The Rundown for December 1, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 13,536,217 and the nation’s death toll stands at 268,016, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… President Trump’s special adviser on the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Scott Atlas, resigned yesterday. Atlas joined the White House Coronavirus Task Force in August amid ongoing tensions between the president, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. Atlas’ expertise is in magnetic resonance and he has no expertise in public health or infectious diseases.

FINAL 2 SWING STATES CERTIFY BIDEN AS WINNER… Arizona and Wisconsin yesterday became the final of the six swing states to certify Joe Biden as the winner in their states’ presidential elections. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada and Georgia have also certified Biden as the winner. Georgia is still undergoing a recount, but it is not expected to affect the result. Biden won the state by more than 12,000 votes.

BIDEN TEAM FILLS ECONOMIC POSTS… President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team yesterday announced several nominees and appointments for the incoming administration’s top economic posts. The transition team confirmed that former Fed Chair Janet Yellen would be Biden’s official nominee for Treasury secretary. The Biden team nominated Cecilia Rouse, one of the nation’s top labor economists, to serve as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. Also named to positions at the CEA were economists Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey.

AJIT PAI LEAVING AS FCC CHAIR… Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has announced plans to step down on January 20. Pai will be forever remembered or his role in the 2017 repeal of net neutrality, which prevented internet service providers from interfering with the speed of a website’s web traffic. His departure will leave the FCC board with a 2-1 Democratic majority.

DOW HAS BEST MONTH IN MORE THAN 30 YEARS… The Dow Jones Industrial Average has just recorded its best single month in more than 30 years despite falling more than 200 points yesterday. The Dow climbed 11.7 percent in November, which was its best monthly performance since January 1987. The S&P 500 rose 10.5 percent and the Nasdaq grew 11.4 percent. The rise in stocks was attributed to results of the 2020 presidential election and the announcement of multiple vaccine candidates reporting high efficacy.

ENTERTAINMENT
KELLY CLARKSON GETS PRIMARY CUSTODY OF KIDS
… Kelly Clarkson has won primary physical custody of her children with her ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock. Court documents reveal that the two will share joint physical and legal custody of their children 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. Clarkson filed divorce papers in June. The couple married in 2013.

ACTRESS ABBY DALTON DIES… Actress Abby Dalton, who starred on the 1960s sitcoms “Hennesey” and “The Joey Bishop Show” before re-energizing her career two decades later in the primetime soap “Falcon Crest,” died last week after a lengthy illness, her family confirmed yesterday. She was 88. Dalton was an original and longtime panelist on “The Hollywood Squares,” which premiered on NBC in 1966. She worked for two seasons on the CBS sketch comedy program “The Jonathan Winters Show” and portrayed Calamity Jane opposite Don Murray and Guy Stockwell in the 1966 film “The Plainsman.”

SPORTS
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Seattle 23 – PHILADELPHIA 17
… Russell Wilson hit David Moore from 1 yard out and Chris Carson ran 16 yards for second-quarter touchdowns and the Seahawks (7-3) fought off the Eagles (3-6-1). Defensively, Seattle sacked Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz six times.

TOMORROW’S NFL SCHEDULE
Baltimore (6-4) is at Pittsburgh (10-0)

NFL NEWS… The NFL has suspended Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V and cornerback Bradley Roby six games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Fuller said the violation was a result of his taking prescribed medication not permitted under the policy. Roby said that he “unknowingly used a product that was contaminated with a banned substance by the NFL.” Both suspensions will start with the last five games of this season, and end with the first of the 2021 season.

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 14 North Carolina 78, UNLV 51 (Maui Invitational)…
No. 17 Texas 78, Davidson 76 (Maui Invitational)

The Rundown for November 30, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 13,382,681 and the nation’s death toll stands at 266,847, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The number of new cases in the U.S. yesterday topped 100,000 for the 27th consecutive day. Hospitalizations reached a record high of 93,238 for the second straight day yesterday… The nation’s leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned yesterday that the U.S. may see a “surge upon a surge” of cases in the weeks following Thanksgiving. Fauci said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that vaccines for the virus offered a “light at the end of the tunnel,” with the first inoculations likely to be given to healthcare workers next month… New York City public elementary schools will begin reopening on December 7, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday. The nation’s largest public school system closed on November 19 when the city reached a seven-day COVID-19 testing positivity average of 3 percent, but de Blasio said that metric will no longer be used. Middle and high schools will remain closed.

SCHUMER PUTS VACCINE-DISTRIBUTION COST AT $30B… Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a brief press conference yesterday that it will cost $30 billion in federal funds to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. He offered the figure while legislative negotiations over an economic relief bill remain stalled. “This should be a moment of clarity for everyone,” Schumer said. “This is a huge crisis and we need big relief.”

WISCONSIN CONFIRMS BIDEN WIN… Wisconsin’s recount has confirmed Joe Biden’s defeat of President Trump in the presidential election. Dane County reported a 45-vote gain for Trump. Milwaukee County announced a 132-vote gain for Biden in results released on Friday. Biden won Wisconsin by approximately 20,000 votes. President Trump’s requested recount in Georgia came to a temporary halt last night when a server in Fulton County crashed.

BIDEN NAMES COMMUNICATIONS STAFF… President-elect Joe Biden has filled out his senior communications staff with an all-woman team. Jen Psaki has been named White House Press Secretary; Kate Bedingfield was named White House Communications director; Symone D. Sanders has been named Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s spokesperson; Karine Jean-Pierre was named Deputy Press Secretary; Pili Tobar has been named Deputy White House Communications Director; Ashley Etienne was named Harris’s communication director; and Elizabeth Alexander has been named communications director for the First Lady, Jill Biden. Meanwhile, Biden is expected to spend the next several weeks walking in a boot after suffering a minor fracture in his foot. The injury reportedly occurred Saturday while Biden was playing with “Major,” the younger of his two dogs.

UTAH ‘MONOLITH’ DISAPPEARS… Officials confirmed yesterday that the mysterious object dubbed the “monolith” has disappeared from the southern Utah desert. The 12-foot-long tri-cornered beam was sighted two weeks ago by wildlife biologists counting bighorn sheep from a helicopter. The object’s discovery garnered national and international attention and theories as to how it ended up on federal land in the middle of nowhere.

ENTERTAINMENT
DARTH VADER ACTOR DIES
… David “Dave” Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died after a short illness, his agent confirmed yesterday. He was 85. Before becoming a character actor in the mid-1960s, Prowse had been a bodybuilder and weightlifter. His first role in a major film was as Frankenstein’s Monster in the 1967’s “Casino Royale.” He also made appearances in “A Clockwork Orange” and a variety of horror films.

BTS TOPS ALBUM CHART… BTS’ “Be” sold 242,000 copies to give the K-pop group its fifth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Megan Thee Stallion’s “Good News” finished in second place with 100,500 units sold. Ariana Grande’s “Positions” jumped into third place on sales of 61,000 copies. Pop Smoke’s “Stars Aim for the Moon” rose to No. 4 with 52,000 units sold. Future and Lil Uzi Vert’s “Pluto x Baby Pluto” dropped to fifth place after selling 46,000 copies.

SPORTS
NFL SCORES

ATLANTA 43 – Las Vegas 6
… The Falcons (4-7) forced five turnovers in their dismantling of the Raiders (6-5). Deion Jones returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown. Matt Ryan threw two short scoring passes.

BUFFALO 27 – L.A. Chargers 17… The Bills (8-3) overcame sloppy play offensively to hold of the Chargers (3-8). Josh Allen threw 2 yards for a touchdown and ran 3 yards for another. Wide receiver Cole Beasley hit Gabriel Davis with a 20-yard scoring toss.

N.Y. Giants 19 – CINCINNATI 17… The Giants (4-7) fought off the Bengals (2-8-1) after losing quarterback Daniel Jones to a hamstring injury in the second quarter. Wayne Gallman Jr. ran 1 yard for touchdown on fourth-and-goal in the first quarter. Graham Gano booted four field goals to 49 yards.

Tennessee 45 – INDIANAPOLIS 26… Derrick Henry rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Titans (8-3) to a romp over the Colts (7-4). Ryan Tannehill connected with A.J. Brown on a 69-yard scoring toss and ran for a T.D. Brown returned an onside kick 42 yards for a score.

MINNESOTA 28 – Carolina 27… Kirk Cousins’ 10-yard touchdown pass to Chad Beebe with 40 seconds remaining lifted the Vikings (5-6) over the Panthers (4-8). Carolina kicker Joey Slye missed a 54-yard field goal try with 1 second left. Cousins went 34 for 45 for 307 yards and three scores.

NEW ENGLAND 20 – Arizona 17.. Nick Folk kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired to send the Patriots (5-6) past the Cardinals (6-5). James White ran for a pair of touchdowns.

Miami 20 – N.Y. JETS 3… Ryan Fitzpatrick got the start at quarterback in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa and threw a pair of touchdown passes as the Dolphins (7-4) topped the Jets (0-11).

Cleveland 27 – JACKSONVILLE 25… The Browns (8-3) remained in the playoff picture by holding off the Jaguars (1-10). Baker Mayield passed for 258 yards and found Jarvis Landry with a touchdown pass. Landry had eight receptions for 143 yards. Nick Chubb rushed for 144 yards and a score.

New Orleans 31 – DENVER 3… The Saints (9-2) cruised past a Broncos (4-7) team that was without all four quarterbacks due to Covid. Latavius Murray ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Taysom Hill also had two scoring runs. Defensively, New Orleans held Denver to just 112 total yards.

San Francisco 23 – L.A. RAMS 20… Robbie Gould’s 42-yard field goal as time expired gave the 49ers (5-6) a hard-fought win over the Rams (7-4). Raheem Mostert ran 8 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. Javon Kinlaw returned an interception 27 yards for a second-quarter score.

Kansas City 27 – TAMPA BAY 24… Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill were unstoppable in leading the Chiefs (10-1) past the Buccaneers (7-5). Mahomes passed for 462 yards and hit Hill with three of his four touchdown passes. Hill had 13 receptions for 269 yards.

GREEN BAY 41 – Chicago 25… Aaron Rodgers passed for 211 yards and hit four different receivers with touchdown passes as the Packers (5-6) topped the Bears (8-3). Rodgers’ final touchdown throw of the night made him the 11th player in NFL history with at least 50,000 career yards passing.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Seattle (7-3) is at Philadelphia (3-6-1)

TOMORROW’S NFL SCHEDULE
Baltimore (6-4) is at Pittsburgh (10-0)

AP TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS… Alabama received all 62 first-place votes to remain No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll for the second consecutive week. Notre Dame, Ohio State, Clemson and Texas A&M were also in the top five. The top eight teams in the rankings were unchanged for the fourth straight week.

No. 1 Alabama
No. 2 Notre Dame
No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 Clemson
No. 5 Texas A&M
No. 6 Florida
No. 7 Cincinnati
No. 8 BYU
No. 9 Miami
No. 10 Indiana
No. 11 Georgia
No. 12 Iowa State
No. 13 Oklahoma
No. 14 Coastal Carolina
No. 15 Marshall
No. 16 Northwestern
No. 17 USC
No. 18 Wisconsin
No. 19 Oklahoma State
No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette
No. 21 Oregon
No. 22 Tulsa
No. 23 Washington
No. 24 Iowa
No. 25 Liberty

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 2 Baylor 86, Washington 52 (Las Vegas)…
Richmond 76, No. 10 KENTUCKY 64…
No. 11 CREIGHTON 69, North Dakota State 58…
No. 17 Houston 64, No. 14 Texas Tech 53 (Southwest Showcase)…
No. 18 ARIZONA STATE 100, Houston Baptist 77…
No. 23 OHIO STATE 74, Massachusetts-Lowell 64…
No. 24 RUTGERS 70, Hofstra 56…
No. 25 MICHIGAN 81, Oakland 71

The Rundown for November 27, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,879,762 and the nation’s death toll stands at 263,413, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Health officials fear that the rising number of deaths could reach levels initially seen in the spring, when the pandemic first hit the U.S. More than 2,300 deaths were reported on Wednesday, which marked a 57-percent increase over the 14-day average. Officials warn that daily deaths could double within a matter of days.

AMERICANS CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING… Americans marked a Thanksgiving Day holiday yesterday amid the ongoing pandemic. Nearly 6 million Americans traveled by air prior to the holiday despite political leaders and health officials discouraging travel or large gatherings. The number of air travelers is less than half of the same period last year. The traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City was scaled back significantly. The route was reduced from 2-1/2 miles to one block and balloon handlers were replaced by specially rigged vehicles. Spectators were forbidden from lining the streets.

COURT BLOCKS NEW YORK COVID RESTRICTIONS… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday called Wednesday night’s Supreme Court decision blocking coronavirus restrictions imposed on religious gatherings “irrelevant.” The High Court voted 5-4 in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish congregations that had sought an injunction to block the restrictions from being enforced. Cuomo said the high court’s ruling would have no impact on the state’s virus control efforts because the red zone status for the area in question had expired last week.

TRUMP SAYS HE’LL LEAVE WHITE HOUSE IF BIDEN GETS EC VOTES… President Trump came as close as he has come to conceding the presidential election yesterday when he said he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden. Trump maintained it would be hard for him to concede under the current circumstances, however, and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration. Biden won the election with 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. Electors are scheduled to meet on December 14 to formalize the outcome. Biden also leads Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote tally.

MEXICO INVESTIGATES WAL-MART… Mexico’s anti-monopoly commission signaled yesterday that it has launched a formal investigation into Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary. While the Federal Economic Competition Commission did not identify its target, Wal-Mart de Mexico told investors earlier this week that it has been notified that it is that target of an investigation. The commission has publicly revealed that it is looking into possible monopolistic practices in wholesale and retail goods distribution and sales.

ENTERTAINMENT
ALEX TREBEK DELIVERS RECORDED MESSAGE
… “Jeopardy!” yesterday day aired a Thanksgiving message that had been pre-recorded by former host Alex Trebek prior to his death earlier this month. Trebek succumbed to his battle with pancreatic cancer on November 8 at age 80. The final episodes that he recorded is scheduled to air the week of January 4, 2021.

MADS MIKKELSEN REPLACES JOHNNY DEPP IN NEST ‘BEASTS’ FILM… Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has been tapped to replace Johnny Depp in the next “Fantastic Beasts” film. Warner Bros. The 55-year-old Mikkelsen is best known for his roles in the James Bond film “Casino Royale,” “Hannibal” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” He will portray the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the third “Fantastic Beasts” installment, which is currently in production outside London. Its release date is set for July 15, 2022.

SPORTS
NFL SCORES

Houston 41 – DETROIT 25
… Deshaun Watson passed for 318 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Texans (4-7) past the Lions (4-7). Will Fuller had six catches for 171 yards and two scores. Defensive end J.J. Watt returned a first-quarter interception 19 yards for a TD.

Washington 41 – DALLAS 16… Antonio Gibson rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns as Washington (4-7) rolled past the Cowboys (3-8). Montez Sweat intercepted an Andy Daulton pass and returned it 15 yards for a score.

SUNDAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
the N.Y. Giants (3-7) are at Cincinnati (2-7-1)…
Atlanta (3-7) hosts Las Vegas (6-4)…
Arizona (6-4) is at New England (4-6)…
Jacksonville (1-9) hosts Cleveland (7-3)…
Carolina (4-7) is at Minnesota (4-6)…
Buffalo (7-3) hosts the L.A. Chargers (3-7)…
Miami (6-4) is at the N.Y. Jets (0-10)…
Indianapolis (7-3) hosts Tennessee (7-3)…
Baltimore (6-4) is at Pittsburgh (10-0)…
Denver (4-6) hosts New Orleans (8-2)…
San Francisco (4-6) is at the L.A. Rams (7-3)…
Tampa Bay (7-3) hosts Kansas City (9-1)…
Chicago (5-5) is at Green Bay (7-3)

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Seattle (7-3) is at Philadelphia (3-6-1)

TODAY’S TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
No. 2 Notre Dame is at No. 19 North Carolina…
No. 13 Iowa State is at No. 17 Texas…
No. 15 Oregon is at Oregon State…
No. 24 Iowa hosts Nebraska

SATURDAY’S TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
No. 1 Alabama hosts No. 22 Auburn…
No. 3 Clemson hosts Pittsburgh…
No. 4 Ohio State is at Illinois…
No. 5 Texas A&M hosts LSU…
No. 6 Florida hosts Kentucky…
No. 8 Northwestern is at Michigan State…
No. 9 Georgia is at South Carolina…
No. 12 Indiana hosts Maryland…
No. 16 Wisconsin hosts Minnesota…
No. 18 USC hosts Colorado…
No. 20 Coastal Carolina is at Texas State…
No. 23 Oklahoma State hosts Texas Tech…
No. 25 Tulsa is at Houston

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 1 Gonzaga 102, Kansas 90…
No. 3 Villanova 83, Arizona State 74…
No. 8 Illinois 97, Chicago State 38…
No. 15 West Virginia 78, VCU 66

The Rundown for November 26, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,772,653 and the nation’s death toll stands at 262,222, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… There more than 2,000 deaths reported yesterday for the first time since May… the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, made a “final plea” yesterday for Americans to follow COVID-19 guidelines this Thanksgiving.

STATE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES TRANSITION UNDERWAY… The State Department has informed White House staff that the transition process has begun and a team is supporting the turnover to the incoming Biden administration. The news comes after weeks of Trump campaign legal challenges to the election results. President-elect Joe Biden yesterday called for an end to the “grim season of division” in a Thanksgiving speech. He said Americans were at war with coronavirus, not each other.

TRUMP PARDONS FLYNN… President Trump announced yesterday that he has “granted a Full Pardon” to his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI during its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. At the time, Trump tweeted that he fired Flynn because he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence.

MANHATTAN DA SEEKS TO CHARGE MANAFORT… The Manhattan District Attorney is once again seeking mortgage fraud charges against President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort after failing twice in lower courts. Last month, an intermediate appeals court upheld a judge’s decision to dismiss the case on double jeopardy grounds. Last December, a trial court found that the state charges against Manafort mirrored the federal case that led to his 7-1/2-year sentence for misleading the U.S. government about lucrative foreign lobbying work, hiding millions of dollars from tax authorities and encouraging witnesses to lie on his behalf. The 71-year-old Manafort was released to home confinement in May because of concerns about the coronavirus less than a year into his sentence.

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS RISE… Data released by the Labor Department yesterday found that the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week for a second straight week to 778,000 amid the ongoing pandemic. Prior to the coronavirus spread, weekly jobless claims hovered around 225,000. Consumers increased their spending last month by just 0.5 percent, the weakest rise since the pandemic was declared.

ENTERTAINMENT
MACY’S DAY PARADE KICKS OF THANKSGIVING
… For many American families, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will kick off today’s holiday celebrations. The parade will feature its usual assortment of balloons, dancers and floats. Events include performances from the Broadway casts of “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Hamilton,” “Mean Girls” and “Jagged Little Pill,” a musical built around the music of Alanis Morissette. The Broadway performances were pre-taped.

JOHNNY DEPP DENIED APPEAL IN DEFAMATION CASE… Johnny Depp has been denied in his High Court appeal of a British court’s ruling that he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp had unsuccessfully sued a tabloid for libel over a 2018 article labelling him a “wife beater.” The judge who dismissed Depp’s appeal said it lacked a “reasonable prospect of success” and ordered the actor to pay the defendant’s legal fees totaling almost $850,000.

SPORTS
TODAY’S NFL SCHEDULE

Houston (3-7) is at Detroit (4-6)…
Dallas (3-7) hosts Washington (3-7)

NFL NEWS… Today’s scheduled game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens has been moved to Sunday due to positive coronavirus tests in the Ravens organization. Team officials announced on Monday that “multiple members” of the organization had tested positive. Over the next two days, running backs Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins, defensive tackle Brandon Williams and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning they either tested positive for COVID-19 or had been identified as close contacts of someone who tested positive. Ingram and Dobbins had tested positive for the virus, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not coach Saturday’s game against Auburn. The 69-year-old Saban reportedly received the positive test yesterday morning and is showing “very mild symptoms.” Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will take over in the interim.

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 3 Villanova 76, BOSTON COLLEGE 67…
No. 4 VIRGINIA 89, Towson 54…
No. 5 IOWA 97, North Carolina Central 67…
No. 7 WISCONSIN 77, Eastern Illinois 67…
No. 8 ILLINOIS 122, North Carolina A&T 60…
No. 10 KENTUCKY 81, Morehead State 45…
No. 13 MICHIGAN STATE 83, Eastern Michigan 67…
No. 14 TEXAS TECH 101, Northwestern State 58…
No. 15 WEST VIRGINIA 79, South Dakota State 71…
No. 16 NORTH CAROLINA 79, Charleston 60…
No. 17 HOUSTON 89, Lamar 45…
No. 18 Arizona State 94, Rhode Island 88…
No. 19 TEXAS 91, Texas Rio Grande Valley 55…
No. 23 OHIO STATE 94, Illinois State 67…
No. 24 RUTGERS 86, Sacred Heart 63

The Rundown for November 25, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,546,670 and the nation’s death toll stands at 259,372, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has joined federal and state officials who are pleading with Americans to stay at home over Thanksgiving. Yesterday, the U.S. set a recored with more than 86,000 hospitalizations. So far this month, 30 states have reported record numbers of patients.

BIDEN TO RECEIVE DAILY BRIEFS… The White House has given formal approval for President-elect Joe Biden to receive the President’s Daily Brief. The move brings President Trump a second step closer to turning over the presidency to President-elect Joe Biden after weeks of court challenges. The delay has prevented Biden from receiving an intelligence briefings and caused confusion inside the federal government.

TRUMP PARDONS TURKEY… President Trump and first lady Melania Trump handed out the traditional pardon for the National Thanksgiving Turkey yesterday. Trump chose to pardon Corn over its fellow turkey, Cob, based on the results of a Twitter poll. The pardon ceremony took place in the Rose Garden of the White House. After the ceremony, both turkeys were “retired” to their new home on the campus of Iowa State University.

PURDUE PHARMA PLEADS GUILTY… OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, which has been blamed for starting the nationwide opioid epidemic, pleaded guilty to three criminal charges yesterday. In entering the plea, the company officially acknowledged its role in the crisis. Purdue admitted to impeding DEA officials in their efforts to combat addiction and paying off doctors to prescribe the drug. About 450,000 people nationwide died of opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Purdue’s owners, the Sackler family, have agreed to pay $225 million in fines but no Purdue executives are facing prison time. The company filed for bankruptcy last year.

DOW TOPS 30K… The Dow Jones Industrial Average topped the 30,000-point mark for the first time ever yesterday on word that the Trump administration was clearing the path to a presidential transition. The Dow rose 454.97 points, or 1.54 percent, closing the day at 30,046.24. The S&P 500 rose 1.62 percent and the Nasdaq increased 1.31 percent.

ENTERTAINMENT
BEYONCÉ LEADS GRAMMY FIELD
… Beyoncé picked up nine nominations to lead the field at the 2020 Grammy Awards. Her song “Black Parade” is nominated for song and record of the year. It’s also nominated for best R&B song and best R&B performance. Beyoncé’s “Black Is King” is up for best music film while “Brown Skin Girl” is nominated for best music video. The singer’s guest appearance on Megan Thee Stallion’s No. 1 hit “Savage,” increased her haul to include record of the year, best rap performance and best rap song. Winners will be announced at the live show on January 31.

HAL KETCHUM DIES… Country singer/songwriter Hal Ketchum, who had a string of hits in the 1990s and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry, died earlier this week from complications of dementia. He was 67. Ketchum’s 1991 album, “Past the Point of Rescue” included the hits “Small Town Saturday Night,” “I Know Where Love Lives” and “Past The Point Of Rescue.” His follow-up album the next year, “Sure Love,” included the top 10 songs “Sure Love,” “Hearts Are Gonna Roll” and “Mama Knows The Highway.” Ketchum began a public health battle in 1998, when he was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis and was forced to learn how to walk and play guitar again. Ketchum also had acting credits in 1988 film “Heartbreak Hotel” and 1994’s “Maverick.”

SPORTS
MLB NEWS
… The Atlanta Braves have signed Charlie Morton to a one-year, $15 million contract. The signing reunites the righthanded starter with the team that drafted him in 2002. The 37-year-old Morton is a two-time All-Star who won a World Series ring with Houston in 2017. He has gone 93-89 with a 4.08 ERA over his 13-year career.

NFL NEWS… The Baltimore Ravens are on the brink of a minor coronavirus outbreak after as many as four players tested positive yesterday. The team has recorded 10 positive tests among players, coaches and support personnel. Running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins will miss tomorrow night’s game against Pittsburgh. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams, quarterback Trace McSorley, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, nose tackle Brandon Williams and cornerback Iman Marshall have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

ALABAMA TOPS COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS… Alabama tops the initial College Football Playoff rankings, followed by Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State. The CFP selection committee plans to release three more rankings before announcing the final selections on December 20. Conference championship games and other contests are set for the two previous days.

The Rundown for November 24, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,414,292 and the nation’s death toll stands at 257,651, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed yesterday that there were more than 144,000 new cases among children last week,. The AAP says there has been a 28 percent increase in child Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks and children now account for more than 11 percent of all confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S.

PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION UNDERWAY… The General Services Administration has taken its first step toward beginning the formal transfer of power in the White House. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy sent President-elect Joe Biden a letter informing he that the formal transition process is underway and he has been granted access to briefings and funding. President Trump has yet to concede or acknowledge Biden’s victory despite a growing number of Republican leaders, business executives and national security experts who have urged the president to let the transition begin.

BIDEN FILLING POSITIONS… President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has unveiled its first series of Cabinet nominations and White House assignments. Biden named Avril Haines as director of national intelligence and Alejandro Mayorkas as Department of Homeland Security secretary. Biden also has chosen former Secretary of State John Kerry as his special presidential envoy on climate with a seat on the National Security Council and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The president-elect has confirmed that he has named Antony Blinken as secretary of state and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser. Biden is expected to name former Fed chief Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary.

MOB BUST IN PHILLY… Federal prosecutors yesterday announced indictments for 15 alleged mafia members in South Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. Members allegedly belonging to “La Cosa Nostra” under 56-year-old mob-leader Steven “Stevie” Mazzone, 56, were charged with bookmaking and loan sharking in Philadelphia and Atlantic City beginning in October of 2015. Ten defendants are charged with racketeering and the other five are charged with running illegal gambling rings, extortion and conspiracy to sell illegal drugs. Prosecutors accuse some of the defendants of conspiring to kidnap and kill an associate who sold them fake drugs in Philadelphia. Other defendants included Domenic Grande, aka “Dom,” “Mr. Hopkins,” “Mr. Brown,” or “Dom14,” age 41 as well as Joseph Servidio, aka “Joey Electric,” 60; Salvatore Mazzone, aka “Sonny,” age 55; Joseph Malone, age 70; Louis Barretta, aka “Louie Sheep,” age 56; Victor DeLuca, aka “Big Vic,” age 56; Kenneth Arabia, aka “Kenny,” age 67; Daniel Castelli, aka “Danny,” aka “Cozzy,” aka “Butch,” aka “Harry,” age 67; Carl Chianese, age 81; Anthony Gifoli, aka “Tony Meatballs,” age 73; John Romeo, age 58; Daniel Malatesta, age 75; Daniel Bucceroni, age 66; and John Michael Payne, age 34.

GAS PRICES AT THEIR LOWEST IN 5 YEARS… AAA spread good news yesterday by noting that gas prices heading into Thanksgiving are the lowest they’ve been in five years. The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is about $2.11. The nation’s lowest average is in Missouri, where a gallon costs $1.75 per gallon. Hawaii has the most expensive gas at $3.25 per gallon.

ENTERTAINMENT
‘THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT’ SETS NETFLIX RECORD
… “The Queen’s Gambit” has become Netflix’s most-watched scripted limited series. The streaming service announced yesterday that the seven-episode series has been watched by 62 million households since its October 23 premiere. The series has ranked Netflix’s top 10 in 92 countries and No. 1 in 63 countries, including the United Kingdom, Argentina, Israel and South Africa.

KAITLYN BRISTOWE WINS ‘DANCING’… Kaitlyn Bristowe beat out fellow finalists Justina Machado, Nev Schulman and Nelly to win Season 29 of “Dancing with the Stars.” Bristowe was paired with professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev. Johnny Weir, Skai Jackson, A.J. McLean, Monica Aldama, Charles Oakley, Carole Baskin, Anne Heche, Jesse Metcalfe, Vernon Davis and Chrishell Stause were eliminated earlier in the season.

SPORTS
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

L.A. Rams 27 – TAMPA BAY 24
… Matt Gay booted a tie-breaking 40-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining and the Rams (7-3) held on to down the Buccaneers (7-4). Jordan Fuller’s second interception of a Tom Brady pass came in the final minute and sealed the victory. Jared Goff threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns.

NFL NEWS… Team officials have confirmed that Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow tore his ACL and MCL and suffered other structural issues in his left knee in Sunday’s loss to Washington. Burrow, the Heisman Trophy winner out of LSU, was carted off the field in the third quarter after he was sandwiched by two Washington tacklers. Burrow’s 2,688 passing yards are the fourth most ever by a rookie. He was on pace to break Andrew Luck’s record for most passing yards by a rookie (4,374).

The Rundown for November 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,226,643 and the nation’s death toll stands at 256,745, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have submitted an application for emergency authorization in the U.S. of their Covid-19 vaccine, which has been shown by tests to be 95 percent effective. Pfizer hopes to produce up to 50 million doses by the end of the year. A Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory committee is set to meet on December 10 to discuss whether to authorize the vaccine… Los Angeles County has issued an order that restricts in-person dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars for a minimum of three weeks. The order becomes effective Wednesday at 10 p.m.

BIDEN TO START NAMING CABINET APPOINTMENTS… President-elect Joe Biden will announce the first of his Cabinet appointments tomorrow and is planning for a scaled-down inauguration due to the coronavirus pandemic, his aides revealed yesterday. The New York Times and Bloomberg reported that former deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State. Bloomberg also reported that Jake Sullivan, a former aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will be named national security adviser.

TRUMP YET TO CONCEDE… President Trump has yet to concede the presidential election despite his legal team compiling a 2-34 record in post-election court challenges. He is facing mounting pressure by allies in his own party to accept the results and press on in serving Americans amid a pandemic. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer are among the most recent Republicans who have urged Trump to move on. Ron Klain, who is Biden’s choice as White House chief of staff, called on the General Services Administration to formally recognize Biden’s victory and unlock resources for the transition process. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign distance has apparently split from attorney Sidney Powell, whose recent public appearances have included incorrect statements about the voting process, baseless and wide-ranging conspiracy theories and a threat to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.

McMASTER WARNS AGAINST AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL… President Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster warned yesterday that the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan will empower the Taliban. The retired lieutenant general called the plan “abhorrent” The withdrawal of about 2,000 troops from Afghanistan would leave 2,500 U.S. troops in country. It was announced earlier this month after Trump fired Defense Secretary and named Christopher Miller as his replacement.

ARREST IN WISCONSIN MALL SHOOTINGS… Police in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, last night announced the arrest of a 15-year-old suspect in connection with Friday’s shootings that left eight people injured at a mall. Officers also found a firearm that the boy allegedly used during the incident, police said. Investigators say it appears the shootings were the result of a dispute between two groups rather than a random act. Authorities said four “innocent bystanders” suffered what were believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

ENTERTAINMENT
TAYLOR SWIFT WINS BIG AT AMA AWARDS
… Taylor Swift won Artist of the Year and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist at last night’s 2020 American Music Awards. Justin Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd were also three-time winners. The Weeknd’s wins included Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, Favorite Soul/R&B Album for “After Hours” and Favorite Soul/R&B Song for “Heartless.”

AC/DC TOPS ALBUM CHART… AC/DC’s “Power Up” sold 117,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. Future and Lil Uzi Vert’s “Pluto x Baby Pluto” opened in second place with 105,000 units sold. Chris Stapleton’s “Starting Over” debuted in third place on sales of 103,000 copies. Last week’s champ, Ariana Grande’s “Positions,” dropped to fourth place after selling 75,000 units. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” capped the top five with 53,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
NFL SCORES

NEW ORLEANS 24 – Atlanta 9
… Taysom Hill replaced the injured Drew Brees at quarterback and rushed for two touchdowns in leading the Saints (8-2) past the Falcons (3-7). Michael Thomas had nine catches for 104 yards.

WASHINGTON 20 – Cincinnati 9… Washington (3-7) rallied in the second half to get past the Bengals (2-7-1). Rookie running back Antonio Gibson ran for 94 yards and a score. The loss was especially painful for Cincinnati, which will be without rookie quarterback Joe Burrow for the rest of the season after he was carted off the field with a knee injury in the second quarter.

CAROLINA 20 – Detroit 0… The Panthers (4-6) recorded their first shutout since 2015 in blanking the Lions (4-7). P.J. Walker passed for 258 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start. D.J. Moore had seven receptions for 127 yards.

CLEVELAND 22 – Philadelphia 17… Linebacker Sione Takitaki returned a second-quarter interception 50 yards to open the scoring and the Browns (7-3) held off the Eagles (3-6-1). Defensive end Olivier Vernon recorded three sacks of Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz, one of which went for a third-quarter safety.

Pittsburgh 27 – JACKSONVILLE 3… Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick each had two interceptions as the Steelers (10-0) smothered the Jaguars (1-9). Ben Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron. Diontae Johnson had 12 catches for 111 yards.

HOUSTON 27 – New England 20… Deshaun Watson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the first half and the Texans (3-7) fought off the Patriots (4-6). Watson passed for 344 yards on the day.

Tennessee 30 – BALTIMORE 24 (OT)… Derrick Henry’s 29-yard touchdown run with 5:21 remaining in overtime lifted the Titans (7-3) over the Ravens (6-4). Henry finished with 133 yards on 28 carries. Ryan Tannehill had a pair of scoring tosses. Corey Davis finished with five receptions for 113 yards.

Dallas 31 – MINNESOTA 28… Andy Daulton’s 2-yard touchdown pass with 1:37 remaining sent the Cowboys (3-7) past the Vikings (4-6). Daulton also hit CeeDee Lamb and Ezekiel Elliott with scoring strikes. Elliott rushed for 103 yards.

DENVER 20 – Miami 13… Justin Simmons’ interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone with 1:03 left sealed the win as the Broncos (4-6) topped the Dolphins (6-4). Denver sacked Miami starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa six times and knocked him out of the game earlier in the fourth quarter. Melvin Gordon rushed for a pair of touchdowns.

L.A. CHARGERS 34 – N.Y. Jets 28… Justin Herbert completed 37 of 49 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns and the Chargers (3-7) handled the Jets (0-10). Keenan Allen hauled in a franchise-record 16 receptions for 145 yards and a score.

INDIANAPOLIS 34 – Green Bay 31 (OT)… The Colts (7-3) rallied from a 28-14 halftime deficit to outlast the Packers (7-3). Rodrigo Blankenship’s fourth field goal of the game came from 39 yards out with 7:10 to go in overtime. Philip Rivers threw touchdown passes to three different receivers.

Kansas City 35 – LAS VEGAS 31… Patrick Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 28 seconds remaining to give the Chiefs (9-1) a last-minute win over the Raiders (6-4). Kelce finished with eight catches for 127 yards. Tyreek Hill had 11 receptions for 102 yards and a score. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for two TDs.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
the L.A. Rams (6-3) are at Tampa Bay (7-3)

AP TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS… Alabama is the unanimous No. 1 in this week’s Associated Press college football poll. The Crimson Tide received all 62 first-place votes after beating Kentucky 63-3 on Saturday. The top eight teams in this week’s poll held their spots.

  1. Alabama
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Ohio State
  4. Clemson
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Florida
  7. Cincinnati
  8. BYU
  9. Miami
  10. Oregon
  11. Northwestern
  12. Indiana
  13. Georgia
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Iowa State
  16. Coastal Carolina
  17. Marshall
  18. Wisconsin
  19. USC
  20. Texas
  21. Oklahoma State
  22. Auburn
  23. Louisiana
  24. Tulsa
  25. North Carolina

The Rundown for November 20, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 11,710,084 and the nation’s death toll stands at 252,484, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The number of hospitalizations in the U.S. has jumped nearly 50 percent over the past two weeks… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday urged Americans not to travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in order to limit the spread of COVID-19… California is imposing a limited Stay-at-Home Order that goes into effect tomorrow. Non-essential work and gatherings must stop from 10 p.m.-5 a.m. in 41 counties representing over 94 percent of the state’s population. The order ends on the morning of December 21.

BIDEN CHOOSES TREASURY SECRETARY… President-elect Joe Biden revealed yesterday that he has made his choice for treasury secretary. Biden also said he has discussed a possible nationwide mask mandate with state governors during a call. The president-elect said wearing a mask was “not a political statement, it’s a patriotic duty” during remarks after the call with both Republican and Democratic state governors. He also urged the federal government to deliver financial relief to states so they can tackle the virus.

RECOUNT CONFIRMS BIDEN WIN IN GEORGIA… The recount of ballots in Georgia’s presidential race has confirmed Joe Biden beat President Trump by 12,284 votes and found no widespread fraud. Officials in the state are scheduled to certify the results by the end of the day. Trump’s reelection campaign yesterday dropped its bid to challenge Biden’s victory in Michigan. Instead, Trump has invited state Republican leaders to a meeting at the White House today. The Trump campaign also had lawsuits tossed in Maricopa County, Arizona, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

SCHUMER SAYS McCONNELL AGRESS TO NEGOTIATE… Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to resume negotiations over a potential new Covid-19 relief bill. Congressional aides on both sides, however, warn that Schumer might have been overly optimistic. Democrats and Republicans are seeking to avoid a government shutdown on December 11.

742K NEW UNEMPLOYMENT FILINGS… Another 742,000 U.S. workers have filed for new unemployment benefits, according to figures released by the Labor Department. The number reflected an increase of 31,000 from the previous week and brought the unemployment rate at 4.3 percent. Most economists expected about 700,000 new claims. There are almost 6.4 million continuing claims, the report said.

ENTERTAINMENT
NBC’S CHRISTMAS SPECIAL FILLS OUT LINEUP
… Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani have joined the list of performers on NBC’s 2020 Christmas in Rockefeller Center special. The network says Clarkson will perform with Brett Eldredge. Other performers include The Goo Goo Dolls, Meghan Trainor and Earth, Wind & Fire, Dolly Parton and the Radio City Rockettes. The special will air on December 2 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

BOBBY BROWN JR. FOUND DEAD… Police have confirmed that the son of R&B singer Bobby Brown was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Wednesday, police have confirmed. Police say there is no sign of four play in the death of 28-year-old Bobby Brown Jr. Officers responded to residence following the report of a “medical emergency.” Brown was the stepson of the late Whitney Houston.

SPORTS
NFL SCORE

SEATTLE 28 – Arizona 21
… Russell Wilson threw first-half touchdown passes to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and the Seahawks (7-3) held off the Cardinals (6-4). Carlos Hyde ran 2 yards for a third-quarter score.

SUNDAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
New England (4-5) is at Houston (2-7)…
New Orleans (7-2) hosts Atlanta (3-6)…
Tennessee (6-3) is at Baltimore (6-3)…
Washington (2-7) hosts Cincinnati (2-6-1)…
Pittsburgh (9-0) is at Jacksonville (1-8)…
Carolina (3-7) hosts Detroit (4-5)…
Philadelphia (3-5-1) is at Cleveland (6-3)…
Denver (3-6) hosts Miami (6-3)…
the N.Y. Jets (0-9) are at the L.A. Chargers (2-7)…
Minnesota (4-5) hosts Dallas (2-7)…
Green Bay (7-2) is at Indianapolis (6-3)…
Las Vegas (6-3) hosts Kansas City (8-1)

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
the L.A. Rams (6-3) are at Tampa Bay (7-3)

TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCORE
No. 25 Tulsa 30, Tulane 24 (2OT)

NBA NEWS… The Golden State Warriors announced yesterday that guard Klay Thompson has suffered a torn Achilles tendon and will miss the 2020-21 season. Thompson suffered the injury during a workout on Wednesday. The 30-year-old Thompson missed the entire 2019-20 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during the 2018-19 NBA Finals.

The Rundown for November 18, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 11,320,337 and the nation’s death toll stands at 248,227, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A Reuters analysis has found that 41 states have reported record increases in the number of cases so far this month, while 20 have seen a record rise in deaths and 26 reported record hospitalizations. In 25 states, test positivity rates were at least 10 percent for the week ending on Sunday. The World Health Organization considers a positivity rate above 5 percent to be concerning… Experts advising President-elect Joe Biden on the pandemic fear that the Trump administration’s delay in recognizing election results could be compromising the U.S. response to the virus. Yesterday, doctors and nurses from multiple medical associations published a letter urging the Trump administration to share critical COVID-19 data with Biden’s transition team to avoid unnecessary delays.

BIDEN APPOINTMENTS… President-elect Joe Biden yesterday announced the appointment of nine White House aides, including counselors and senior advisers. Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, will become deputy chief of staff. Longtime adviser Steve Ricchetti will become counselor to the president. U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, who served as national co-chairman of Biden’s campaign, will become senior adviser to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Mike Donilon, chief strategist for the campaign, will become a senior adviser to the president. Finally, Dana Remus, the campaign’s general counsel, will become counsel to the president. Biden began his appointments last Wednesday with the naming of Ron Klain as chief of staff. The president-elect is expected to nominate cabinet members by the end of the week.

TRUMP FIRES ELECTION SECURITY DIRECTOR… President Trump announced on Twitter last night that he has fired Christopher Krebs as the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Krebs has steadfastly defended the integrity of the 2020 presidential elections and repeatedly debunked Trump campaign allegations of widespread voter fraud. Trump called Krebs’ claims denying evidence of fraud “highly inaccurate.”

PA SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST TRUMP… The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled overwhelmingly yesterday in rejecting the Trump Campaign’s claim that Philadelphia violated state election law by not giving Republican observers “meaningful access” to watch the vote counting. Dissenters in the 5-2 vote were justices who preferred to rule the case as moot. The ruling weakens the Trump campaign’s to contest voting results in federal court and lowers its record to 1-25 in post-election lawsuits.

SENATE STALLS FED NOMINATION… The Trump administration’s nomination of Judy Shelton for the Federal Reserve’s board of governors stalled in the Senate yesterday. The effort failed yesterday by a 47-50 vote that included the opposition of GOP senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell switched his “yes” vote to “no,” which allows another vote later. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris returned to the chamber for the first time since the election and cast a key vote against.

TROOP WITHDRAWALS IN AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ… The Pentagon confirmed yesterday that the Trump administration has ordered troop withdrawals in Afghanistan and Iraq. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said yesterday that the process will be complete by January 15 as part of efforts to reach a negotiated peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Miller’s public remarks were his first since replacing Mark Esper, who was abruptly fired last week. Some half of the 5,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Afghanistan reportedly would be withdrawn, as would 500 of the 3,000 troops in Iraq. Some senior Pentagon officials are bewildered by the move and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called it a “dumb idea.”

SENATE PANEL GRILLS TECH LEADERS… The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday grilled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over their social media platforms’ mechanisms for handling the spread of misinformation during the 2020 election campaign. Both tech leaders said their companies took steps to curb misinformation as the election approached, but their efforts prompted GOP panel members to allege bias. Zuckerberg and Dorsey both said they didn’t want a repeat of the 2016 elections, in which Russian hackers made repeated efforts online and via social media to interfere and influence the vote in favor of Trump.

ENTERTAINMENT
CONAN LEAVING TBS
… Conan O’Brien is leaving TBS to launch a weekly variety series on HBO Max. He will continue to host his nightly talk show through the end of its 10th season in June 2021. O’Brien had been a writer on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons” before replacing David Letterman behind the desk on NBC’s “Late Night” in 2003. O’Brien landed at TBS after a failed stint as host of “The Tonight Show.”

DOLLY PARTON DONATION HELPED COVID-19 VACCINE… The Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville says a $1 million donation by Dolly Parton helped U.S. biotech firm Moderna develop their COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna’s vaccine trial and clinical research were a part of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s efforts to stop the virus. Parton previously announced the donation on social media last April.

LIL WAYNE FACES FEDERAL GUN CHARGE… Lil Wayne was charged in Florida yesterday with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Prosecutors say Authorities said the rapper has acknowledged owning the gold-plated handgun and ammunition that were discovered in a search his luggage aboard a private plane that landed in Miami on December 23. Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., has a felony gun conviction from New York back in 2009. The federal offense he faces carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

SPORTS
MLB NEWS
… The Chicago Cubs announced yesterday that Theo Epstein is stepping down as the team’s president of baseball operations. The 46-year-old Epstein will leave at the end of the week and is being replaced by general manager Jed Hoyer. Epstein ran the Cubs for nine years and in 2016 helped bring the franchise its first World Series title in 108 years. Epstein also helped build World Series winners with the Boston Red Sox 2004 and in 2007.

NBA NEWS… The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired free-agent guard Bogdan Bogdanovic as part of a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings. The deal also brings guard Justin James to Milwaukee. In exchange, Sacramento gets guard Donte Divincenzo along with forwards D.J. Wilson and Ersan Ilyasova.

The Rundown for November 19, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 11,498,515 and the nation’s death toll stands at 250,180, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… New York City Public Schools announced yesterday that it will be shutting down after the city reached a 3-percent testing positivity rate… Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers yesterday declared a state of emergency and said he would extend the state’s face mask mandate until 2021.

BIDEN PARTICIPATES IN HEALTH-CARE ROUNDTABLE… President-elect Joe Biden held a virtual roundtable with front-line healthcare workers yesterday. The workers called for more personal protective equipment, widespread testing, contract tracing and better economic support for Americans. Biden was also warned that hospitals nationwide are overflowing with coronavirus patients.

TRUMP CONTINUES LEGAL CHALLENGES… President Trump continued his legal challenges to the 2020 presidential elections with new filings yesterday. The Trump campaign has paid the state $3 million and filed a petition for a recount of ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. Trump’s campaign also filed an amended complaint in Pennsylvania seeking to block the state’s efforts to verify its election results. On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled officials in Philadelphia did not prevent observers from overseeing the counting of ballots. Officials in Georgia are expected to release tallies from a recount today and say results are not likely to overturn Biden’s 14,000-vote victory in the state.

FBI INVESTIGATING TEXAS AG… The FBI has launched an investigations into allegations that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton illegally used his office to benefit a wealthy donor. Former members of Paxton’s staff accuse Paxton of committing bribery, abuse of office and other crimes in support of an Austin real estate developer. Seven senior lawyers in the attorney general’s office and the agency’s head of law enforcement claim Paxton hired an outside lawyer to investigate the developer’s allegations that the FBI improperly searched his home and offices last year.

PELOSI RE-ELECTED TO LEAD DEMS… Democrats yesterday re-elected Nancy Pelosi to lead the party as House speaker. Pelosi, along with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, ran unopposed. The three Democrats have held their positions in the House for the last 14 years. Last week, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer was re-elect as Senate minority leader while Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky won another term as the Senate majority leader.

GREEN BERET ADMITS SPYING FOR RUSSIA… A former Army Green Beret has pleaded guilty today to providing Russian intelligence operatives with U.S. national defense information. 45-year-old Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins allegedly participated in the conspiracy between December 1996 and January 2011. The former U.S. Army Ranger allegedly provided information about his chemical and Special Forces units. As part of his arrangement with the Russians, he was given a code name and signed a statement of cooperation.

ENTERTAINMENT
MICHAEL B. JORDAN IS PEOPLE’S SEXIEST
… Michael B. Jordan has been named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive for 2020.” The 33-year-old actor is best known for his TV roles in “The Wire” and “Friday Night Lights,” as well as his work in such films as “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed,” “Black Panther” and “Just Mercy.” Last year’s Sexiest Man Alive was singer John Legend.

TORY LANEZ PLEADS NOT GUILTY… Rapper Tory Lanez pleaded not guilty yesterday to felony assault charges in the July shooting of hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion. The 28-year-old Lanez entered the plea through his attorney and was not present in the courtroom. He was told to return for a hearing on January 20. If convicted, Lanez faces a maximum sentence of roughly 23 years. Lanez was charged in October with one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and one count of carrying a loaded, concealed firearm in a vehicle following a July incident in the Hollywood Hills.

SPORTS
NBA NEWS
… The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Anthony Edwards with the first pick of the 2020 NBA draft night. Edwards is a 6-5 guard who played his lone college season at Georgia. The Golden State Warriors chose Memphis center James Wiseman with the second choice, while guard LaMelo Ball went to the Charlotte Hornets at No. 3.

MLB NEWS… Major League Baseball has suspended New York Mets second-baseman Robinson Cano for the 2021 season following his second positive test for a performing-enhancing drug. The 38-year-old Cano was previously suspended for 80 games in 2018. The current suspension will cost him $24 million in salary and possibly harm his post-career election to the Hall of Fame. He is a lifetime .303 hitter with 334 career homers.

TONIGHT’S NFL SCHEDULE
Arizona (6-3) is at Seattle (6-3)