In our news wrap Tuesday, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is tapped to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the E.U.'s executive body calls for an end to travel bans aimed at confining a new COVID-19 strain in Britain, China imposes new visa limits on unnamed U.S. officials, and the Justice Department sues Walmart for fueling the opioid crisis.
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In the day's other news: California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will be the first Latino to represent the state in the United States Senate.
Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Padilla today to succeed fellow Democrat Kamala Harris. She is vacating the seat in order to become vice president. Her unexpired Senate term runs through 2022.
Israel has called a new election for March. That's the fourth in less than two years. The country's coalition government collapsed tonight in a budget feud. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will now face challenges from fellow far right politicians and from the center-left. At the same time, he is on trial for corruption.
France has now lifted its ban on trucks entering Britain after trying to confine a new variant of COVID-19 identified in the U.K. But drivers must first test negative for COVID. Hundreds of trucks had been waiting nearly channel ports in England after France barred their entry. The stoppage had raised the potential of food shortages in Britain and left the truckers frustrated.
Meanwhile, Pfizer's German partner BioNTech voiced confidence that its vaccine will work against the new variant of the virus.
Protests ramped up in Armenia today, demanding the prime minister resign over a military defeat by neighboring Azerbaijan. Armenia surrendered much of disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory and surrounding areas after 44 days of fighting.
Today, thousands of protesters packed Yerevan, which is the Armenian capital. They set up tents around government buildings as police looked on.
Back in this country, the U.S. Justice Department accused Walmart of illegal actions that fueled the opioid crisis. The government's lawsuit said that the giant retailer sold thousands of prescriptions that it knew were invalid. Walmart claims that it is being blamed for federal failures to police opioids.
On Wall Street, Congress' long-awaited passage of COVID relief did little to excite the market. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 201 points to close at 30015. The Nasdaq rose 65 points, but the S&P 500 slipped seven.
And in Spain, some 20 ticket holders have won top prizes, $489,000 each, in the annual Christmas lottery known as El Gordo, or The Fat One. Keeping with tradition, children from a Madrid school called out the winning numbers today. Lottery workers celebrated at a shop that sold a winning ticket. The drawing dates to 1763.
Nice to have something to celebrate for a change.