Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier news editor
Asa Daniels, Campus Carrier staff writer
While students were on winter break, the news continued to flow and remind us that amidst our merriment, the world was indeed still functioning. We compiled the most important stories that happened over the winter break to remind and refresh students on what has happened in the world.
Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock narrowly won the two for the Ga. Senate seats during the Jan. 5 election run-off, replacing then sitting Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, according to the Washington Post. They were sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris.
Ossoff and Warnock provide the Democrat Party with the majority in the Senate, placing Charles Schumer as the Majority Leader. The Senate is split evenly between the number of democrats and republicans holding office, which has caused Schumer and the former Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to meet on ways to equalize power, possibly including equal seats on committees for both parties and the ability for tied committees to be sent to the Senate for consideration.
According to the afore mentioned Washington Post article, the election results are due to a combination of massive voter engagement by Black and Hispanic voters and former President Donald Trump’s frequent claims of voter fraud in Georgia’s presidential election last November. Former Ga. House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams has been specifically credited for the increased Democrat engagement, due to her two years of work promoting the party’s organization and voter turnout.
According to the New York times, Abrams has been building infrastructure. She has done so with her organization, Fair Fight, which she founded after losing the 2018 Ga. governor election. Abrams gave special thanks to the “organizers, volunteers, canvassers, and tireless groups” which played a role in bringing together the election results.
According to the BBC, four million Georgians participated in the election. Warnock won by 50.7% to 49.3% and Ossoff won by 50.28% to 49.72%.
Jan. 6 saw the occurrence of an insurrection in Washington D.C., with rioters storming the Capitol Congressional building while it was certifying the results of the 2020 Presidential Election, according to a New York Times article.
The riots began after a rally of Trump supporters turned violent and entered the Congressional building. Outnumbered Capitol Police used barricades and pepper spray to try and push back the rioters while elected officials sought shelter. According to CBS news, Eugene Goodman, a Capitol Police officer, led rioters on a chase away from the Senate floor in order to provide senate members time to evacuate the room.
Believers of QAnon and other right-wing groups were identified as being among the rioters at the capitol. Since the riots, arrests have been made of individuals identified as having been at the riots and connected with the violence that occurred that day. Five individuals died, including a Capitol Police officer and a woman who was among the rioters.
Since the riots, much of the blame has been put Trump, as well as Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri for opposing the election results declaring President Joe Biden as President of the United States. Others saw greater concern with the lack of preparation for security at the White House complex.
According the New York Times, there was minimal planning in the days ahead of the election confirmation, even though many right-wing social media outlets were posting about going to D.C. The initial security at the White House complex was overrun by rioters and had to request aid which was not already on standby.
This led to heightened concern for Biden’s inauguration, which saw increased security and National Guard troopers from various states providing support. The inauguration went smoothly without any incidents of violence.
Beginning Dec. 14, the United Kingdom and the United States began their process of administering the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. According to the BBC, the UK approved the vaccine and began roll out to elderly citizens first. Both countries created phases in which the vaccine will be administered to its citizens. As CNN stated in their live COVID-19 updates, these phases both began with administering the vaccine to healthcare workers and the elderly.
Since Dec. 14, Bloomberg reports that over 68.1 million doses of the vaccine have been administered worldwide, with 23.5 million of these doses administered in the United States. As of Jan. 26, Bloomberg estimated over 25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2019.
In the Georgia, the vaccine is still only available to healthcare workers and any individual over the age 65. Among these groups, a number of high-ranking officials have also received the vaccine as a push to show fearful Americans how safe the vaccine is, as AP News reports. These high-ranking individuals include President Joe Biden, former Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and others.
As January began, more and more Americans are fearful of the vaccine and have created conspiracy theories about the effects of the vaccine, according to Forbes. Since talk of the vaccine began, they are estimating over 60 percent of Americans are fearful to receive the vaccine. Forbes later stated that they believed this fear stemmed from the issues with the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial as well as misinformation from former President Donald Trump.
Currently, the United States continues through phase one of administering the vaccine and there has not been much talk of when phase two will begin. The CDC stated that phase two will include school teachers, most adults working in facilities that regularly see patients and people, and other older adults. They have not stated when this will begin.
Pop Culture News
Elon Musk became the world’s richest man, surpassing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for a net worth of roughly $185 billion, according to BBC news. During the beginning of January, Tesla stock market price soared, making the company’s net worth reach over $700 billion.
The social media platform, TikTok, made headlines as users created “Ratatouille, the TikTok musical” which generated over $2 million for the Actors Fund. The New York Times stated that the musical was conceived and created entirely by actors and actresses all on TikTok. Critics were skeptical of how the musical would do, but Playbill.com explained that the success of the show could provide jobless Broadway actors a newfound sense of creativity. As Playbill.com stated, if Ratatousical was a success, it could open the door for many other creators to create in the midst of the closure of Broadway, allowing them to continue using their skills and sharing their passions for theatre.
Singer Olivia Rodrigo released “Driver’s License” on Jan. 8, sparking drama between her fellow co-star Joshua Bassett and singer Sabrina Carpenter. The New York Post reported that the song caused controversary as it inadvertently mentions Carpenter and her alleged relationship with Bassett. Carpenter later released her song “Skin,” which the New York Post explained might be a response to Rodrigo’s song “Driver’s License.”