Faye Dunaway is 80. Actor Holland Taylor is 78. Actor Carl Weathers is 73. Singer-producer T-Bone Burnett is 73. Movie writer-director Lawrence Kasdan is 72. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Maureen Dowd is 69. Rock singer Geoff Tate (Queensryche) is 62. Movie writer-director Steven Soderbergh is 58. Actor Mark Addy is 57. Former Fox News Channel anchorman Shepard Smith is 57. Actor/producer Dan Schneider is 57. Rapper Slick Rick is 56. Actor Emily Watson is 54. Actor-comedian Tom Rhodes is 54. Rock musician Zakk Wylde is 54. Rapper-actor LL Cool J is 53. Actor Jason Bateman is 52. Rock singer-musician Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) is 52. Actor Kevin Durand is 47. Actor Jordan Ladd is 46. Actor Ward Horton is 45. Actor Emayatzy Corinealdi is 41. Retro-soul singer-songwriter Marc Broussard is 39. Rock singer-musician Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon) is 39. Actor Zach Gilford is 39. Actor Jake Choi is 36. Actor Jonathan Osser is 32. Actor-singer Grant Gustin is 31. Singer/guitarist Molly Tuttle is 28.

Bobby D’s Sleaze

 

HOT SAUCE PLEDGE

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Because of a promise that came out of his mouth, a UConn fan had to put something into his mouth — something that burned his mouth. It all started last week when Bryan Jackson watched his beloved Huskies slip to an 18-point deficit to Marquette at halftime. What’s worse, the Huskies had lost their top player to injury. So Jackson went on Twitter and promised he’d drink a spoonful of hot sauce if the Huskies came back to win. That’s exactly what happened; the Huskies rallied to victory. And that meant Jackson had to make good on his pledge. So, Jackson posted another tweet, this one showing him downing a large spoonful of Black Bison hot sauce. He then took another swig from the bottle, all the while chanting U-C-O-N-N, UConn, Uconn, Uconn.

EAT WORMS?

ROME (AP) — People use worms to catch fish — and people eat what they catch. So the European Union is suggesting, why not cut out the middleman? The E.U.’s food safety agency says there’s nothing wrong with people eating worms. The agency has put out a scientific opinion on the safety of munching dried yellow mealworms. The verdict: they’re good to eat as a protein-rich snack. For those whose tummies might turn at the mere thought of picking up a worm and feeling it slither down your gullet, there’s good news. Researchers say the yellow mealworms pack as much of a nutritional punch in powdered form — as they do if you gulp them down whole.