/Wednesday US briefing: Republican wins Mississippis US Senate runoff

Wednesday US briefing: Republican wins Mississippis US Senate runoff


Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s headlines. If you’d like to receive this briefing by email, sign up here.

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Top story: Hyde-Smith victorious despite stirring of racial tensions

The Republican US senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has won her race for re-election in Mississippi, after a tense runoff during which she attracted national attention for a series of racially loaded remarks in a state with a notoriously complex racial history. In her victory speech on Tuesday, Hyde-Smith pledged to “always represent every Mississippian”, after defeating her Democrat challenger, Mike Espy, by a closer than expected 55% to 45%.

  • GOP majority. The final Senate result of the midterms, Hyde-Smith’s victory gives Republicans a 53-47 majority in the US Senate, a gain of two seats. Democrat TJ Cox has taken the lead in the last outstanding midterm House race, for California’s 21st district, where a win would mean a 40-seat gain for Democrats.

  • Pelosi passes. Democrats are expected to nominate Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker on Wednesday, in a secret, closed-door ballot that will cement her status at the top of the party, despite some vocal opposition to her leadership.

Obama slams Trump legal troubles amid Manafort revelations




Obama campaigns for Democrats during the midterms.



Obama campaigns for Democrats during the midterms. Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

Barack Obama has taken aim at his successor’s legal difficulties amid a series of new revelations about Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Speaking in Houston on Tuesday, the former US president noted that “not only did I not get indicted, nobody in my administration got indicted, which, by the way, was the only administration in modern history that that can be said about.”

Oshawa devastated by plans to close GM car plant




GM workers react to the news at a press conference with union leaders in Oshawa on Monday.



GM workers react to the news at a press conference with union leaders in Oshawa on Monday. Photograph: Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images

The Canadian city of Oshawa is struggling to come to terms with General Motors’ plan to close a car plant that is its biggest employer and at the core of its community identity. GM announced on Monday that it would shutter three facilities in North America, including Oshawa’s 10m sq ft assembly plant, which was once the largest car manufacturer in the world. One resident told Leyland Cecco: “This place has always thrived because of the plant. GM is Oshawa.”

  • Political backlash. Trump and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, have expressed disappointment at GM’s decision to close plants in Oshawa, Detroit and Lordstown, Ohio, at the cost of 14,700 jobs.

  • Deep roots. Oshawa’s junior hockey team, the Generals, gets its name from GM, its first sponsor. The city is also home to the Canadian Automotive Museum.

Trump officials accused of using wildfires to weaken regulations




Paradise lost: the Camp fire, the deadliest in California history, was finally contained this week.



Paradise lost: the Camp fire, the deadliest in California history, was finally contained this week. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Environmentalists have accused the Trump administration of being “dangerously dishonest” in their assessment of the California wildfires, and of using the tragedy to weaken environmental regulations for the benefit of logging interests. On a visit to the town of Paradise, which was devastated by the Camp fire, the interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, said he hoped new legislation would allow for the “thinning” of forests to help prevent future wildfires.

  • Fire risk. Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Guardian that the Trump administration’s “so-called solutions could actually worsen wildfire risk”.

Crib sheet

Must-reads



Knickers is a Holstein Friesian who stands head and shoulders above his herd.

Knickers is a Holstein Friesian who stands head and shoulders above his herd. Photograph: Geoff Pearson

How Knickers the giant steer went viral

He’s 6ft 4in tall and weighs 220 stone. Knickers the Holstein Friesian isn’t quite the world’s biggest cow, but as of this week he might be its most famous. His Australian owner, Geoff Pearson, tells Kate Lyons how the seven-year-old steer became a viral sensation.

California’s crackdown on sex work

California police have escalated their anti-trafficking efforts in recent months. But what that really means, sex workers and activists tell Sam Levin, is a greater risk of violence and suffering for the very women law enforcement claim to be rescuing.

Rachel Brosnahan: I try not to ever use the word ‘regret’

Midge Maisel, the protagonist of Amazon’s Emmy-winning comedy The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, wears her perky, can-do attitude as a disguise for her instinctive progressivism. Rachel Aroesti finds the same could be said of Rachel Brosnahan, the actor who plays her.

Florida’s seafood industry struggles after Hurricane Michael

Six weeks after Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle, the region’s seafood industry is still taking stock of the damage. Producers tell Richard Luscombe they fear their businesses will be affected for months, if not years.

Opinion

White resentment, entitlement and bigotry are closer to the political mainstream than they have been for decades, writes Keith Kahn-Harris. But the far-right’s so-called “supremacy” is actually an excuse to embrace moral degeneracy.


Trump’s brutal expression of his basest urges empowers and licenses a similar abandonment, among his followers, of any pretence that white dominance is unjustifiable.

Sports

A last-minute winner from Marouane Fellaini sent Manchester United through to the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The NFL and rugby authorities have found common ground when it comes to concussion research, with both sports concluding it is tacklers who are most at risk of head trauma. Ian McMahan reports.

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